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Great summer days at Islington Boat Club

Who’s making the news around your way this week?

27 July, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Raft racing and paddle boarding aren’t activities usually associated with the borough but with the launch of Islington Boat Club’s summer programme youngsters can try them out. The daily sessions at City Road Basin in Angel will come in handy for children during their summer holiday and includes a lunch break with games in the nearby park. If the canal wasn’t watery enough, a day trip to Southend is also planned alongside a trip down Islington tunnel – we’ve all wondered what’s it like inside the long brick passage. If you’re sick of the water, the club also offers mountain biking so you can outrace everyone pottering along on their boats. All sessions are led by qualified staff and only costs £3 a day for youngsters. Disabilities can be catered for so email the club to find out how they can help. “We have a variety of things happening and parents can send their kids to us for the whole day for not much money. Kayaking is going to be the main thing,” said Chris McCabe, youth club manager. The club launched in 1970 and was the vision of Angel resident Crystal Hale who wanted to turn a length of the canal into a adventure zone for children. She fought off developers who wanted to fill in the basin and turn the site into flats. Think Peter Pan’s Neverland but with much less land and less risk of getting attacked by a crocodile. Crystal sadly died almost 20 years ago but not before amassing around 150 boats enjoyed by more than 7,000 children a year. To find out more about the club and the basin go to:


Flowers and thanks for Virginia Low, a ‘unique lady’

Stuart Low Trust founder Virginia Low, centre, with magician Gareth Foreman and longtime SLT supporter Patsy Keane on Friday

A brave mum who set up a charity to engage vulnerable people and those with mental health needs stepped down as chairwoman on Friday. During the annual general meeting of the Stuart Low Trust, founder Virginia Low was presented with a bouquet of flowers and tears flowed as tributes to her were read out. The Trust was named after Virginia’s son who suffered from schizophrenia. Following his death, Virginia set up the charity as she felt her son didn’t get the services he needed and the trust has been running outings and events – even on Christmas Day – for 20 years. Upcoming events include a talk on Elvis Presley which focuses on his rags to riches story and a dance class which promises to “gently guide you through various dance styles.” A team of volunteers are on hand every Friday to provide dinner for 60 to 100 people. Hannah Kalmanowitz, chief executive of the Trust, said of Virginia: “She is a unique lady and a one-off. She’s turned a tragedy into something amazing for many isolated people. She’s gathered up so much support for people into Islington.”

Stuart Low Trust volunteers Peter, Adam, Eleanor, Cady, Brian, Catherine, Ahmed and Louise

Volunteers also took centre stage and 94 certificates for outstanding service were handed out. Magician Gareth Foreman enthralled the audience with tricks. Angel Deli in Chapel Market catered the event and showered the meeting with home-made mini quiches and smoked salmon sandwiches. They were kind enough to provide 100 slices of cake for free which were greatly appreciated by the volunteers.Find out more about the Trust at:


Charity oiling the wheels of kindness

The vegetable oil-run bus outside the Kindness Offensive HQ in Camden Road

What gets old age pensioners moving? Veg oil seems to be the answer according to charity The Kindness Offensive. For around a year the organisation has shunned regular diesel and petrol and has used vegetable oil to run its bus, at a paltry 70p a litre. The government announced this week that by 2040 the sale of diesel and petrol cars would end and Robert Williams, the founder of The Kindness Offensive believes he has the answer. “We’ve actually been travelling faster now after it was converted and it runs just like diesel oil. The vegetable oil also cleans the engine and is cleaner over all for the environment,” he said. The “clean” 1965 route master bus was converted to run on vegetable oil for just £1,000 by a man in Wales, according to Robert. The bus took around 30 pensioners from Age UK Islington to the stately Myddelton House in Lee Valley Regional Park for a day trip on Monday. Head of volunteers Joanna Bevan said: “They had loads of fun – and they couldn’t believe the bus was running on vegetable oil.” The Kindness Offensive proudly park the bus outside their HQ in Camden Road. Find out more at


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