Charity based at Braunston re-creates its first donations to mark its 35th anniversary

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A Braunston-based charity has celebrated its 35th birthday by reliving the ‘first fiver’ donations which heralded its beginnings.

LNBP at Braunston, formerly known as the London Narrow Boat Project, is a non-profit charity which offers community groups, uniformed organisations and schools the opportunity to experience life on the Oxford and Grand Union Canals via short break canal boat holidays and day trips.

The organisation, which has two canal boats operating during March to November from Braunstone, was started in October 1981 when two teachers and a Scout master – Richard Brierley, Keith Standley and Alan Till – recognised the benefit of introducing children and young people, particularly from the inner cities, to the enjoyment of canals and inland waterways.

At the time all three committed to donating five pounds into a piggy bank to kick-start the project.

Thirty five years and over 2600 trips later, it all happened again at LNBP at Braunston’s recent birthday celebrations.

Inspired by the recent #first fiver social media trend of donating your first new five pound note to charity, the executive committee team of LNBP at Braunston recreated history by each donating a new £5 note to the organisation’s bursary fund.

As well as commemorating the anniversary of the organisation’s founding with the ‘First Fiver’ donations, a birthday cake was made for invited guests to enjoy during the celebrations.

Derek Edwards, chairman of LNBP at Braunston, said: “The timing of our birthday celebrations and the release of the new £5 note could not have been any better.

“We have always been conscious to remember our beginnings all those years ago, and it seems ironic that 35 years on from our first founders donating their ‘first fiver’, history with the help of social media has repeated itself again. It is as if it was meant to happen”.

LNBP at Braunston set up a bursary fund over 30 years ago to help those groups interested in a canal boating holiday experience but may not necessarily be in a position to afford it. The fund is financed by membership to the organisation, a variety of fundraising and through the kind generosity of donors.

Edwards added: “While many of us running the project are now getting older, we hope our donations and others will continue to see the LNBP at Braunston welcome even more groups and schools in years to come, as well as potential new volunteers to its operation.”

For more information about LNBP at Braunston, the groups they welcome and also check availability for 2017, go to