Comedian Peter Kay has launched a new wheelchair-accessible wheelyboat near his hometown of Bolton.
The comedian, writer and actor said he and his children enjoyed outdoor activities at the Anderton Center near Chorley, where the boat was launched on Lower Rivington Reservoir.
It will give disabled adults and children the opportunity to enjoy water activities at the center for the first time.
Kay, 48, stepped down from the public eye in 2017 citing “unforeseen family circumstances” but returned to the stage earlier this month to embark on his first tour in 11 years and on Good Friday his show Dance For Life at the Manchester Central Convention Complex to perform.
Kay said more shows are planned for this Friday in London and in Liverpool in August, but any future TV appearances would remain a “surprise”.
After being introduced as the guest of honor, Kay was given a t-shirt with the words “Honorary Instructor” emblazoned on the back to make him laugh.
Kay said: “It’s very nice to be here today, I’m honored to be asked to launch this amazing wheelyboat which I hope will bring lots of joy and happiness to the water for many.
“The Anderton Center is a fantastic place and I love coming here. People are really nice and when it’s a nice day and there’s a heatwave you think you’re in the south of France.”
Kay then stepped to the water’s edge to cut the ribbon on the boat, adding, “I’m just going to proceed with cutting it with the scissors… I thought I could bang a bottle on it, but apparently in there is the modern one.” World not approved for recycling.
“I’ve never launched anything in my life except for one of my kids – no, just kidding.
“So I officially – not all run and jump – openly declare this fantastic, wonderful wheelyboat.”
When asked how he was doing, Kay said, “I’m doing great, thank you, nice to do, nice to do.”
Kay also shook hands and spoke briefly with local MP and Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
The Coulam Wheelyboat V17 – a purpose built fully wheelchair accessible powerboat – is Lancashire’s first for public use.
The Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative (LOAI) and national charity The Wheelyboat Trust have partnered to fund, build and provide the new vessel.
Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust said: “Wheelyboats are a lifeline for everyone with a disability as each boat removes the barriers and allows disabled people to participate alongside and on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts.
“All too often people with disabilities are limited in what they can do because of a lack of accessible facilities and equipment, which we are trying to change.”
David Germain, Managing Director of the Anderton Centre, added: “The North West has the second highest proportion of people with disabilities in the UK and Greater Manchester alone is home to over 521,000 people with disabilities.
“We have long wanted to be able to enable people on our doorstep and further afield to participate and enjoy a range of on-water activities and, for once, be able to participate on an equal footing with their able-bodied peers.”
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/and-finally/peter-kay-launches-wheelchair-accessible-boat-on-lancashire-reservoir-41580421.html Peter Kay launches a wheelchair accessible boat on the Lancashire reservoir