The boating community in West London have raised more than £2,000 in under two weeks.
A mechanic whose uninsured boat was destroyed by fire has been buoyed by generous donations from his local narrow boat community in Brentford, West London.
Stewart Collier, 40, returned from a trip to the food shop on 28 February to find that his canal boat, Dreamland, had been ravaged by a fire.
Clothes, personal mementos and Collier’s tools were all lost in the blaze aboard a boat that had been in Collier’s life for nearly 30 years. The boater said his total belongings were reduced to a pint of milk, a can of dog food and the clothes on his back.
Boaters in the area responded quickly, however, providing food, clothing and a new set of tools while starting an online campaign that’s already raised £2,000 for Collier.
Collier told the getwestlondon online newspaper, “I’m really overwhlemed by everyone’s generosity. I was so low when it happened and I’m actually quite choked up by what they’ve done for me.”
Collier — whose mechanic skills have led him to fix many of his neighbours boats over the years — is reportedly well-known in the area.
“One guy I met three years ago on the River Lea when I pumped his boat called up and asked for my bank account details. I thought he might give me about £20 but he transferred £300 to pay for a new bike which I need to get to jobs.”
Collier has lived on the water for about 15 years and said the fire was his own fault. He said he left a bucket of hot ashes on board while he made a quick trip to the food shop.
He nearly left his eight-year-old Staffordshire terrier, Izzy, on the boat, but decided at the last minute to bring her along.
Collier was at the end of a restoration effort on the canal boat when the fire occurred. He is searching for a replacement boat, but also hopes to someday salvage the remains of Dreamland in order to restore it again and rename it Phoenix.
Donations can be made here.