Waterway treat for children with special needs gains Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

A CHILDREN’S charity based in the Staffordshire Moorlands has gained Royal recognition.
The Beatirice Charity, which provides boat trips for children with various special needs, has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
The narrowboat Beatrice is moored on the Caldon Canal at Cheddleton and last year ferried over 700 children on more than 90 trips.
The charity was formed in July 1978 as the North Staffordshire Handicapped Children’s Boat Committee, changing its name to The Beatrice Charity in 2001.
Following work led by the Stoke-on-Trent Branch of the Inland Waterways Association, the committee was formed to provide a boat for children with disabilities in North Staffordshire.
The initiative took advantage of a project started by the Prince of Wales, with funding from the Variety Club of Great Britain.
The Beatrice has been updated at a cost £40,000 since its inuitial launch – including the instsallation of a lift for wheelchairs.
Beatrice chairman Derek Hilyer, from Leek , first got involved as a volunteers 10 years ago.
He said: The trips give children the chance to get out into nature.
“Teachers tell us what a calming affect it has on the chidlren.”