Norfolk's first ever accessible powerboat is launched
- Credit: Brittany Woodman
A powerboat which will allow people with disabilities to enjoy Norfolk's stunning coastline has set sail for the first time.
Poppy, a Coulam V20 vessel, is the county's first ever accessible powerboat and the UK's latest Wheelyboat.
Dozens of onlookers watched as she was launched by the Countess of Leicester from Blakeney Harbour on Friday (April 22) morning - with a number of delighted passengers on board.
Poppy is the product of a collaboration between the Royal British Legion's Blakeney, Cley and District branch, the Norfolk Charitable Trust and the Wheelyboat Trust.
With a bow door which doubles up as a ramp for wheelchair users, she is poised to help countless people get out on the water - when they might otherwise have struggled.
One of those on the maiden voyage was John Pryor, who has Parkinson's and sold his own boat last year due to mobility issues in tidal situations.
"If you are disabled in any way and denied access to the water, this is an unforgettably wonderful experience," said the 69-year-old, who lives near Holt.
- 1 Suffolk woman and her three dogs die in London crash
- 2 Seven beach walks with a cafe pit stop to try in Norfolk
- 3 Police stop 85 vehicles in one day amid safety crackdown
- 4 Tomorrow's lunar eclipse: How and when to see it
- 5 'Awe and disbelief' as thousands of bees swarm pub garden
- 6 Neighbours' tribute to crash victim who 'thought the world of her dogs'
- 7 Seaside bar taken over for three weeks by Hollywood crew shooting film
- 8 Century-old farm machinery firm invests £6m in its factory's future
- 9 Dog and group cut off by tide saved after being spotted waist-high in water
- 10 'Opulent' farmhouse with pond on sale for £799k
"The boat is entirely open so it really is a full experience of being on the water. In fact, today it was a little windy so there was some sea spray which was quite fun and added to the ride.
"I can see this boat bringing so much pleasure to so many. It is a very special addition to the north Norfolk coast."
Specialising in providing disabled people with freedom and independence on the water, the Wheelyboat Trust is a national charity which has been involved in the funding, design and supply of wheelchair-accessible boats for 38 years.
More than 20 Coulam V20 boats have been built for projects across the UK since 2014, but Poppy is the first to be powered by both electricity and petrol.
Andy Beadsley, the trust's founder and director, added: "This will make a huge difference. It doesn't take much imagination to realise that, for wheelchair users and those with mobility problems, getting on the water is very difficult.
"This really is the ideal craft to get disabled people out on the water and enjoying all the activities that everybody else takes for granted."
To book a place aboard Poppy, call Blakeney RBL on 07785731804.