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Shiver me timbers these pirates arrr seeking new boat

PUBLISHED: 12:04 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:56 07 September 2010

A CAMDEN Town youth club is appealing to people s hearties as it tries to dig up enough treasure to buy a new boat. The Pirate Club, which has taken many a child on a unique adventure over its 40-year history, needs cash

Ben McPartland

A CAMDEN Town youth club is appealing to people's hearties as it tries to dig up enough treasure to buy a new boat.

The Pirate Club, which has taken many a child on a unique adventure over its 40-year history, needs cash for a new canal boat.

Its current vessel, the Pirate Princess, is more than 25 years old and well past its retirement date. The club, based at the landmark Pirate Castle on Oval Road, has budgeted £127,000 for a new one.

"It's got to a stage where the boat we have is costing us a great deal of money in terms of maintenance. So we decided to call it quits and put it up for sale," said centre manager Giles Higgitt.

Not only is the club appealing for donations, it is also appealing for any pirates out there with a spare £28,000 to come and buy their old boat.

"There will be a few closet pirates out there I am sure. I am sure there are people who like the idea of being one," said Mr Higgitt.

"The Pirates Of The Caribbean films will have attracted a few people to the idea."

The Pirate Club, a registered charity, runs various boating courses for young people. As well as learning how to handle a narrow boat, kids can be taught the much easier task of managing a kayak.

Mr Higgitt says the project helps to build confidence and self-reliance in youngsters.

"Boating on the canal is wonderful. It is in their local environment and they get fresh air and exercise and it's all good fun," he said.

"Normally children and young pe-ople are quite frantic but canal boats move at a pace of three or four miles an hour. It's interesting to see how they slow down to suit that pace."

As well as floating a new boat, the club also needs to raise £62,400 for a qualified instructor and maintenance costs.

The club relies on charitable donations as it receives no funding from the government or the town hall.

"Everyone has this expectation that every type of youth club receives some kind of funding but that just doesn't happen any more," said Mr Higgitt. "All the clubs have to bid for money now which is a whole new skill in itself."

The Pirate Castle is undergoing a massive upgrade which will make it accessible to disabled children for the first time when it reopens in May.

o For more information email info@thepiratecastle.org or visit www.thepiratecastle.org.

ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk

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