All posts by katedodds

Happy New Year from RTBP!

The river is looking beautiful in the January sunshine. We’re looking forward to the restart of our activities! The RTBP team is busy getting Thames Venturer and Thames Discoverer shipshape and ready for education days and cruises.

We have our first education day of 2022 in the calendar for the 28th February and a number of days booked for March. We’re taking bookings for this term and for the Summer term and looking forward to time on the boat and lots of outdoor learning!

Cruises will restart from April and we know that being on our boats will be hugely restorative after the dark winter days and uncertain times.

We’re looking forward to welcoming our groups onboard and lots more special time on the river for 2022!

RTBP volunteer celebrations and Santa magic!

On 3rd December the RTBP annual Volunteer (Crew) Supper was held at the wonderful venue of St Mary’s church hall in Twickenham.  In 2020 we had our “get together” over Zoom but this year, as it was  early December, we actually managed to celebrate together in the same room!  The St Mary’s spacious high ceilinged hall is the ideal venue in these current times of needing space and good ventilation!  Thank you to Katie at St Mary’s for providing us with such a warm welcome!

Staff and volunteers enjoyed good company, food and drinks, a raffle and the annual awards. The amazing meal was provided by our wonderful RTBP volunteer Marilyn and the clearing up was done in no time at all with the usual RTBP volunteer enthusiasm!

It’s always a challenge to choose just three individuals for the awards, as so many people give so much to the charity.  This year, we chose three of our newer volunteers:

Awards were made to:
Hazel Hayes: “the light of learning” for her fantastic contribution as a teacher on RTBP education days

Pippa presenting Hazel’s award

Bernie Hewitson: “the bogbrush of brilliance” for helping out across the board: on education days, crewing for cruises, helping at events and even cleaning the carpet on Thames Venturer

Gunnar presenting Bernie’s award

Mark Bridger: “the core of commitment” for taking the plunge to move from being a teaching assistant to being a teacher and consistent support on cruises as crew

Kate presenting Mark’s award

Of course, RTBP volunteers received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June this year which celebrates everyone’s contribution.  Thank you to all our volunteers who make RTBP’s work on the river possible.  It is always a pleasure to spend time with you!

The raffle raised a fantastic £306 and raffle prizes included: a short cruise on Thames Discoverer, a hamper of food and drinks goodies, festive bottles of vodka and whisky and a £50 M&S voucher!

It was wonderful to celebrate our return to the river and our activities for the year.  Everyone is looking forward to more special time on the river in 2022!

And finally…..Santa and his sleigh are back! RTBP staff and volunteers joined Santa in Teddington to help collect donations for the Rotary Club of Teddington and the Hamptons, who then in turn support local charities. RTBP volunteers John Frye and John Wilson are also members of the Rotary Club. Music and lights and lots of Ho Ho Hos brought smiles to everyone’s faces! Thank you to everyone for being one of Santa’s helpers!

Santa in action
Santa and his helpers

RTBP Autumn updates

It’s the 1st November, the clocks have changed and the Autumn colours are beautiful. Things have been busy on the river with the RTBP team.

Over the last few weeks, schools have been enjoying School on the River onboard Thames Venturer at Teddington Lock and we were delighted to have our first days back in East London at Hermitage Community Moorings in Wapping.

River education with RTBP returns to Hermitage Community Moorings

Cruises onboard Thames Discoverer have enjoyed clear skies and dodged any rain showers. Time on the river with fresh air, calm surroundings and good company has raised everyone’s spirits and created great memories. Thank you to The People Hive, Blesma, Crossroads Care, Choice Care, Sherwood Grange and Elleray Hall for joining us onboard for some special time on the river.

Crossroads Care onboard

Fundraising activities have been possible once more, with waterstation action for local running events, Harry Hawkes Half Marathon, the Cabbage Patch 10 mile and the Kingston Half Marathon with our friends from Quicksilver running. The welcome return of the fireworks display at The Lensbury in Teddington meant that RTBP Friends and volunteers enjoyed an evening onboard Thames Venturer with food, drinks, fireworks and the usual camaraderie. Thank you John Frye for the photo!

Fireworks fun from Thames Venturer

We’ve even hosted something a little different, with a riverside event at Teddington Lock of foraging, followed by amazing food and drinks and a cruise onboard Thames Discoverer. Gemma Hindi, who was our first Education Manager at RTBP, ran the fantastic day and there will be more dates in the diary for next year with Earthwild.

