Take a look back at a collection of captivating photos ahead of Poirot star opening historic festival in Braunston

A canal festival returns to Braunston Marina in celebration of its 20th anniversary this year.

Poirot star David Suchet is set to sail to Northamptonshire to open the Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally and Canal Festival at the end of the month.

The busy waterways will be filled with the sounds of engines over the June 29–30 weekend.

Tim Coghlan, managing director of Braunston Marina, said: “Our initial soundings of owners of historic narrowboats are that they can’t wait to come. We have already received an encouraging number of early bookings, and they just keep coming in.

“This could well be a vintage year. These leviathans of our canal-carrying past are the making of the Rally, which, as for some years now, will probably be the largest gathering of them anywhere on the waterways.”

This year only, as boats come together and line up along the towpath, actor and canal enthusiast David Suchet is formally opening the Rally on the dredger Diana, also known as ‘Di The Digger’.

Tim Coghlan presented the restored dredger in memory of his late wife Diana – a great canal enthusiast – who passed away in 2014 from cancer.

David Suchet has agreed to allow people to take photographs with him on the dredger for £10 per person in order to raise money for the Buckingham Canal Society.

Tim said: “David Suchet has over thirty years of close association with Braunston Marina. He came to us in 1991 originally as a family boater until 1994. Since then he has come for a celebratory involvement in a number of canal events we have hosted organised over the year.”

The Rally - which was initially planned as a one-time event in 2023 to celebrate the re-restoration of the narrowboat President - returns this year with many attractions.

Visitors can enjoy the boats, canal societies, trade exhibitors, canal artists, stalls, and music, as well as the Alarum Theatre, who will be presenting their most recent performance.

Tim said: “The Rally is very much an outdoor event, with the five-odd thousand people who traditionally attend spreading themselves out along the mile or so of towpath to watch the parades.

“Here’s hoping we have you onboard.”

Take a look through the gallery to see the community at the previous editions of the historic festival in Braunston.

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