Tim Coghlan says a sad goodbye to retiring boat builder, Dave Thomas who has been a welcome fixture at Braunston for over twenty years.
The collapse in narrow boat building has taken its toll on some established boat builders and, it is with much personal sadness that I record the recent closure of the Braunston Marina based David Thomas Boatbuilders. The reason for this is that Dave had no new orders for hulls, which he had always seen as his indoor winter work. He hasn’t built a hull since the beginning of 2011 – a training narrow boat for Rugby based Willow Wren Cruisers. And that will now prove his last. Dave has for some time supplemented his work with repairs and overplating to older narrow boats, which has been invaluable to us with our services to our moorers and ‘matters arising’ from brokerage surveys of older boats. However that work meant working outside, the boat a few feet above ground on a cradle. At times it also meant lying on the ground, which was fine in summer. Now with masses of this work – narrow boats don’t die – but no other work, and with winter in hand, at 62, he had decided it was time to hang up his welder.