A MAN who was left homeless after his narrowboat was swamped has thanked people who have helped raise more than £8,000 to re-float it.

George Ward, 58, has been forced to sleep in a tent on the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath after a group of drunk men speeding in two hire boats on a stag weekend swamped his home.

His 90-year-old narrowboat, Celtic, was left sunk on the canal bottom following the incident on September 21.

A Crowdfunding campaign launched by members of the K&A canal boating community has since raised enough money to enable Mr Ward to re-float his boat and make repairs.

Mr Ward said: “I would like to thank everyone who donated for their help. It was a totally unexpected surprise.

“It never entered my head that people could be so generous while I was dealing with the stress of what was going on.

“Even Laura Darling, who set up the Crowdfunding appeal, thought she would only raise a few hundred pounds. We never expected to raise £8,000.

“It will enable me to fully restore the boat and we have bought enough timber to fully repair the gunnels.

“People keep asking me if I am getting enough help and yes I am. People rallied around and got me some clothes, blankets, a bed and the generator after the accident.”

Mr Ward and his friends have bought some larch timber from the sawmill at Wick with which he intends to repair the boat.

“At the moment we are using pumps to keep the boat dry and installing solar panels to provide electric power.

“We’ll be using the timber to repair the gunnels. We’ve got take the twist out with chains and ratchets to make both sides straight and true.

“Once we have got the sides back, we can look at the two major leaks in the bottom of the boat but that could take a month or so.”

Fellow canal boaters helped to raise George Ward’s narrowboat after it sank overnight on the canal between Bradford on Avon and Avoncliff.

Mr Ward added: “We are taking each day as it comes. We have been fortunate that we haven’t had excessive amounts of rain.”

Police are now investigating the behaviour of a large group of drunk men who hired two narrowboats for a weekend trip from Hilperton Marina to Bath.

The hire boat company, ABC Boat Hire of

Alvechurch in Worcestershire, terminated their contract before they reached Bath.

The company and police had received complaints from the canal boating community and passers-by about their anti-social behaviour.