A marine makeover

When Nicky and David Prior bought the Bridge Marine boatyard in June 1984, it was a rundown wreck of a place.

Dot’s a saviour for swans

I’ve met a host of lovely people whilst writing this column but probably none as charming and dedicated to her cause as Dot Beeson, the woman behind the Swan Sanctuary based in Felix Lane, Shepperton.

Idyllic gem’s hidden away

There are many idyllic places from which to enjoy the beauties of the Thames but one of the best kept secrets around seems to be Truss’s Island – a tiny ait on the Surrey bank of the river quite close to Staines Bridge.

Blame it on his mum

Derek Banks blames his mother for his lifelong interest in boats and boating. Derek, who runs barging holiday company European Waterways Ltd from his idyllic riverside home in Wraysbury, was packed off by his mum to work at Crevall’s boatyard in Old Windsor during each school holiday for every year between the ages of 13 and 18.