Recreating history with the ‘Dickinson Dash’

Jan Knox with two four-legged members of the Dickinson Dash crew. Picture by Michael Askin.
Jan Knox with two four-legged members of the Dickinson Dash crew. Picture by Michael Askin.

A team of boaters have recreated a historic canal dash in record time.

A group of six crew travelled from the Paper Trail at Apsley to Paddington – the same journey made by paper maker John Dickinson in the early 19th century – in 11 hours on Saturday to raise money for the restoration of a boat belonging to Frogmore Paper Mill.

Team member Keith Jones, who has since suffered a minor heart attack, said: “It went very well, we did it in 11 hours and our target was 12.

“In the old days, they used to do it in eight and a half hours, but with modern speed restrictions and boat traffic that wouldn’t be possible. We think 10 hours is just about achievable so we will be trying to beat our record next year.

“I think we could make this a yearly challenge because we got such a good following. We got told by lots of people that we were doing a great job, all of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was 11 hours of really hard work but it was worth it.”

Keith says his recent poor health has not put him off boating in future, and he even hopes to recreate the run using one of the original Dickinson Dash boats next year. He is on his way to making a full recovery.

So far the event has raised more than £600 of the original £1,000 target, which will be used to restore the Bryan Donkin, a canal ferry boat used for trips from the mill.

Keith added: “We still have donations trickling in, but we will be looking for more donations until we reach our target. It is really an ongoing thing because there are a lot of repairs to do to the boat and it is a vital earner for Frogmore Paper Mill.”

To find out more about the Dickinson Dash or to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/dickinsondash.