Timothy West and Prunella Scales will be the guests of honour opening up the 11th Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally.
The husband and wife actors will be opening the event at Braunston Marina on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30.
For the occasion, the couple will wear traditional boatmen clothing. Timothy West said: “We are thrilled to be coming at last to a Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally. We usually charge to dress up in our work. But to support this unique and wonderful canal event, we will waive our fee in this case!”
At 11am on the day, West will steer the boat President into the marina towing its butty boat Kildare steered by Prunella Scales – as working boatmen and their wives did in the past.
Tim Coghlan, managing director of the marina, said: ‘The popularity of the now well-established annual Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally and Canal Festival, has never ceased to amaze me.
“It was first organised with our co-sponsors Canals Rivers + Boats in 2003, with the intention of being a one-off. The inspiration was to celebrate the relaunch of the last surviving steam narrowboat President, which had been out of action for some years due to major repairs.
“That first rally attracted what seemed like a lot of boats – all of 29 – and that was after much work and a lot of arm-twisting. But everyone wanted to do it again, and then again, and each year it has gone from strength to strength.”
The rally attracts interest from all over the world with more than 6,000 visitors came in 2012, some travelling from as afar afield as Australia and New Zealand, Canada, the USA and South Africa.
Mr Coghlan added: “The success of the ten rallies to date has made this into the Historic Narrowboat Rally and Canal Festival. Here’s hoping we see you there.”