Actor and boat enthusiast David Suchet recently officially opened the rebuilt headquarters of River Canal Rescue in Stafford. David was one of the first members to join RCR when it launched in 2001 and was keen to support managing director Stephanie Horton and chief executive officer Trevor Forman at this major event on 8 June.
For the past 18 months, the breakdown and emergency assistance firm has been based in temporary premises after its building was gutted in a neighbouring firework factory fire in October 2014. Staff moved back into the new HQ – which houses office support staff, engineers serving the midlands area, training and stock rooms in April.
Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, David recalled how during a sailing trip from London to Stratford upon Avon in 1974 he broke down four times, saying; How I could have used RCR then! Over the years he has used the firm for help with preventative breakdown measures and applauded RCR for the work it does in aiding boaters in a crisis.
He added: I am truly delighted for RCR, today is a special day, it is like a phoenix rising from the flames and I wish them the best of luck going forward.
In her speech to guests which included the Mayor and Mayoress of Stafford, Geoff and Cathy Collier, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Patrick Farrington, local councillors, MP and Stafford Riverway Link representatives, contractors from around the country, engine suppliers, insurers, early members and staff, Stephanie referred to the fire as one of the most devastating days in our history and went onto thank all the businesses, suppliers, customers and staff who supported RCR during this difficult time.
RCR has 31 staff (13 office-based and 18 engineers), looking after around one in five waterway users. It handles approximately 500 calls a day, these include; membership enquiries, requests for contractor (plumbing, electrical etc) support, course bookings and breakdown/rescue support. HQ is by bridge 101 on the Staffordshire & Worcester canal.