PRESS RELEASE: Official Launch of 'The Waterways Festival'

Issue date: 7th June 2013

Watford has been chosen by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) to host its annual celebration of the nation’s inland waterways which takes place from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July 2013.  

To mark the launch of this national event, Festival Chairman, Michael Stimpson presented the ‘Tiller Pin Trophy’ to The Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill.   The trophy remains with the host town for a whole year and Watford will be listed next to the many other canal-side destinations that have hosted the event over the last six decades.

Staged at Cassiobury Park and alongside the banks of the Grand Union Canal, the event is an exciting and colourful extravaganza with an array of attractions to provide an educational and fun day out for all the family.

At the festival, around 400 boats, many decorated, are expected to line up along the water’s edge, each captained by cheerful waterway enthusiasts. Heritage craft will also feature strongly, with historic working boats on display.  The event is also renowned for its high quality entertainment and there is always something to keep everyone amused. 

The event itself is organised by a small army of volunteers gathered from IWA members, the IWA Waterway Recovery Group (WRG), canal enthusiasts and the local community.  The 300-strong team is dedicated to the IWA’s mission to raise funds to preserve, restore and celebrate the inland waterway network to ensure today’s waterways can be enjoyed by future generations.
Longstanding member of the IWA and Rickmansworth resident, Michael Stimpson, who has been appointed as this year’s Festival Chairman said:

 “I am proud and pleased to be nominated as this year’s Festival Chairman and excited to be leading a festival in my home county.  Cassiobury Park is a beautiful location and it will be a great opportunity for the local community to celebrate and support the wonderful waterway network that’s right on their doorstep.”

Commenting on Watford hosting the festival, elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill said:

"We are delighted that Watford was chosen by the Inland Waterways Association to host its annual celebration of the nation’s inland waterways. They are a precious part of our national heritage and I know the three day festival promises to be a spectacular event in our much loved Cassiobury Park, along the banks of the Grand Union Canal."

Ian West, the Chairman of IWA Festivals Committee summed up: 

“The IWA volunteers are delighted to stage The Waterways Festival in Watford and looking forward to welcoming thousands of people to Cassiobury Park and the Grand Union Canal. 

“It’s a chance to celebrate, support and find out more about our wonderful waterways and we would like as many people as possible to get involved and attend the regular public meetings in the run up to the event.”

To find out more about The Waterways Festival, how to book advance tickets, exhibit or volunteer please visit or call 07885 349033.


For further information please contact: The Waterways Festival Press Office on 07789 004708 or

Photo caption: (L to R) Festival Chairman, Michael Stimpson, presents The Tiller Pin Trophy to elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill at the banks of the Grand Union Canal, Cassiobury Park, Watford

Photo courtesy of the Watford Observer