Martin’s date with the Royals

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PENDLE’S popular emperor took part in the visit by the Royal Family to the area last week.

It was the Foulridge-based canal boat “Marton Emperor” - which Prince Charles has ridden on three times before - which was involved.

Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles actually travelled on another vessel so they would be more visible to the public, but “Marton Emperor” did carry their VIP guests.

Foulridge Canal Cruises, who operate “Marton Emperor”, were very proud to be invited by Burnley Council’s chief executive Steve Rumbelow to carry the 28 VIPs as part of the Royal Visit to view the Weavers Triangle in Burnley.

Canal cruise boss Mr Martin Cleaver said: “Her Majesty wanted to be in an open deck boat so that she could be seen and, considering all factors, was an outstanding and amazing choice by herself, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles.

“The spectators had an unbelievable view of the three of them and the party were taking in the heritage throughout the trip. The weather was sunny and the route looked very colourful with the hundreds of people viewing and the rich green grass.

“The atmosphere was incredible and appreciative of the Royal Family’s interest in the regeneration of Burnley.”

“Marton Emperor” is no stranger to Royal visits - Prince Charles has travelled on it on three occasions in the past, the last time in 2008. Clarence House approved the boat when it was realised that the Queen’s boat - “The Pride of Sefton” - could only carry 12 people.

Mr Cleaver, from Barnoldswick, said: “We were given a guest list and set out the boat in red, white and blue, which was appreciated by our guests.

“Following on from our Titanic-themed dinner recently, Sheila Marshall baked some Cabin Biscuits to the White Star recipe served to third class passengers, which got a great laugh from the guests and, ironically, the recipe being asked for!

“The Royal Trip was travelling from Finsley Gate to Slater Terrace, where the Queen would give a speech; we pulled on to the mills mooring and walked out into the warehouse through the goods doors where the cotton or goods would have been loaded in from the barges.

“ ‘ Marton Emperor’ led the Queen’s boat and while we were cruising the short trip, Sheila and Ivy Isherwood were in the cabin serving coffee and tea to the grateful guests who had been stood around in the cold morning.

“On arrival at the wharf, ‘Marton Emperor’ was secured and guests disembarked. The Queen’s boat arrived and I took the bow rope and secured it, and then the stern rope, carefully tiptoeing across the red carpet to get to it! The trip was enjoyed by both boat parties and it is fantastic to see this section of canal taking shape, with such support.”

And he added: “Ironically, we were discussing a few weeks ago how great it would be to take a boat to the Royal Flotilla on the Thames - how ironic that the Queen came to Burnley and we had the privilege to escort the Royal Party instead!”

“Marton Emperor” is popular with Prince Charles - but also with the public. Its is used regularly for cruises on the canal from Foulridge Wharf, often with meals serves. It has been a success for many years.