Esme fundraiser success

 
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We were so excited on Sunday morning as the finishing touches were being put in place for Esme Lionheart’s sponsored toddle/trail in our camping area. It had finally come together and it looked absolutely fantastic. Our little boathouse team had certainly come up trumps.

Before the clock even struck 2.30 we had VISITORS - we were all beside ourselves - people were actually turning up!! No sooner were the little people checked in at the Start then they were off exploring, searching, running, skipping, colouring and even peeping at the snoozing lion in his den.

It was lovely to see all the little ones running around totally untethered, having the time of their lives in a safe environment. The weather was kind - well for the first 1 1/2 hours and then it changed and it poured! Although it was pretty short lived it lasted long enough probably to deter more families from coming along and joining in the fun.

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We were lucky enough to have Esme’s grandfather pop in to see what we were up to, and he was blown away by the efforts of Nikkita and Sam from the boathouse , and could not believe the number of families having a great afternoon out. He has since made sure that pictures have been forwarded to Esme’s parents Will and Rebecca Handley and has asked us to extend his thanks to everyone..

The afternoon was organised to raise much needed funds for little Esme’s treatment and I am thrilled to report, that we raised an amazing £853.00! How fantastic is that? Needless to say as soon as it was counted it was immediately paid over to the Esme Lionheart fund me page which has now reached around £275.000. The target was originally set at £500,000 but has now been reduced to £400,000, so there is just another £125,000 to go which is definitely do-able. (come on peeps dig deep)

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Anyway, it is time to go now, but before I close a huge thank you to everyone who has supported our fund raising efforts, it is very much appreciated and let us all keep our fingers crossed that this brave little lion cub makes a full and quick recovery.

To find out more about this courageous little girl please visit www.esmelionheart.org or follow her on face book on esme lionheardd





 

Proud to be in Esme's pride

 
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I know that we had decided that our fund raising for the year was to raise money for a public access defibrillator, however when you read such a heart breaking story about little Esme Handley - aka Esmelionheart - (www.esmelionheart.org) then you do what you have to do and organise an event to help Esme’s family raise £400,000 so she can get the life saving treatment she so desperately needs . Bless her little heart.

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And our boathouse team have certainly risen to the challenge, in fact we couldn’t be more proud of them. Tomorrow the team who are now fully paid up members of Esme’s pride, have organised a sponsored toddle/trail around our camping field, and they have certainly let their creative juices flow!! Children taking part are going to have a terrific time as they follow the snakes and ladders, check out the lion mask colouring, jump into the lions den, peep into the fairy doors and have their photo taken in the lion photo booth and so much more. With each entrant receiving a certificate and free cup cake, it should be a great afternoon. However, we have no idea just how many people are likely to turn up. We are sort of hoping loads, but then feel nervous that we might not cope which of course would be the best possible scenario for raising money for adorable and courageous Esme. So let’s hope it is a roaring success.


 

Raising funds for a very special little girl

 
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A national campaign to raise money for two year old Esme Handley (aka Esmelionheart) has captured our hearts and minds. So on Sunday 19th May we will be hosting a special sponsored toddle/trail around the camping area and inviting as many local children as possible to get involved, so they can become part of the rapidly growing and hugely important Esme’s pride.

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Entering could not be more straight forward. We are charging £3 per child and are just asking families to pick up a sponsor form/entry form from the boathouse and collect as much sponsorship as possible. Esme’s family and friends are trying to raise £500,000 for her to have vital lifesaving treatment that will enable her to see her third birthday and beyond. You can read more about their heartbreaking story at www.esmelionheart.org.

As part of the afternoon’s fun, we would very much like a face painter to offer their services for the afternoon, it would be so lovely if each child could have their face painted as a lion. If you know anyone, please get in touch

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Summer is here - its official

 
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Well - its official, Summer is here which means our Camping and Caravanning Club site is officially open for the Summer, which is fabulous news and we can’t wait to welcome more visitors than ever this year. Of course we are feeling very bouyed up as yesterday we were nominated for a friendly welcome award by a Camping and Caravanning club member. How kind is that.? It is very much appreciated.

The trees have all been made safe, the grass all beautifully mown and it really does look a picture over there.

1st May means that the office hours are now in Summer mode - so as from yesterday we are at our desks from 8.30am until 5.30pm daily except Tuesdays of course, when the whole marina is closed.

