BASINGSTOKE Canal Society has an ambitious project to replace its Woking-based cruise boat Kitty, which is reaching the end of its useful life.

The society has launched a crowdfunding campaign that will help secure an eco-friendlier future for the waterway as well as replacing the boat.

Diesel-powered Kitty will be replaced by a new all-electric cruise vessel. The plans also include the installation of canal-side charging points in Woking, marking the first step towards making the canal fully electric for all users.

Kitty, which was named after the last horse to tow barges along the canal, has introduced thousands of visitors each year to the beauty of the waterway.

In addition to regular trips for the public, Kitty, has taken schoolchildren, care home residents, and people with disabilities on outings. It has also had a long association with the Friends of Chernobyl's Children charity, taking young visitors from Belarus on trips.

Kitty has also proved to be a commercial asset to local businesses, which have used the boat to entertain clients from around the globe.

Basingstoke Canal Society volunteer Gren Gale is leading the crowdfunding initiative. “Being green doesn't mean that the new boat will be a compromise,” he said.

“It will be longer and wider and wheelchair accessible, with first-class kitchen and toilet facilities. With a modern, compact and efficient power unit, space on board is maximised for passenger comfort and convenience, and with no diesel engine there are no fumes and no noise.”

The new boat together and the charging network will cost around £200,000. The society is committing £70,000 of its own money to the fund and is seeking donations from canal users and supporters to find the rest of the money.

Everyone who gives money will be invited to celebrate the launch and naming of the new boat. To donate, visit

Proceeds from the sale of the society’s 2022 photographic calendar will also go to the project. Featuring images from a photographic competition, it can be purchased for £8, including postage and packaging, from the shop section of