Being a woman in a man's world is never easy – but when the 'world' is that of boats and things nautical, it presents an even bigger difficulty. But that's a challenge boatyard boss Jenny Beagle, who runs Bridge Marine in Shepperton, has been happy to meet since she took over the business from her parents in 1998.
Brothers Chris, Keith and Jeffrey French had summer jobs on the river when they were growing up so it was probably no surprise when their mum, Margaret Anne, suggested the three brothers should join together and set up a venture offering trips on the river to paying passengers back in 1978.
When Sam Dawson's father, Ronald, died in 2003 at the age of 74 from a stroke it changed his son's life completely. For years, the pair had been running the film lighting and equipment hire company – called Rainbow Lighting – that Ronald had founded in the 1960s, working long hours and travelling all over the country.
Three cheers for the River Thames Guide, the website which provides a comprehensive information service about all things to do with the Thames, which is launching a project aimed at encouraging youngsters to get involved with bird-watching along the length of the river.