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Excitement building for big event at Ripon canal

Evie Donnan (12), Richard Willis, Gail Donnan and children's book author Andy Chapman (1803124AM1).
Evie Donnan (12), Richard Willis, Gail Donnan and children's book author Andy Chapman (1803124AM1).

With just four weeks to go, excitement is building for Ripon canal’s spring weekend, which has been organised as part of a major drive to regenerate the area

Following on from the runaway success of Ripon’s very first canal Christmas market, the weekend (May 12-13) will boast a packed programme of family events and activities.

Passionate about celebrating and promoting everything that Ripon canal basin has to offer for visitors and residents, businesses along the stretch are channelling their huge energy and enthusiasm into organising more events.

And this latest one is truly inspired - what better way to promote Ripon canal than to link up with a local author who has written a children’s book specifically about canals!

Rescue Rosie’s Canal Adventures by Andy Chapman, will be firmly at the heart of the spring weekend - forming the basis of numerous fun-filled activities.

Every book sold on the day entitles two children with a paying adult to a free boat ride down the canal on the Pride of Ripon to see rescue Rosie, and the book will be brought to life. Andy will also be there to sign books.

Andy said: “A lot of people in Ripon don’t realise that there is a canal down there. The canal Christmas market was inspired, it was absolutely fantastic. So the more things we can do to promote the canal, the better.”

From 11am to 4pm on both days, attractions will include dozens of stalls, a tombola, live music entertainment from the Prima Musica singers and Lily Worth, and a children’s fancy dress competition.

Organiser Gail Donnan, who runs the Mindful Space Wellbeing Company, has been working hard to make the event a success - alongside Andy and Richard Willis, who runs canal tours in Ripon.

Gail said: “It all goes towards regenerating the area. There is much more awareness now of what we are doing down here at the canal basin.”

Andy hopes the day will inspire children to discover the charm and beauty of canals.

He said: “You can be going through a city like Leeds, but you would almost not know you are there being out on the canal, it’s like a little green corridor. What canals bring to a city is wildlife - birds, kingfishers, ducks, toads and fish. It’s a corridor for wildlife.

“In Ripon, the water is often crystal clear, you can see fish swimming, and it’s so tranquil and peaceful.”

Entry to the spring weekend costs 50p, and proceeds will go to Ripon YMCA.