Business gifts motor cruiser to boost Broads after boat project shelved

Hazel and Len Funnell presenting Discoverer to Stephen Bradnock and Val Khambatta of the Nancy Oldfi

Hazel and Len Funnell presenting Discoverer to Stephen Bradnock and Val Khambatta of the Nancy Oldfield Trust. Picture: Norfolk Broads Direct - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk business has donated one of its fleet to a charity helping disadvantaged and disabled people enjoy the Broads after it had to shelve its £260,000 cruiser project due to the pandemic.

Len and Hazel Funnell, who own Norfolk Broads Direct, reached out to the Nancy Oldfield Trust, at Neatishead, to donate one of their Broad Tours passenger boats as they felt it was not being used to its full potential.

Stephen Bradnock, centre manager for the trust, called the newly-added Discoverer boat a “generous gift” after the charity had to bump down the cruiser project and use the raised funds for other priorities.

Mr Bradnock said; “This was completely unexpected and could not have come at a better time. When the pandemic struck, we had to shelve our plans to commission a brand-new accessible motor cruiser in April of this year. This very generous gift has given us a boat that we will be able to modify and modernise to our specifications to meet the needs of all our visitors at a significantly lower cost. She will be a great addition to our fleet of cruisers, yachts and canoes.”

The Nancy Oldfield Trust has been offering day trips on the water for 36 years.

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Mrs Funnell said; “Len and I are both very happy that the Nancy Oldfield Trust has been able to give our well-loved passenger boat ‘Discoverer’ a place in their organisation. We could not think of a better home for her.

“Over the years it has been such a privilege to introduce children of all ages to the Broads. The boat has seen many excited schoolchildren discover, explore and learn about the Broads and now the boat will have another lease of life with the superb charity, the Nancy Oldfield Trust. We couldn’t be more proud.”

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Val Khambatta, chairman of the Nancy Oldfield trustees, said the charity plan to put the boat into action soon.

She said: “We are now developing a longer term plan for the new cruiser and will be seeking funds to enable us to install a hydraulic platform lift, an electric propulsion system, large toilet/wetroom and a small galley for our visitors, turning her in to a fully accessible cruiser for trips on the Broads for anyone who would otherwise have difficulty in visiting this magical part of Norfolk.”

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