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Finally Summer would not be Summer without geraniums and although I say it myself the mad mix of colour this year looks fabulous - we just need to make sure that they stay that way for the next five months!


 

Something about Mary's

 
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When my late mother left me some money I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, either put it towards a narrowboat or buy a shepherds hut - and I am absolutely thrilled to say that following a trip to the Derbyshiire Dales last Autumn, it was the latter that won!

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So here she is Mary’s - after a winter of being painted and decorated through out - our delightfully gorgeous little shepherds hut is making her way down to the marina in the next couple of weeks so we can offer lucky couples the opportunity to enjoy a romantic weekend in the heart of the fabulous Northamptonshire countryside in the sweetest of little shepherds huts.

Guests will either be able to enjoy a continental breakfast in Mary’s or take advantage of the fabulous boathouse cafe overlooking the marina, where guests will also be able to use the hot showers and cleanest of toilets. With electric hook up, a teeny weeny woodburner and a fridge for chilling your wine - make sure you bring some board games and some fabulous reading material to make the most of getting away from it all amidst our truly tranquil surroundings.

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So many of my friends think I am nuts sharing Mary’s with guests, as she is so beautiful, but for me that is half the pleasure enabling people to enjoy the simplest of pleasures.

More info from debbie@whitemillsmarina.co.uk






 

Raffle kicks off fund raising

Great news! Our Easter raffle raised a terrific £133.00 - so very many thanks to everyone who not only donated prizes but also bought tickets. The raffle officially kicked off this year’s fund raising for a public access defibrillator which we are planning to site outside the marina for everyone’s benefit. There are two or three defibs up in the village, but not one in our neck of the woods, so when we asked boaters what they would like to raise money for this year, it was almost unanimous that we raise money for a public access defribrillator.

Hopefully with a few quiz nights and a couple of other raffles and fund raising activities, we will soon be able to order a defib and get it in situ before too long.

Marina Conference

 
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We have just come back from our first two day marina conference in Bournemouth, which hosted by the British Marine Federation, was absolutely brilliant. Talk about returning home feeling very pumped up and motivated…… although I must admit both of us are slightly mentally weary from all that new knowledge we have had to try and retain!!!!

We were treated to a fabulous after dinner speech last night and key note speech this morning by marine biologist and tv presenter Monty Halls. He was so engaging and interesting with some really amusing annecdotes and quotes up his sleeve. We had lengthy discussions around green issues especially plastics (very topical), and a talk about how important it is to beat the environmental drum as much as possible and to shout about any green initiatives we are undertaking to help preserve our waterways and stunning local environment. We discussed how to encourage more people to get out and about on the water, what do do about invasive species ravaging our waterways and coastlines, as well as whole host of other topics. The opportunity to network too, was terrific - so all in all very worthwhile indeed. The conference was so full on, that we only managed a ten minute walk on the beach! And what a beach….. we have decided that a return visit is a MUST, but we will take a deck chair next time.

What we did learn is that apparently providing good wifi is more important to visitors than providing a toilet! Who knew!

 

College students help out again!

 

It is almost three years to the day that students from Moulton College first came to carry out tree surgery in the camping area of the marina .

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So it was wonderful today to welcome a new team of fresh faced students all of whom braved strong winds to scale the tall trees so they could cut out dead wood and cut back large overhanging branches.

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Fortunately apart from the wind, the day was perfect, and the team looked as though they thoroughly enjoyed themsleves. At lunch time there was a well deserved break on the decking outside the boathouse, which gave them all a chance to enjoy a cuppa and some cake #brewwithaview.

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Huge thanks once again to Moulton College for their support, and hopefully, weather permitting, we will see you all again tomorrow.



 

New Year New You!

 

Have you always wanted to learn how to Nordic Walk?  Well if you have, then we are pleased to announce that the boathouse is now hosting regular Nordic Walking sessions.  The classes which start on Thursday 17th January with Kev from Nordic Walking Northampton will be mixed ability and suitable for all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels.  Its a great way to get fit and it uses up a surprising number of calories too.

Anyone interested in becoming part of the boathouse Nordic Walking team should contact Kevin on 07958 365914

 

Christmas Office hours

The hours the marina office will be open are to be reduced over Christmas and New Year. The office hours are different to the boathouse and these will be posted separately to avoid confusion.

