Lancashire love stories: Grieving boater lovingly restores boats in memory of his late wife and their baby daughter.

A waterways lover has painstakingly restored two boats to try to deal with his grief and honour his baby daughter and wife.

By Stef Hall
Thursday, 24th December 2020, 12:30 pm

Colin Ogden was devastated when his wife of almost 21 years, Lynda, passed away.

The Elswick couple, who were both waterway enthusiasts, spent their lives sailing together on the Lancaster Canal.

Lynda’s dreams came true when, on her birthday, Colin bought her very own boat - an old wooden vessel which the bird lover named after a shoreline bird.

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Colin Ogden

The 15ft 1965 vessel was a former water taxi wreck from Lake Windermere, but they had big plans for it.

For the following four years, Colin and Lynda worked on Whimbrel, trying to get the boat back into some sort of usable state.

But tragically, before their project was finished, Lynda passed away.

Along with Colin, Lynda was an avid campaigner for the restoration of the northern reaches of the Lancaster Canal.

Rebekah Louise is being restored in memory of Colin and Lynda's baby daughter

The couple wanted to see the reconnection of the 42 miles of the southern canal - from Preston to Tewitfield - with the Northern reaches that go into Cumbria, which were abandoned in the late 50s, with most of the canal later filled in.

Despite her ill health, Lynda helped Colin to campaign about the issue, and in February 2019, they were invited to stay at Chillingham Castle in Northumberland by baronet Sir Humphrey Wakefield, who supported the plan and was keen to discuss the canal’s future.

Tragically, during their visit Lynda died suddenly.

It was a second tragedy to hit Colin, for the couple lost their baby daughter, Louise, at just three weeks old.

Rebekah Louise is being restored in memory of Colin and Lynda's baby daughter

Left to cope with his grief, and the loneliness of the Covid lockdown just a few weeks later, Colin decided to pay tribute to Lynda in the most fitting way he could - by completing the restoration of her beloved boat.

He launched it in August at Glasson Marina on the Lancaster Canal just before what would have been their 21st wedding anniversary.

He explains: “ I just take things day to day, I suppose it will take time.

“I took Whimbrel out on our wedding anniversary.

Fairy lights on Rebekah Louise

“I take her out as much as I can and will be taking her out on the trailer for winter soon.

“It’s nice to remember Lynda at Christmas. This will be the second one on my own.”

This year their daughter would have been 20 years old.

Colin is now getting to work restoring a second boat, Rebekah Louise, in her memory.

The vessel will be moored alongside her Mum’s boat at the Aquavista marina in Glasson Dock, near Lancaster.

He explains: “As you can imagine losing our daughter was devastating for us both, it was worse for Lynda.

Whimbrel, restored in memory of Lynda Ogden

“So I have decided to renovate Rebekah Louise in her memory. Both boats will stay together.”