Couple become first to use new Edinburgh canal boat for their wedding celebration

A couple have become the first to use a new canal boat in Edinburgh which is part-owned by a Church of Scotland congregation for their wedding celebration.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 6:09 pm
The happy couple on board the canal boat in Edinburgh.

Dawn and Len Purves welcomed guests onto the “All Aboard”, which is moored outside Polwarth Parish Church in Edinburgh on Saturday to help them mark their big day.

It was a momentous occasion for the couple, who are 69 and 68 respectively, because they were forced to cancel their wedding twice last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the silver lining of postponement was being able to hold their reception on the 60-ft yellow, white and blue wide-beam canal boat because it is a project which has been close to their hearts for ten years when the idea was first conceived.

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Guests were able to celebrate on the boat.

Mrs Purves said: “It was wonderful to be the first married couple to use ‘All Aboard’ for our wedding.

“It was such fun to be aboard such a beautiful boat, which is part of Polwarth’s Union Canal-side church gardens project, that will enable the congregation and charity partner to do so much good in the community.”

The couple are members of the church, known as the Kirk on the Canal.

The ceremony was conducted inside the building by their minister, Rev Jack Holt, in accordance with social distancing guidelines with 30 guests. Some of the guests went aboard and another canal boat moored beside it for others to get on and enjoy the celebration.

Dawn and Len Purves welcomed guests onto the “All Aboard”, which is moored outside Polwarth Parish Church.

The other canal boat, Panacea, is owned by an Edinburgh charity called The Sorted Project which works with people living with addictions.

Mrs Purves, a retired primary school head teacher, revealed that she was living in Durham in north-east England when she met her husband online and they met in person for the first time outside Jenners department store on Edinburgh’s Princes Street in April, 2007.

Mr Holt said: “Dawn has been a member of the planning group that brought the boat to Polwarth, and I know how much it means to her that we were successful in that enterprise.

“It is fitting that she has had this early opportunity to use the boat as part of her celebrations."

Built by The New & Used Boat Company in Droitwich in Worcestershire, England, “All Aboard” was driven to Edinburgh on the back of a lorry and craned into the Union Canal at Wester Hailes in May and moored outside the church.

It has been custom designed inside with a galley kitchen, toilet, flexible social space and is wheelchair accessible.

Polwarth Parish Church jointly owns it with People Know How, a local social innovation charity that seeks to empower individuals and organisations to realise their true potential.

The boat is intended to be used for spiritual and educational pursuits and, when conditions allow, will serve as a safe space to gather, socialise and improve wellbeing and community cohesion.

It could be used by other church denominations but is not for hire.

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