On Saturday 3rd March 2001 Kingswear Castle took a stand at the South East England Tourist Board Travel Trade Fair at Brighton.
There were usually three or four of of these events each year at different venues in London, around the South East of England and in Essex including over the years at Chatham, Tunbridge Wells, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone, Eastbourne, Brighton, Chichester, the Whitbread Hop Farm, Southend and Basildon. We always took a stand and very useful it was too for signing up coach parties for our afternoon cruises from Chatham. There were many groups within a driving distance of one and a half hours from Chatham all looking for something to do for an afternoon out. This was our core business at Chatham into which we successfully tapped over the years.
Having already produced all the promotional material in advance, I put together the stand, boards and flags and drove it all to the various locations and manned the stand in the early years with help from Pat Bushell and as the years rolled on from Stafford Ellerman. Both were dab hands at chatting up group leaders and getting them to sign up to come for a trip on KC.
But for all the very many things I did at Chatham over all those many years I always looked forward to getting afloat and driving KC which was something which I enjoyed so very much even if sometimes it could be a little bit stressful. And looking back I think that I have been so very lucky to have had the opportunity to do all that with my life.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 3rd March 2021.