Lynda O'Hare - Volunteer of the Month
Our latest volunteer of the month started volunteering by skippering community narrowboats on the River Trent to satisfy her appetite for being on the water and now organises entertainments at IWA Canalway Cavalcade. Find out what Lynda is most looking forward to at Cavalcade, and the magic that draws her to the South Oxford Canal.
How did you first become interested in inland waterways?
I used to go to Camden Lock and for walks along the Regents Canal when I was young. I loved to see the boats and was fascinated with the idea that this waterway could take boats all over England. Going for a trip on the Jenny Wren to London Zoo was my idea of Heaven.
What is your favourite waterway?
The South Oxford is my favourite, there is a certain magic to it and it passes through some very special and historical places, for instance it goes by the Manor at Shipton on Cherwell, which used to be a recording studio. Mike Oldfield recorded Tubular Bells there. And Cropredy, which has a huge place in English history and is also the location for one of our longest running folk festivals. Oh and so much more, like the herd of water buffalo at Napton.
Why do you think our waterways are so important?
Waterways are important for many reasons. They are a vital part of our industrial heritage. Engineers such as James Brindley should be celebrated for combining ingenious engineering with a solid, satisfying beauty. For people like me, who grew up in an urban environment, they offer a place where nature and tranquility can be enjoyed.
How and when did you get involved in volunteering on the waterways?
My first volunteering role was to skipper community narrowboats on the rivers Trent and Soar. Having lived on my boat in London for several years, my work took me to the Midlands, where I ended up living on dry land. To satisfy my appetite for being on the water and my commitment to voluntary service, this seemed like the perfect solution. And it was, although being responsible for 20+ young people on fast flowing rivers is not for the fainthearted!
What do you enjoy about volunteering with IWA?
The IWA does such good work that anyone who has an interest in our waterways should give them some time when they can. I just want to do what I can to help IWA to continue their work. Many of our waterways would be lost forever if not for the IWA.
You are Entertainments Officer for IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade, what does your role involve?
The role is mainly about booking a programme of entertainment for Cavalcade visitors to enjoy. I book performers like Punch & Judy and mime artists for family entertainment, live bands to accompany the boat events, entertainers such as a wandering magician for the real ale marquee and local bands and dance troupes for the open air Amphitheatre.
What can visitors expect to see at this year’s event?
So much it's impossible to list here! Boats, boats, boats, lots of stalls with tempting goodies, lovely food, great entertainment. We have lots of performers lined up from jazz bands to Flamenco dancers, Hip Hop and Morris troupes. There is something for everyone. The boat processions are so very special too. People take such care to decorate their boats for the procession and to sit and watch them go by is an absolute joy. Cavalcade is a great place for boaters to catch up with old friends as many go year after year.
What are you looking forward to most about this year’s Cavalcade?
I love Cavalcade. I have been going for many years with four generations of my family! This year I have a new boat and am looking forward to warm evenings sitting on deck with friends and a bottle of fizz watching the world go by. I love rap music and grime and am hoping to get at least one good rapper to perform - watch this space!
What is your proudest IWA moment?
Ask me after Cavalcade!
IWA Canalway Cavalcade takes place over the early spring Bank Holiday weekend 29th April - 1st May 2017 at Little Venice in London. Find out more about the festival and follow our Facebook event for updates.
Find out more about volunteering with IWA or search our volunteer directory.
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