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Wheelchair-friendly Norfolk Broads boat launched at South Walsham water garden

13:21 28 March 2014

A new wheelchair accessible boat being launched at Fairhaven woodland and water garden.

Picture: James Bass

A new wheelchair accessible boat being launched at Fairhaven woodland and water garden. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2014

A woodland on the banks of the Norfolk Broads is now completely wheelchair accessible after launching a special boat.

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Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham has launched its wheelchair-friendly boat, Primula – named after the garden’s popular candelabra primulas.

The Fairhaven Garden Trust bought the 12-passenger boat for £20,000, supported by a £2,000 grant from Geoffrey Watling Charity.

Starting on Sunday, 20-minute boat trips will run daily across Fairhaven’s private broad and South Walsham Outer Broad.

There will also be 50-minute excursions, taking visitors to St Benet’s Abbey.

Louise Rout, Fairhaven manager, said: “Purchasing Primula has fulfilled our long held ambition to offer access for all afloat.

“We hope that our friends and members, along with visitors to the Broads, will enjoy this additional facility and get close to nature out on the water.

“I would like to thank Geoffrey Watling Charity for their support and also would like thank JB Boats who sold Primula to us.”

Barbara Greasely, chairman of Broads Tourism and director of Norfolk Boads Direct, was in a wheelchair in 2012 after breaking her leg.

“It wasn’t until that point that I realised how vulnerable and left out people in wheelchairs can feel,” she said.

“It really is true that people tend to speak to the person pushing you.”

“My first outing after coming out of hospital was to Fairhaven.

“My husband pushed me around the accessible paths, but I would have loved a boat trip out on the broad so I am really delighted that Fairhaven now has a passenger boat suitable for wheelchair users.

“This really is a great asset to the Broads tourism offer and I would like to congratulate Louise and her team for their persistence in getting this great facility.”

What is your experience of disability access in Norfolk? Write to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email edpletters@archant.co.uk, giving full contact details.

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