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Flotilla fit for a Queen


11 April 2012

President, one of the world’s only surviving steam powered narrow boats, prepares to set sail from Black Country Living Museum on 10 April, 2012. The boat, bound for Etruria in Stoke-on-Trent, will start a journey which will see the 100-year old steamer take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, on behalf of HM Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire in a ‘flotilla fit for a Queen’.

The1000-boat tribute to Her Majesty’s 60 year reign will navigate along a seven mile stretch of the Thames, from Putney to Tower Bridge, on Sunday 3 June, 2012 in one of the biggest waterways spectaculars in living memory. A variety of vessels from the UK, Commonwealth and around the world will take part in the display and cargo boats, tug boats, rescue boats, leisure crafts and historic ships will all gather on the Thames in the largest flotilla seen in more than 400 years.

In a fitting testimony to President’s past, cargo representative of Staffordshire will be transported to London aboard the steamer. In its heyday President would have carried spices, tea, wool, soap and sugar between London, Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. Today it sets sail with a JCB digger, a steel swan, created by St Modwen Properties in partnership with social enterprise PM Training, a Michelin tyre and a hand-crafted Wedgewood Diamond Jubilee Commemorative set showcasing the best the county has to offer.

Making the journey aboard ‘President’, will be a JCB 8018 mini excavator which was lowered into position today ahead of the 336 mile journey to London. The 1.5 tonne machine, made by JCB Compact Products in Cheadle, Staffordshire, will be helping fly the flag for Staffordshire manufacturing on the deck of the steam powered narrow boat. JCB Worldwide Marketing Director Matt McClurg said: “JCB is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of mini excavators and there is a huge sense of pride for everyone involved in producing these machines that the JCB 8018 will be aboard The President for this very special journey.” Staffordshire County Councillor Pat Corfield, Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Customers said: “It is a thrill and an honour for Staffordshire to be able to play such a significant part in the national Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It will be a central event, broadcast live across the world and I am delighted that Staffordshire will be so well represented by such fine county heritage at such a prestigious event. The treasures that will be making their way down to London will show the world what Staffordshire has to offer."

David J Eveleigh, Director of Collections, Learning & Research at Black Country Living Museum said: “Black Country Living Museum is delighted that ‘President’, one of our most important and best-loved boats, has secured a place representing the county of Staffordshire in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. As the country’s only restored operational steam narrow boat,and part of the National Historic Fleet, her journey from Staffordshire to London, as well as the Pageant itself, will allow many more people to view this important part of the region’s industrial past.”

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