Further to the article posted on this site on 10th May.
Ferries from Sunbury across the river to Walton, have operated for hundreds of years and were a vital link for the local communities. Sadly, with the advent of modern transport, bridges and road links, the ferries died out towards the 1970s – until now.
LoSRA has always championed the idea of a new river crossing in Lower Sunbury, and whilst the idea of a footbridge is still a long term objective, an initiative from Spelthorne Council (SBC), through its River Thames Task Group, sees a new ferry service beginning operation from Lower Sunbury next month.
The SBC River Thames Task Group was made up of Spelthorne Councillors, Officers and local community representatives (including LoSRA) with a knowledge of the river and the local area. The Task Group has undertaken a number of riverside projects across Spelthorne including improvements to Kings Lawn and the ferry initiative.
As part of the ferry project, two local residents, Neil Huntingford (a LoSRA Committee Member), and Simon Harris have set up Sunbury Ferry Ltd. Formed as a not-for-profit community company, they have recruited over two dozen local volunteers to operate the ferry service at weekends and public holidays throughout the summer months. Many of the volunteers are already experienced boaters whilst others have taken advantage of the opportunity to gain a qualification through training at Queen Mary's Reservoir.
The Council have generously provided the initial funding to get this community initiative up and running, with LoSRA and other local organisations adding their support as the project has developed.
Keen to be 'green', the new pontoon-style ferry is powered by a whisper-quiet electric engine and crosses the river from the Lower Sunbury bank opposite the Riverside Arts Centre, over to the Walton bank downstream of Sunbury Lock.
LoSRA is proud to be an active supporter of this new service for the local community which should also help attract visitors to the area to enjoy the many amenities on offer in Lower Sunbury as well as giving access to Walton.
Please visit the ferry website for more details: sunburyferry.co.uk
Photo shows volunteers undertaking training ahead of the new ferry being delivered.