MORE than 15 years since it was heroically saved from the scrapheap, beloved steamship ‘The Danny’ is getting ready to fire up once again ahead of another season of summer cruises.

The Daniel Adamson, a 1903 steamship, runs not just on coal but on the love and dedication of more than 75 volunteers.

The labour of love – which sees the Danny regularly cruise along the Weaver between May and October – has gathered more and more support over the years, including from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to the tune of £3.8 million to enable restoration in 2015.

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Each year, the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society must raise £250,000 to keep the project alive, with volunteers giving anything up to 30 hours a week of their time to complete the necessary tasks.

One of these is Peter Field, who joined the technical team in 2019.

“I saw an advertisement last autumn for open days on a steam tug and thought it worth a visit,” he recalls.

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“We turned up for the tour and were shown around all the posh bits but it was the dirty bits that interested me. I had a go at getting coal in the furnace and it seemed easy – beginners luck as I later learned. From that moment on I was hooked.”

After signing up and taking an induction session, former BT engineer Peter entered the boiler room for his first cruise.

“When the big day came it was an exciting experience. The big cold rusty lump of boiler now came alive and the boiler room was warm.

“When I first saw the engines run it was a scary but impressive moment, those great big heavy lumps of metal smoothly reciprocating and rotating – amazing. They had been doing that for nearly 100 years and knew what to do.”

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A rewarding and hands-on job, volunteering with The Danny also teaches new skills and opens up a new social avenue.

Peter said: “I’ve met lots of new people, made friends and I’m starting to feel part of the team.

“Other organisations that I have volunteered for are often very ‘cliquey’, which the potential volunteer has to try and crack in order to get on and be accepted.

“I have had no such problems with The Danny. Everyone I have asked a daft question to, or asked to be shown what they do, has gladly explained and shared their knowledge and experience patiently.

“All volunteers are welcome regardless of existing skills, experience or age. It’s amazing the wide variety of skills and past experiences that everyone has.”

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The most popular Danny cruise is between the Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge and the Anderton Boat Lift, with a timetable for 2020 now available and cruises starting from £22 per person at

The 250-ton vessel spent some 80 years as an operational tug before being used for corporate hospitality.

Coal fired and steam driven, the ship survived two world wars and was in service until 1984.

Society chairman, Keith Levin, who is himself a volunteer following a career as a solicitor, said: “The Danny is a social project with high aspirations.

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“It does much more than offer a service to the public, it provides a community for the people involved which gives people confidence, friendship and is important to the people who choose to volunteer.

“Cheshire is lucky to have such a unique project, which offers a hobby for many people who may have found it difficult to find something so enriching after their careers have finished, or for people who are younger and want to learn new skills, the project offers a lot for many people.”

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