And the Defib is on its way

 
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More great news! Our little charity cheese and wine evening on Friday was so successful that we now have enough money to purchase a multi access defibrillator which will be sited outside the marina on Grendon Road for everyone’s benefit.

Carrie receiving the cheque  for £1,000 from ellie ryan

Carrie receiving the cheque for £1,000 from ellie ryan

When we organised the cheese and wine we thought it would be just another one of our many planned events for us to help meet our target of £1500.00. We never dreamed someone would actually hand over a cheque for £1000.00 -but they did!

So we are all absolutely thrilled to know that a defib is actually on its way and the even better news is, we are linking up with a couple of local businesses to site it and get it up and running.

It couldn’t be in a better location, outside the marina, opposite the football ground and down the road from the lorry park….. all good stuff - A very special thank you to John and Ellie Ryan for making it all possible so quickly.


 

Soap Box Derby

 
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How lucky are we to have Earls Barton and its fabulous community just up the road? And yesterday really could not have illustrated that sentiment better! It was Earls Barton’s second Soap Box Derby - and thousands of people turned out in support and it truly was a wonderful fun packed day.

The organisers did an absolutely great job, even managing to organise the weather!

Twenty nine carts of all shapes, designs and sizes took part in the event; the roads were closed enabling families galore to line the race track which ran from the fishing tackle shop at the top of the village right down to the finishing line at the library. The carnival atmosphere spilled out on to the streets as all the pubs and shops opened for business throughout the day and beyond.

As one of the main sponsors White Mills Marina was lucky enough to secure a slot in the Best of British themed derby. Our car HMS Victory, was driven by friend of the marina, Danny Golden; K Fabs did an excellent job in actually building the kart which was then made to look like a narrowboat (courtesy of All Angles ). It looked really cool. Racing at number 23 it was nail biting stuff as Danny hurtled down the track in a tad over 37 seconds in his first descent, successfully managing to shave off over a second in his second descent with a time of 36.33 - the winner came in at 33.98. We were all thrilled with the times and even more so when we heard that we came fifth overall. A great end to a great week.

 

Macmillan coffee success

 
 

Once again we had a terrific Macmillan Coffee morning on Friday and once again, not only were we completely bowled over by everyone’s generosity in terms of donating much needed money, but also their kindness in cake making, raffle ticket buying and volunteering their time in helping to run the event. It was superb.

Needless to say, we were so thrilled when we counted up all the final coins and notes on Saturday evening only to realise that we had (as we had hoped) exceeded last year’s total by £12.00!!! The weather was not kind at all on Friday, so we honestly did not think we would achieve our target, so it was great news for us all to discover that we had!

Many many thanks one and all for helping us to raised £675.50 - it was a real team effort.

There is only one thing for it now and that is to go through it all again next year - see you then!

Coffee shop of the year!

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WOW! WOW! WOW!

On Thursday 26th September we were invited to the Northamptonshire Business Times awards after being nominated for the Coffee Shop of the Year by one of our lovely customers. Not only did one of our customers nominate the boathouse which was amazing in itself, but evidently lots and lots of customers went out of their way and voted for the boathouse too - and on Thursday night we came out on top and were announced the winners!

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It was a complete and utter surprise, and we were all still on cloud 9 yesterday as we honestly did not think we were in with a chance, as there were several other fabulous coffee shops and cafes on the shortlist.

But the boathouse WAS announced the winners, so John and I took to the stage to collect the award on behalf of Carrie and her team, and my goodness we did feel proud, especially as the boathouse hasn’t even been open two years yet!

It was a great night and definitely one for the memory bank. Many thanks to Julie Barnes Ward of Business Times for letting us join her on her table. We had fun fun fun!

Below is Carrie at the boathouse after a hectic Macmillan Coffee morning yesterday celebrating her achievement with a well deserved glass of fizz !

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From Northampton to Southampton

 
 
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We had a whistle stop tour to the Southampton Boat Show this week when we were invited by The Yacht Harbour Association to attend their annual awards to collect our four gold anchor certificate.

The whole day went brilliantly and the weather was absolutely stunning, there is nothing quite like being near the sea on a warm sunny day. Both John and I felt immensely proud to be presented the award surrounded by other marina operators from around the world - it was definitely a marina moment! I am pictured receiving our certificate from Colin Watts – TYHA Chairman.

Now that we have officially been awarded our four gold anchors, we are eligible to enter the marina of the year award next year…..

Talking of awards, we are off to the the Small Business Enterprise Awards on Thursday at the Royal and Derngate Theatre; we are finalists in the coffee shop of the year category, so fingers crossed that we return to base with top prize. It would mean the world to Carrie and her team to get county recognition for all their efforts. We will keep you posted.

Then very quickly looking ahead to Friday - It is our Macmillan coffee morning, which we do so enjoy supporting, so if you fancy popping in, and help us to raise much needed cash for this extremely worthwhile cause, then we would be really pleased to see you.

 

Four lovely gold anchors

 
 
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Well after just three years of being a fully operational marina, we can announce that we have been awarded four lovely gold anchors from The Yacht Harbour Association, which is absolutely great news and a huge boost to our confidence. At last we know we are getting things right!

To say we were a little disappointed not to achieve five anchors would be a little bit of an understatement, as we have worked hard over the past few years to achieve all the markers for the assessment, but in the end it was down to two key areas that prevented us achieving top marks and gaining five anchors.

