Slinky is top dog at our 2023 Illuminations

Boat builders Richard Wood, Christine Dence and Pete Hartshorn have won the boat vote at this year’s Matlock Bath Illuminations with their stunning Slinky Dog model.

The Matlock trio, who call themselves the Motley Bunch, created the pick of this year’s spectacular parade of 11 boats on the River Derwent.

Event organisers Derbyshire Dales District Council have already declared every Illuminations October Saturday a sell-out, though tickets are currently available online for other Saturdays and Sunday nights through to 29 October.

District Council Civic Chair Councillor David Burton and wife Ruth presented prizes to the boat builders at Saturday's Illuminations after visitors to the event’s first weekend voted for their favourite craft.

‘Slinky Dog’ – Toy Story’s un-sprung hero, will now have the honour of leading out the famous parade for the remainder of the 2023 Illuminations season.

The Motley Bunch (pictured below) were presented with the Arkwright and Centenary Cups, plus £500.

motley bunch 1st place

Last year’s winner Ian Page, another stalwart of the Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders' Association, was placed second this year with his boat, ‘Doctor Who – 60 years in time and space’. He wins the Plumtree Cup and £450.

In third place with ‘Kingfisher of the Derwent’ were new contestants from Matlock, Paul and Brandon Lill, winning the Sheffield Wire Rope Cup and a £430 cash prize.

The Dave Sanderson Trophy and £400 for fourth place went to 11-year-old Taylor Hambleton-Harrison and Michael Hall from Ashbourne with their model ‘Interceptor – the BMW police car’.

The Compere’s Award, presented by Geoff Stevens MBE, compering the event for a 55th year, went to new contestants from Middleton-by-Wirksworth Flori Araya, aged 15, and Wade Crick, with their boat ‘The Old Lady in the Shoe’.

It's a friendly competition, with all non-prize winners receiving £350.

Every boat features as many as 1,000 LED bulbs - and completing this year's spectacular parade are 'Nostalgic Shell Delivery' by David Gregory of Matlock, who is competing for a 52nd year, Paul Henshall with ‘Peppa Pig on Grandpa Pig’s Train’, competing for a 48th year, ‘JJ’s Adventures’ by Rory Harrison of Ashbourne, ‘Sentinel’ by David Harrison of Ashbourne and ‘Sam’s Off Road Rescue’ by Matthew Hall of Ashbourne.

The traditional candle boat, which goes out before the main parade and is constructed by all the boat builders to show how the models used to look a century ago, is ‘Field of Dreams’ a tribute to the Lionesses for their terrific World Cup campaign. It is lit with more than 70 night lights and rowed by Mary Chigodora.

2023 decorated boats parade video

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