From Blue Flag September 2007
Richmond Venturer is owned by a registered charity called The River Thames Boat Project. The vessel is a specially converted Dutch barge, fully accessible to people with disabilities and equipped with a variety of educational resources about the Thames.
The ‘Venturer’ is an Honorary Member of the DBA and the association was privileged to use the barge as host-boat and focal-point during the rally weekend at Kingston upon Thames, while a lucky few were fortunate to spend the night on board, (including BF editor Paul and DBA Bookshop Val).
The River Thames Boat Project is a registered charity that aims to give people the chance to access the Thames, to discover the fascinating river and learn about its environment. It provides opportunities for personal and social development, and encourages people to become more independent by participating in running the Richmond Venturer. The River Thames Boat Project is run by one full-time, one part-time member of staff, a qualified sessional skipper and sessional teachers, assisted by a team of volunteers. Income is raised through grants, by public donation and the Venturer is occasionally made available for corporate events.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to learn that funds are needed to further develop the charity’s range of activities on the Thames and maintain the Venturer. DBA members may also be interested to learn that volunteers with an interest in boats and the river are always welcome. Introductory training is given to all new volunteers in deckwork, seamanship and safety and there is annual refresher training for established crew. For volunteers who want to further their skills the Boat Project organises RYA first aid and VHF radio courses on board the Venturer and additional courses at the National Sea Training College in Gravesend.
Voyages normally start from Kingston; the cruising area is between the Thames Barrier and Windsor. Day cruises usually go up river past Hampton Court Palace to Walton or Shepperton, where there is a stop for lunch. Alternatively, longer residential voyages upriver to Windsor are occasionally arranged, as are cruises downstream to see London, its bridges and landmarks from the perspective of the Thames. Every year over 3000 people enjoy a trip on the Venturer or come on board.
For further information about bookings, volunteering or making a donation via Gift Aid please contact:
Built 1908 Lekkerkirk, Utrecht(26m long, 5m beam, 1.2m draft), little is known of the Venturer’s history as her ship’s papers were lost during World War 2. It is known, however, that she was probably one of 2,000 vessels commandeered during WW2 for Operation Sea Lion, Germany’s plan to invade the UK. Her original name was De Tyd Zal’t Leeren, which means Time Will Tel. In 1957 she was registered in Rotterdam where her name was changed to Vereenigining III or Society III. In 1971 she was re-registered at Corry II. By 1988 her name had changed again, this time to Gerja, and she was brought to the UK where Alan Borough, a Thames philanthropist, purchased the vessel and sold her to The River Thames Boat Project for £1.00.
...and this is what the articel looks like printed in Blue Flag:-