The two areas were

Not having any boat lifting facilities or a boat yard

and

Only being open six days a week and not seven.

In response to both, we simply do not have the space for boat lifting facilities and this looks unlikely to change, afterall, we are a tranquil, leisure facility and a boat yard would not be particularly conducive to retaining the peaceful, rural setting we are lucky enough to enjoy.

With regards to the opening of the office and boathouse seven days a week , we do like to have one day when we are completely closed (although we are regularly nipping down to welcome visitors both boating and camping on a Tuesday and always answer calls) as it allows us to do things like maintenance, deep cleaning, training and of course having a day off.

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Extending our opening hours is something we regularly revisit, so the current hours are not set in stone, but having said that are unlikely to change in the forseeable!

Anyway back to the good news, having been awarded these lovely four gold anchors now means that we can fly the special four anchors flag - we now need to add new flagpole onto the shopping list! In addition, we can use the four anchors logo on all our marketing materials including digital marketing i.e. website, emails and social media …… the only trouble is we need to work out exactly how we do that!!!










 
 

Chatty cafe scheme comes to the boathouse

 

When we first heard about the fabulous national initiative the Chatty Cafe Scheme we knew immediately that it was something we HAD to be involved in and introduce to the boathouse.

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Needless to say our lovely boathouse team immediately gave it the thumbs up and wanted to be part of such a progressive and empathetic scheme. So it was without hesitation we signed up. Within days we received our Chatty Cafe pack and were ready to launch our Chatter and Natter table , which we did today. My goodness we were all so excited!

Having shared it far and wide across facebook , and judging by the enthusiasm of our followers, we are looking forward to our Chatter and Natter Wednesdays becoming a popular weekly event for those people keen to socialise, meet some new faces and enjoy new conversations. Today thanks to the ghastly weather our Chatter and Natter table wasn’t exactly bustling, but we wholeheartedly believe that it will do in time. Things like this are often slow burners…… so watch this space.. Afterall who doesn’t like a good natter over a brew with a view? We do!

 

Email makes our day

 

Just had to add this little blog today - as the morning got off to a fabulous and surprisingly jolly start thanks to an email from a visitor to the website.

Instead of all the usual SPAM type emails we receive on a regular basis, one email this morning jumped out of the in box and caught our eyes straight away

Not only did the sender say that our lovely little perfectly formed website was impressive, but he also said that the writer had a well developed sense of humour too. So thank you very much for taking the time to write and compliment us - it really made our day!

 

Two very exciting firsts

 
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Well this little fella is certainly the youngest camper we have ever welcomed to White Mills Marina, in fact at just eleven days old little Aaron Williamson must surely be the youngest member of the Camping and Caravanning Club too! So it was hugely exciting to meet little Aaron on his very first holiday along with his mum Amanda and father Aaron senior plus their two dogs. Travelling from their home in Spalding to White Mills clearly suited the new arrival as instead of staying just two days the new family stayed for four. And needless to say, we were DELIGHTED and feel sure that little Aaron has a whole array of camping holidays to look forward to in the future.

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And if that wasn’t enough excitement for one week - then how about this, this gorgeous 1972 VW camper van was also on it’s very first outing with its new owner at White Mills Marina and a return visit is definitely on the agenda.



 

Beautiful 57' go anywhere cruiser narrowboat for sale

 

We were so delighted when the owners of Lady Rosemary Two decided to keep their boat at White Mills and put her up for sale with Boatfinder Brokerage.

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Lady Rosemary Two is quite honestly a beautiful, well equipped one owner cruiser stern narrowboat that, having been dearly loved by her owners really would do someone a very good turn indeed.

Built on a Tim Tyler hull, Lady Rosemary Two benefitted from an exterior repaint in 2015 by Priory Marine Services and has recently had new leisure batteries installed. She has spacious two berth accommodation that can easily be extended to four with a blow up mattress in the saloon or the addition of a sofa bed. We really could not recommend a viewing enough - she is delightful and absolutely ready to go.

Price is £69,995. For more information call 01270 760799

 

Here we go again

 

I can’t believe it is nearly a month since we exhibited at Crick Boat Show and as usual we are expecting our first Open Day after it to be a busy one. In the past we have found it has taken visitors to our stand about a month to mull over what they have seen at Crick before they visit White Mills Marina and book a berth. If you are still contemplating and are undecided whether to move to the River Nene and enjoy the stunning Nene Valley, then why not pop in and see for yourself just how beautiful our part of Northamptonshire is. You really won’t be disappointed.

Let’s hope that the rain actually subsides, and we will be back on track for a lovely long hot summer - with some rather delicious gallones ice creams that we are now stocking!

 

Another Cracking Crick

 
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Each year Crick Boat Show seems to get better and better for us and this year was no exception.  We love exhibiting in our usual little space in the Waterways World marquee surrounded by super friendly exhibitors who we look forward to meeting up with each year.  The days may be long (we had an extra “trade day” on the Friday this year) but they certainly fly by.  Once again, interest in White Mills was very encouraging, with several visitors already booking themselves in for the Winter and with others arranging appointments to look at securing a berth for their new boats.  Another reason we enjoy the boat show so much is it gives us the opportunity to wave the River Nene flag and show people what an absolutely stunningly beautiful river it is #hiddengem

 

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

.

 

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.

Book it

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.