Photo gallery: A Broads business grew from a teenage hobby to a pedal boat built for two

(L TO R) David Williams and Stephen Pitkethly with the Pedal Boat III.Picture: James Bass

(L TO R) David Williams and Stephen Pitkethly with the Pedal Boat III.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

It is a labour of love inspired by family holidays on the Broads more than 50 years ago.

A Broads family are re-creating a boat first designed by their father in the 1950s. Pictured: Cyclon

A Broads family are re-creating a boat first designed by their father in the 1950s. Pictured: Cyclone and David. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

Horning grandfather David Williams, 80, first made the innovative one-seater pedal boat in the school holidays when he was 17.

His ingenuity and boyhood eagerness to get back on the water saw a 15ft vessel built on the ping-pong table in their family home – and even played a part in his honeymoon around the Broads years later.

And now that 1950s creation is being brought back to life by a business venture with his son-in-law.

Stephen Pitkethly, 52, from Melton Constable, and Mr Williams, who ran the family manufacturing business, have created Dad's Boats, selling an updated version of the post-war vessel.

David Williams and Stephen Pitkethly with the Pedal Boat III.Picture: James Bass

David Williams and Stephen Pitkethly with the Pedal Boat III.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015


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Now a two-seater, 17ft 6ins long and made of glass fibre with a wooden trim, the hands-free cruiser is true to the original Sieve in its design and is made entirely in Norfolk.

'It's a dream come true,' Mr Williams, a self-taught craftsman, said about the new family business.

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'My father brought us to the Broads on our first holiday just after the war and I fell in love with it,' he said.

'We were able to play on the river banks and not worry about how clean you shoes were, it was absolutely brilliant because you could just get away from it all.'

The original pedal-boat design was altered by Mr Williams in the 1960s, making it fit for two and called the Cyclone.

Then came Cyclamen in the 1980s and the Lifecycle in 2002, which was the most comfortable and accessible version of all – as demanded by his late wife, Jean.

But it was only in 2012 that the family started thinking about putting the boats onto the market.

And as Mr Pitkethly, who is married to Mr Williams's daughter, Anita, a teacher in Holt, used to work in automotive design, he was the ideal choice to spearhead the venture.

He said: 'It's a hobby and was never intended to be commercial.

'But so many people asked where to get one from. And as a family we have always said at one point we will do something with the pedal boats.'

Do you live on the Broads and have an interesting story to tell? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772453

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