Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Leading the way at Matlock Illuminations

Published 21st August 2017 at 1:10pm

 Volunteers are being invited to stick their oar in at this year’s Matlock Bath Illuminations – by rowing the leading craft in the event’s showpiece parade of decorated boats.

For the past 20 years, Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders’ Association a ‘candle boat’ to head the unique parade to show how the models used to look a century ago.

These days the boats are lit by more than 1,000 electric bulbs, but the candle boat has just 120 night lights.

The theme of the candle boat – inspired again this year by students at Matlock’s Highfields School – will be a closely guarded secret until opening night of the 120th Illuminations on Saturday 9 September.

For many years Illuminations enthusiast George Holloway rowed the candle boat, but, now aged 88, he has retired. It means the boat builders are looking for willing volunteers to do the job in front of thousands of spectators up and down a stretch of the River Derwent alongside Derwent Gardens every Saturday and Sunday until the final night of the 2017 season on 28 October.

The Boat Builders’ Association’s David Harrison said: “We’re happy to take on board a number of volunteers and the only qualifications are that they are fit and able to row in a straight line! There is something incredibly special about the atmosphere created by the crowd during the boats parade and we are delighted to give people the opportunity to share that experience.”

Anyone interested can email David at

Discounted online tickets are now on sale at for the event, which is organised by Derbyshire Dales District Council. This year adults pay £5.50 on Saturdays and £4.50 on Sundays if they buy online in advance – that’s 50p cheaper than last year. Accompanied under 16s continue to be free, with concessions available for students and OAPs.

People who buy on the night will pay £7.50 on Saturdays and £6.50 on Sundays – £2 more expensive than the online prices.

Photo  captions: Last year’s candle boat (centre of the parade) – a tribute to David Bowie.


For more information, please contact: Jim Fearn on 01629 761195 / 0780 4019123, email: or Cara Marchant on 01629 761128, email


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