Famous artist brings gifts for two Braunston Marina stalwarts

Long service awards at Braunston Marina.
Long service awards at Braunston Marina.

Braunston Marina staff who have clocked up 45 years’ service between them have been presented with artwork by the internationally-renowned artist Paul James.

Paul travelled to the marina to give Carol Coy, who has worked there for 25 years, and Paul Bennett, who has worked there for 20, a limited edition print each of his canal painting Guarding Gifford.

The original large painting was inspired by Paul’s visit to the 2013 Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally. Aside from being an artist, he is also a canal enthusiast and makes paintings of them, while he owns a historic former working narrowboat called France, which attended this year’s rally, following a major restoration to bring it back to its original state.

At the 2013 rally, Paul saw and photographed the dog seen in the painting on the roof of the motor narrowboat moored alongside the butty Gifford – hence the painting’s name.

The artwork was first exhibited in the artist’s tent at the 2014 Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally and a limited edition was made of 100 signed and numbered prints.

Braunston Marina’s managing director said: “Both Carol and Paul have been brilliant during their many years of service.

“Carol arrived in 1990, not that long after I acquired the marina from its receivers, when it was nothing short of a wreck. I thought she was very brave coming onboard!

“She has often commented on how much she has enjoyed seeing the marina grow and prosper. Paul joined us in 1995 after 23 years in the army’s Royal Logistic Corps, where he was a marine engineer working with their landing craft fleet - so he brought a raft of experience with him, which he has put to excellent use.”

Paul James will be exhibiting in the artists’ tent at the 2016 Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally from June 25 to 26. His narrowboat France will be among the 80-plus historic narrowboats expected to attend what is now the largest gathering of historic narrowbats anywhere on the Inland Waterways.