Foraging discoveries and amazing food from Gemma

A visit to Westminster Abbey!

On Monday 27th September 2021, Linda Varney and Nigel Williams ventured into London for a special presentation. Representing all the River Thames Boat Project volunteers, they received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service crystal and certificate.

The presentation was made by Sir Kenneth Olisa, Lord Lieutenant for Greater London. River Thames Boat Project was one of 16 organisations in London and one of two in the London Borough of Richmond to receive the award. It’s the equivalent of an MBE for volunteers.

Thank you Nigel and Linda for collecting the award and for all your years of volunteering!

In 2022, there will be the opportunity to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace for a further celebration.

River Thames Boat Project’s cruises and education days on the river would not be possible without such an amazing group of volunteers.

Left to right: Gillian Norton, Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Richmond, Nigel Williams and Linda Varney

Thames Challenge success, September sunshine and Back to School!

The RTBP team completed their Thames Challenge on Saturday 11th September! 13.4 miles from Putney Bridge to Kingston Bridge along the Thames Path, enjoying time by the river. We had a group of 21 take part with mainly walkers but also a paddleboarder and a cyclist. We finished with a very welcome tea and cakes on the deck of Thames Venturer at the dock in Kingston. A great day and a great result, raising just over £2,000. Thank you everyone for the support!

RTBP Thames Challenge walkers at Richmond Bridge

We’ve been making the most of the September sunshine and enjoying the peace and calm of the river. Skies are bright, the pace slows right down and time on the river is very restorative. It’s the perfect opportunity to venture out in a safe and secure way, have a change of scene, recharge the vitamin D batteries and breathe in lots of fresh air!

Thames Discoverer at Molesey Lock
A Linking People Afloat cruise onboard Thames Discoverer

Schools are back and we’re delighted to welcome Latchmere School onboard Thames Venturer at Teddington Lock for our first School on the River days of the Autumn term. Thank you everyone from Latchmere for being our first school back onboard in September 2020 as well as September 2021! Everyone is enjoying the outdoor learning on the river on the boat, at the Lock and on the island overlooking the weir.

School on the River in action on Thames Venturer

Special time on the river creates happy memories, builds knowledge and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. We’re looking forward to more days on the river!

Summer cruises and a River Thames Challenge!

To celebrate our return to the river and to raise much needed funds we are taking on a Thames Challenge this Saturday 11th September! We have walkers who will do 13.4 miles from Putney Bridge to Kingston Bridge on the Thames Path and other activities on the river. Please sponsor us by clicking on the link below or sending donations to the office!

RTBP Thames Challenge 2021

The RTBP team has been busy with cruises over the summer months! It has been wonderful to welcome our client groups back onboard. We have had a mix of weather, but rain or shine, time on our boats on the river is always special!

Our cruises bring people back together for a shared experience, rebuild confidence about getting out for an activity and are calming and restorative.

The sunshine has returned for the start of September, so please contact the office on 020 8940 3509 or to book a cruise.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service news

We received lots of wonderful messages and coverage congratulating the River Thames Boat Project volunteers on the award! Thank you everyone, it has been great to have positive news to share.

From Sir David Suchet, RTBP Patron:

I could not be more delighted and thrilled to learn that the prestigious ‘Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service’ has been given to you all at the River Thames Boat Project.  It is so well deserved.
The work you do gives so much happiness to so very many people.  It also makes me so very proud to be your Patron.
So, many congratulations to you all with my very warmest wishes.

From the Mayor of Richmond, Cllr Geoff Acton:  

“I am delighted that two amazing voluntary groups from Richmond upon Thames have been recognised by the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. It is great to see both groups being recognised for their work with such a prestigious award. There are so many people who give up their time every day to help others and serve others in their community. This was seen particularity throughout the pandemic when we saw a surge in residents offering to help others in any way they could. Congratulations to the teams at Barnes Children’s Literature Festival and River Thames Boat Project for the award and their continued amazing work.” 

Although there is a delay to the easing of restrictions, we are back on the river and very busy with our education days as schools enjoy the chance to be outside. Our cruises restart this week with some reduced numbers and we will be back to our regular group sizes of 12 after the 19th July.

We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back onboard!