White Mills Marina office Christmas opening hours

White Mills Marina Office opening hours
Monday 24th December - Christmas Eve - 10am - 2pm
Tuesday 25th December - Christmas Day - CLOSED
Wednesday 26th December - Boxing Day - CLOSED
Thursday 27th December - 10am - 2pm
Friday 28th December - 10am - 2pm
Saturday 29th December 10am - 2pm
Sunday 30th December 10am - 2pm
Monday 31st December 10am - 2pm
Tuesday 1st January - CLOSED

Boathouse opening hours


Monday 24th December - Christmas Eve - 10am - 2pm
Tuesday 25th December - Christmas Day - CLOSED
Wednesday 26th December - Boxing Day - CLOSED
Thursday 27th December - CLOSED
Friday 28th December - CLOSED
Saturday 29th December - 10am - 4pm
Sunday 30th December - 10am - 4pm
Monday 31st December - 10am - 2pm
Tuesday 1st January - CLOSED


And we are winners!!!

 
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Well, well , well who would have thought this morning when we were getting ready to go to the Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Business Awards at Wellingborough Golf Club, that we would actually be successful and come away winners? Well we did, and we still can not believe it!

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After a couple of unsuccessful nominations for two other awards, (although we did make it through to the finals in both) winning this really lovely local award means the world to our team. Heaven knows how we would react to an Oscar!

To win the Services Business of the Year Award today of all days, could not have been better timed either, as tomorrow we celebrate the first birthday of our lovely boathouse,

Actually it has been a full on week, on Wednesday we hosted our first ever boaters Christmas craft fair which was well supported and really rather lovely too. There was a fabulous buzz in the boathouse all day, which was very exciting in so many ways.

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Then this evening we have our first themed Supper Club which sees the boathouse transformed into Bombay Boathouse. Carrie and the team have worked incredibly hard to transform the

boathouse into an intriguing and utterly stunning Indian restaurant. Lets hope they all have a great time.

Finally, tomorrow to celebrate the boathouse’s first birthday everyone who has any refreshments at the marina will be entered into a prize draw to win a totally gorgeous home made birthday cake for them to take home. And then in the evening to kick off advent we are hosting our own Christmas tree switch on, again in the boathouse, and serving mulled wine and mince pies!

This special evening will also herald the start of our boat advent calendar which will see a different boat switch on its Christmas lights each night in the run up to Christmas Day. The idea has certainly captured the imagination of some of our boaters, so we are thoroughly looking forward to seeing the results of their endeavours!

Yup! You have guessed it we are going crackers over Christmas!

 

CCTV Update

 

After a couple of months of planning and tapping into Gary’s expertise and extensive knowledge of CCTV we now have a top notch CCTV system installed across the marina.

The idea of installing CCTV is not to “spy” on people, but more to act as a deterrent to opportunists and to provide our boaters with additional security. The cameras have all been strategically placed to give reassurance that movements are being continuously monitored and recorded across the marina, so should anything untoward occur then it will have been captured on film.

 

Cosying up!

 

The boathouse is looking forward to welcoming customers SIX days a week this winter and already has lots of lovely snuggly rugs for visitors who fancy cozying up and enjoying its gorgeous atmosphere and wonderful views that can only be enjoyed at White Mills Marina!

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Over the past week customers have been digging deep, buying poppies to decorate our special remembrance tree and it looks really lovely. Tomorrow 11th November at 11am we will remember all those who perished in the wars in our own small way by stopping, standing still and remembering during two minutes of silence. Please do come and join us.

It is amazing to think it was only just over a week ago when the very same tree was covered with spiders, cobwebs and bats! We really can not thank our customers enough for being so supportive and transforming the tree so quickly.

Which reminds me to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us in the Northampton Life Cafe of the Year. Sadly it wasn’t to be our time, we are still very much a new business, and have only been open six days a week since May - so we we have to be realistic and not expect miracles!

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Looking ahead Carrie and her team have one or two events organised over the next few weeks. On Wednesday 28th November, the boathouse is hosting a crafting event and will be selling a whole range of lovingly made handmade goods. It is the first time that we will have hosted anything like this before, and if it is successful, is definitely something that will be repeated. Again please do join us.

On Friday 30th November its Bombay Boathouse as Carrie and Sam give the boathouse a complete make over for the night by hosting their first Supper Club. The clue to the theme is definitely in the name! Tickets are limited to just 30, they cost £27.50 each and include a complimentary Bombay Gin on arrival! Look forward to seeing you there!

