Nine-year-old boy to navigate own boat on River Lea to raise money for bridge at Cody Docks
- Credit: submitted
A nine-year-old boy is navigating his boat 26-mile down the River Lea to raise awareness of money needed for a bridge at Cody Docks.
Tom Myers will set off from the Old Barge Inn in Hertford on May 27 using a mixture of paddling and motor power until he reaches the Thames near Trinity Buoy Wharf. The journey is expected to take three to four days.
Around £79,000 needs to be raised from residents and business sponsors alike towards the bridge, which would give pedestrian access to the towpath running from Tree Mills in Bromley-by-Bow to Canning Town.
Tom, who lives with his parents and six-year-old sister Emma on a Dutch house barge near Cody Docks, Canning Town, spent his pocket money on doing up a boat he found abandoned on the River Roding.
The year five pupil at Star Lane Primary School in Canning Town saved up nearly £350 for an electric outboard motor and a solar panel to charge its batteries.
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Tom who is passionate about wildlife, boats, and rivers named his boat Kingfisher.
Tom said: “She was in a very sorry state when I found her and I had to fix holes, replace the seats and paint her. I look forward to discovering new places along the river during the journey.”
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None of his school friends go sailing, said Tom who has lived all his life on a house boat, and he hopes to inspire others to get out there too.
Tom said: “I like how I can live in an urban area but still be so close to nature.”
Tom keeps regular logs on the birds living around Cody Docks and helps the charity Thames 21 with their Eel monitoring at Bow Locks.
He recently completed training in water quality monitoring, and will keep a log of the wildlife he sees during the journey and take water samples.
Tom’s father, Simon Myers, who is a trained community boat skipper will be acting as his crew for the entire journey. The pair will cook and sleep on the nine by four foot boat, and Tom will write about their adventure on his Facebook page from an iphone.
Simon, who is chief executive of the Gasworks Docks Partnership, set up to rejuvenate the old gasworks dock, explained how Tom got the idea for the journey.
He said: “After Tom found the boat he said he wanted to sail down the Thames. But I said that’s a really long journey and suggested the River Lea instead. They raised some money at his school for a project which is when he learned about sponsoring. Then when he heard that we needed to raise money for the bridge he said that’s what I’ll raise money for and he has been very focused.”
So far £10,000 has been raised towards the bridge and Tom hopes to raise a further £2,000 on his own while appealing to residents to donate £1-2 each and for businesses to donate larger amounts.
Once the 79,000 has been raised the Gasworks Docks Partnership can seek matchfunding from the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council.
Readers can sponsor Tom by logging onto www.spacehive.com/codydock — please mark donations with his name.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kingfisher/292925227506893 to follow his journey.