Peter Kay launches wheelchair accessible boat on rare public appearance in Lancashire

TV personality and comedian Peter Kay made a rare public appearance to help launch a new wheelchair accessible boat at the Anderton Centre, Chorley, on Saturday.

By Emma Downey
Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 4:53 pm
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 11:48 am

One of its kind in Lancashire, the Wheelyboat V17 will enable wheelchair users and anyone with limited mobility or any form of disability to try watersports for the first time.

Phoenix Nights and Car Share comic Kay said: "I'm honoured to be asked to launch this fantastic wheelyboat which I hope gives a lot of people pleasure and happiness out on the water.

"The Anderton Centre is a fantastic place and I love coming here."

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Getting ready to set off on the wheelyboat. Picture: Dave Nelson

The 48-year-old jested he thought he would be “smashing a bottle against the boat but that in the modern world it is not allowed as we are recycling."

The Bolton funnyman has kept a low profile for the last few years but has been back on stage this month with his Dance For Life shows in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Also in attendance at Rivington were Chorley Mayor Steve Holgate and MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle who joked they were not in the proper attire to do the boat trip.

Director of the Wheelyboat Trust and wheelchair user Andy Beadsley added: "My favourite part of the job is coming here after months, sometimes years' of hard work and fundraising to acquire a wheelyboat for a new operator."

Peter Kay officially launches the new wheelyboat at the Anderton Centre in Chorley. Picture: Dave Nelson

Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative (LOAI) and national charity The Wheelyboat Trust have joined forces to fund, build and provide the new Coulam Wheelyboat V17, which will enable disabled people from Lancashire to take part in several waterborne activities safely and independently, for the first time.

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Located on the banks of the Lower Rivington Reservoir, the Anderton Centre hosts a range of water-based activities but, until now, disabled people haven’t been able to fully participate due to a lack of accessible equipment, which has all changed thanks to their new Wheelyboat.

The V17 has a bow door that lowers to form a ramp for roll-on, roll-off boarding, and the drive-from-wheelchair helm makes using the boat independent and accessible.

Peter Kay arriving at the Anderton Centre. Picture: Dave Nelson

David Germain, CEO at Anderton Centre, added: “The North West has the second highest proportion of disabled people in the UK.

“The V17 will make a significant difference to The Anderton Centre’s ability to facilitate fully inclusive activities and we are extremely grateful that Peter has launched our new boat.”

Relying on donations from individuals and organisations, the Wheelyboat Trust is a registered charity, dedicated to providing mobility impaired people, young and old, with the opportunity and freedom to participate in waterborne activities all over the UK.

The Wheelyboat Trust was founded in 1984 when it was originally called the Handicapped Anglers Trust.

To find out more about The Wheelyboat Trust, visit www.wheelyboats.org