A FUNDRAISING campaign is under way to restore a neglected narrowboat in the run-up to this year’s Oxford Canal Festival.

The last festival took place in 2016 and organisers are planning a similar event in the autumn, this time taking place over two days instead of one.

As part of the preparations they aim to buy a neglected narrowboat and restore it to its former glory so that it can be used as a canal stage during the festival by young musicians and community groups.

The festival featuring music and stories will take place on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday September 9.

The main location will be Aristotle Lane Recreation Ground in North Oxford.

James Fry, festival co-director and Labour city councillor for North Ward, said fundraisers were aiming to collect at least £5,000 to fund the boat repairs.

He added: “We want to invite local people to get involved with the boat’s restoration.

“When it’s back to its former glory, it will be a focus for canal events and activities. We’re still searching for the right boat, so watch this space - and anyone who can help, please do get in touch.”

Festival organisers are aiming to bring people together, from walkers and nature enthusiasts to boaters and people from the local community who live on or near the canal.

They will be performing, entertaining, displaying traditional canal arts, guiding walks and telling stories. The event will be part of Oxford Open Doors, which runs the same weekend.

Festival co-director Stephanie Pirrie, who also runs the Jericho Singers community choir, said: “We have some great bands and singers lined up, lots of colourful activities for adults and children - plus a few surprises.

“There will also be boats taking people for short trips during the day.”

The last festival was held in June 2016 and the organisers are hoping for better weather this time.

The festival’s dog show is returning by popular demand.

For more information visit oxfordcanalheritage.org/festival