A LEAKING 60ft narrowboat is being restored in a community project before it journeys to a summer festival in Oxford.

Its bottom needs replacing, the hull is bulging and the cabin is rotting but Kilsby is staying afloat – just.

Money raised from the 2018 Oxford Canal Festival has gone towards finding the boat, making her safe, covering her with yards of tarpaulin and towing her very slow and carefully to Tooley’s boatyard in Banbury, where further restoration will take place.

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The festival’s search for a suitable boat ended when waterways resident Helen McGregor donated Kilsby, moored near Hythe Bridge Street.

Ms McGregor now has a second boat, Kilsby 2, which was commandeered into towing its predecessor to her new mooring, aided by a small team of enthusiastic volunteers.

Oxford Mail:

The £7,000 so far raised will help to get Kilsby to dry dock and start work.

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Festival co-director Steph Pirrie said: “We hope to finish the second part of the journey from Monday to Sunday.

"Then we shall be raising more funds to continue the work of restoration.

"We shall need about £60,000 to repurpose Kilsby, which we hope to raise from public and private funding, as well as from proceeds from the 2020 Canal Festival and crowdfunding.

"Eventually we hope Kilsby will take pride of place at Jericho Wharf.”

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Kilsby is now staying for a short time at Thrupp near Kidlington where she needs further work to make her safe.

Oxford Mail:

The festival is a biennial event and the next one takes place in September 2020.

Organisers pledged to find and restore a neglected narrowboat with the help of the community.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the project should email hugo@oxfordcanalheritage.org