 

Winter Hours

 
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Don’t forget the clocks go back tonight by one hour. Putting back the clocks means that as from 1st November, we will be changing our opening hours to our Winter Opening hours. So from Thursday the marina office will now be open from 9am to 4pm (closed for lunch 1pm - 2pm) Wednesday - Monday. Please do not forget that the entire marina including the boathouse is closed on a Tuesday.

 

Every cloud.......

 
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We may not have returned home with any silverware from the Rural Business Awards recently, but we were absolutely tickled pink to discover just a day or so later that one of our lovely regular boathouse customers had nominated the boathouse for the Northampton Life Cafe of the Year award. We are now in the last five which is very exciting indeed, and what is particularly lovely is everything about the competition is customer lead. A video of our fabulous little cafe was taken earlier this week, and folks just have up until the end of next week to vote. So fingers crossed we come out on top, which would be a terrific accolade for Carrie and her team.

 

We may not be winners but we certainly aren't losers!

 
 
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To say we were not disappointed not to have been a winner or at least a runner up at last nights Rural Business Awards would be quite an understatement!

On the way up to Nottingham, there was definitely a buzz of excitement in our six seater cab as we honestly felt we had an outside chance of becoming at least a runner up. However as the night progressed and we saw the calibre of other entries, I think we all knew deep down that it would take a miracle for us to win a prize, especially as we are still so very much a new business. Even so, in these sorts of situations, you prepare yourself for the worst but secretly hope for the best, so we were, all five of us rather gutted.

The evening itself was a fairly jolly affair, and we were lucky enough to share a table with some very nice folks from Fisher German, who were one of the sponsors of the awards. They certainly helped to lift our spirits once the results had been announced.

Even though we did not come away winners, we may have been down but we certainly weren’t out, and anyway it was lovely for John, myself, and Ben to have an evening out with Carrie and Gary. So there’s our positive!

 
 

Lots to do!

 
 

I absolutely can’t believe its the second of October already - its really not that long until Christmas. I hadn’t given “IT” much thought until yesterday when Carrie said she was going to try and get her Christmas shopping done today!

Anyway there is a lot going on at the marina before then. We are all super excited as next Thursday we are off to the the Rural Business Awards in Nottingham. We are on the shortlist of finalists, so we will be donning our best dresses and dinner jackets and heading up the M1 to attend the awards dinner and to see whether we have won any silverware or not. Fingers crossed we have!

Closer to home, there is a cheese and wine this Thursday evening in the boathouse, we have linked up with the delightful, local, family run Insurance company Assist Insurance who are hosting the evening and hopefully answering people’s insurance related questions.

On Saturday 13th October, again in the boathouse, Gary is back as quiz master with the White Mills Marina quiz night. Gary took over the role of quiz master last year and clearly loves putting everyone through their paces. The cost of entering is £3 per person with teams of four. Usually, everyone takes along their own refreshments, which is all very convivial.

At the end of the month it is our annual pumpkin challenge which will take place outside the boathouse on Wednesday 31st October. Since we started the challenge two years ago, the winners have been men, so we are hoping that this year one of the ladies will be victorious.

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Heading towards Christmas we are introducing a boat lighting up advent calendar. From 1st December until Christmas Eve at 6pm every night a different boat across the marina will have its own big switch on. This is really capturing everyone’s imaginations and we are all getting mega excited. The lighting up will kick off with the boathouse switch on on Saturday 1st December at a Mulled Wine and Mince Pie evening at 6pm,

Oh yes - this picture was taken last week - we really are filling up rather nicely aren’t we?

As you can see there is lots to do - Must dash!

 

What a weekend!

 
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There is always something rather lovely about the last Friday of September - the date for the Macmillan Coffee Morning. It is not just the build up to the day we find exciting but the actual day itself is fabulous too its a sort of combination of a carnival atmosphere combined with the serious work of raising money for a truly fabulous cause, and what is particularly wonderful is that everyone seems to want to join in, one way or another.

And this year we had a great time, our coffee morning ran all day and the atmosphere was terrific. We had quietly hoped that we would top £500.00 - so when we counted up the cash yesterday we were all completely overwhelmed to discover that we had in fact raised £663.00. How amazing is that?

What a brilliant result. So thank you everyone for your support and for help making our special coffee morning so successful. In the picture is Carrie with star baker Lynne Smith and her winning buns !

Don’t forget same time, same place next year!