Memorial honours town ferry skipper
PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 November 2015
A memorial bench has been unveiled in Beccles in memory of the former owner and skipper of the town's Big Dog Ferry.
The ferry takes the picturesque journey along the River Waveney from Beccles Lido to Geldeston Locks and was re-established in 2011 by Paul Aldis.
Mr Aldis died at the end of 2012 and the ferry is now operated by the Lido.
A fundraising campaign took place in recent months to help pay for a much-needed new engine for the boat, and the memorial bench which will be situated next to the pontoon is in part, a thank you to the people of Beccles for their support.
The ferry was set up in 2006, but after three years it was stopped before Mr Aldis took on the responsibility in 2011 and set it up at Beccles Lido.
The bench is dedicated to Mr Aldis and space has been made for a plaque inscribed with the words “Forever Skipper of the Big Dog Ferry”.
It was unveiled on Sunday at a ceremony attended by Mr Aldis’ family, mayor Hugh Taylor and some of the ferry’s main donors.
Yanny Mac, one of the skippers of the Big Dog Ferry, said: “We always wanted to commemorate Paul in some way - he was our original skipper. Another skipper Carl Murray made the bench and table and we used the occasion on Sunday to thank all those who have helped us raise the money.
“We raised over £1,000 towards our cause and we wanted to say thank you to the people of the region.
“It will now offer a perfect place for people to sit and watch the sun set over the Waveney Valley.”
The ferry is now taking a break over the winter months, although it is still available for charter, and the team is preparing for the new season which will start again in March.
Mr Mac said: “We have now raised money for the environmentally-friendly solar/electric engine, and we are now looking at potentially getting a bigger boat which will be one of our projects over the winter season.”
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