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The ABNB team

Team ABNB

Putting a face to the name!

From left to right: Back - John, George, Viv, Paul, Noreen
Middle - Philip, Micaela, Justin, Nigel, Andy • Front - Jackie, Jayne, Sheila, Michele

ABNB Ownership

Since 2013 ABNB has been in the ownership of Paul & Sheila Smith, whose intention is to continue running the company in much the same way as it has always been. Our constant aim is to provide the standard of service of yesteryear, which is so often missing in today's self-centered hectic lifestyle and our commitment to providing a friendly, professional service is second to none.

With the company now involving more people than ever before - the team, all with boating experience, encompasses all aspects of the cut and it is difficult to envisage an area of the canal world in which we wouldn't be able to offer you constructive advice and support - be it realising your dream or hanging up your windlasses.

In the OFFICE

Jayne Frances works in the office. She was introduced to the world of canals and narrowboats after her partner treated her to a week on the Grand Union Canal for her birthday. She loved it and has caught the boating bug. She has enjoyed many more boating holidays since then including the Cheshire Ring and Oxford Canal. She is now a valued member of the team and her knowledge, of boats and the waterways, continues to grow. It is her and her partners dream to own their own boat one day as and when they have to time to explore all the wonders of the Inland Waterways. In October 2014 Jayne gained her RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman's Qualification through Willow Wren Training.

Michele Digby works in the office. She joined us from Canal Boat Sales; the former brokerage within Crick Marina. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience gained over recent years in the business of selling boats. Michele first became interested in boats when her partner achieved his goal of owning a narrowboat and mooring it in Crick Marina. She has previously been employed in retail selling and decided to further her career by becoming involved in the brokerage business. In October 2014 Michele gained her RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman's Qualification through Willow Wren Training.

Jackie Errington works in the office. She brought her first boat (from ABNB) in December 2002 and has been living on a narrowboat ever since. She brought her third boat in May 2012 (also from ABNB) and has single handed this for the past couple of years. She has recently moved to the canals having spent the past 11 years living and cruising on the River Great Ouse, so she therefore has extensive knowledge of this river. Jackie has also cruised the River Cam, River Little Wissey, River Little Ouse, River Lark, the Middle Levels and the River Nene. She also hired a narrowboat for a holiday so she could cruise the Llangollen Canal. In October 2014 Jackie gained her RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman's Qualification through Willow Wren Training.

Viv Manning works in the office. She joined us from Canal Boat Sales and like many others caught the 'Boating Bug' following a holiday on a hire boat some years back. Shared boat ownership followed until early retirement (from the NHS) provided the opportunity to buy her own boat (from ABNB).

John Kelly works in the office. Previously he worked with Michele at Canal Boat Sales in Crick Marina. John spent his main career working in Investment Banking in the City of London as a Trader and after meeting Marion took a holiday on a narrowboat in 2002 on the Llangollen. He was so smitten with the bug they purchased their own 35ft boat called Little Nell. Together they have cruised quite a lot of the system on extended holidays. John continues to learn more about boats and enjoys passing on information to customers with friendly advice.

Micky & Philip Stafford work in the office and deliver boats. Philip attended one of the first campaigning rallies at Marple in 1966, travelling there by dinghy! Many more rallies followed and it was while boating he met his wife. Micky was born into a boating family and spent her childhood on the Norfolk Broads, moving to the canals in the early seventies after spending time helping her father build a canal cruiser. Since their involvement from the early days of ABNB, together they have moved over 100 boats, and enjoy passing on their vast knowledge of the waterways, boats and boating.

Andy Wenham works in the office. He acquired a passion for the waterways of this country after a friend asked him to help with moving the 72ft Mikron Theatre Company historic boat Tysley around between shows back in the 1970s. Since then Andy and his wife have cruised much of the canal system on narrowboats of all descriptions, including long term cruises aboard their own 52ft trad which they acquired after Andy retired early from his supplier management role at Barclays Bank. Andy has a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for boating which he is delighted to share with ABNB customers. While a volunteer skipper for a community boating project, Andy qualified as a National Community Boating Association skipper and instructor.

In the FIELD

Nigel Moore inspects boats for ABNB wherever they are in the country. Nigel has had an interest in canals from a very early age (with his first boat trip at the age of 3), and owned a narrowboat for over 30 years. He worked for 7 years in the hire boat industry, covering turnarounds, repairs and call-outs, before he set-up on his own business fitting-out narrowboats, completing 15 to date. Noreen, Nigel's wife, accompanies Nigel in the field - as she has for over 20 years on their narrowboat, covering almost the entire system.

Paul Smith undertakes brokerage inspections for ABNB. He was born into a boating family, who owned a 16ft cabin cruiser that was soon changed for a 70ft ex-Fellows, Morton & Clayton Josher narrowboat. Restored and converted by his father, Paul then spent his childhood extensively cruising the inland waterways. Even whilst studying away for his Engineering Masters degree, he found time to research the local canals and introduce fellow students to boating. The family continued to cruise the same boat for over 40 years, with other waterways explored on foot or in shorter boats. Paul entered the marine industry on a professional basis in 1996 and he represents the industry to the Boat Safety Scheme, British Marine Federation and British Standards Institute.

George Wain inspects boats for ABNB. Coming from a family with a longstanding & passionate involvement with canals and boats, George is the youngest member of the ABNB team. He grew up living aboard the converted working boat Planet, and later a Dutch barge on the Grand Union canal, which nurtured a strong interest in the heritage of the canal system. For many years he has worked for Brinklow Boat Services carrying out boat repairs and maintenance work, learning under expert guidance of boat builders Steve Priest, Simon Wain & father Rex Wain.

Justin Green inspects boats for ABNB. In his early working life his father worked on canal boats and seeing the old pictures sparked an interest from a young age. Having refitted his first boat to live on he progressed through a number of boats before moving ashore. He is currently fitting out a converted 1930s small Woolwich although this is proving to be very time consuming. For over 20 years he has been active as a marine engineer as well as surveying and examining narrowboats for the past 6 years. He sits on various committees in a technical capacity, including the Boat Safety Scheme, British Marine Inland Boatbuilding and British Standards Institute.

Behind the SCENES

Sheila Smith's parents introduced her to boating through hiring, which developed into them fitting out their own boat to liveaboard. This inspired Sheila to fitout her own boat that she then lived on for 9 years. She entered the boating industry professionally in 1990 as a Signwriter, and her artistic skills are also demonstrated in the boat drawings, brochures and website that she produces for ABNB. She also works in the office.

ABNB Ltd, Crick Wharf, West Haddon Road, Crick, Northampton, NN6 7XT

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