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Canalability - Canal Boat Day Trips and Holidays for People with Disabilities


Our staff team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Charity and is proud to work with such a passionate and dedicated group of people, from the trustees to the volunteers.

Doreen Goodall - General Manager
Doreen Goodall
General Manager

Doreen is the Skipper of CanalAbility and makes sure it stays on course and handles all the day to day operations of the charity.

Back in 1994  Doreen took redundancy from IBM, a company she had joined 19 years previously, eventually becoming Events Manager  in the Marketing Centre at their South Bank offices. This saw Doreen determined to find a less stressful occupation and she went on to spend the next 9 years in various roles: Including managing a Business Education Partnership, a term as self employed,  working in a hotel as Assistant to the General Manager and then a spell with a local accountants.

Much to her surprise, Doreen had not realised there was a river in Harlow, and when she saw the advert for her current position she thought it sounded a stress free and a worthwhile role.  Being the only woman applicant made her very determined to be offered the job – even though she knew next to nothing about boats!

8 years later she says she could not have made a better decision than to say “Yes” when she received the phone call to say the job was hers.  No two days are the same.  She feels that she is very privileged to work as a member of an amazing, mainly voluntary team.  Every time she leaves the mooring she knows that CanalAbility has made a difference to its users; whether that be mentally, emotionally, physically, or all three.  “Just knowing that is the greatest part of my job, and makes all the challenges we have to face as a small charity fade into insignificance” she says.

Outside of work Doreen likes to collect maritime memorabilia and enjoys going on walks in London with her husband.


Jan Rossington
Office Angel

Jan is one of our ‘Office Angels’ and is responsible for helping the organisation with admin work and other office jobs. She also shows clients around to the boats and around the organisation as a whole.

During her career pre-CanalAbility, Jan worked for the police in their control room for a number of years.  This certainly helped in honing her administrative skills which she has.  She has also been an estate agent helping students at the University of Hertfordshire find accommodation.

Jan loves the people in the organisation, both the clients and the volunteers. She also states the location is just perfect. In her free time she helsp look after a dog called Zack. She really enjoys cycling and is a bit of a movie buff, making the most of her CineWorld year pass to see any film. She also enjoys going on cruises – to date the Caribbean is her favourite destination of those she has been to, and the Norwegian Fjords come a close second.

Linda Carter
Linda Carter
Office Angel

Linda is one of our ‘Office Angels’ and responsible for helping the organisation with admin work and other office jobs. Her tasks range from answering the phone and liaising with anyone trying to get in touch with CanalAbility, as well as answering client questions, and doing the banking and filing. She also plays a key role in getting and organising volunteers to come and crew on the boats.

Prior to joining CanalAbility, Linda worked in a bank for 6 and a half years and for a stockbroker for 3 years. She also worked for a charted accountanting firm as a registrar for a number of years, in a darts company helping to print logos for dart cases, and for a boatyard company near River Thames.

One of the things Linda loves about working at CanalAbility is the satisfaction she gets from knowing what does in the office is helps the clients to enjoy themselves out on the river. She enjoys being busy, which is a good as it gets very busy in the office

When not at work Linda loves to travel having been to many places. Sweden, Australia, Austria, Thailand, Belgium, Florida, Canada; amongst many other places.  She has quite a few friends in Australia which makes it one of her frequent destinations. She also enjoys gardening and taking care of her grandchildren.

Phyllis Paris
Phyllis Parris

After leaving school Phyllis emigrated to Australia where she lived in Adelaide for 3 years working as a secretary to a quantity surveyor before returning back to the UK. She is married to Bob Parris who also volunteers as 1st mate. They have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

As the children grew up Phyllis had several jobs which included mushroom picking, school assistant and receptionist in a doctor’s surgery. She finally worked at GlaxoSmithKline which at the time was still Beecham Pharmaceuticals.

Phyllis joined CanalAbility in 2007 after being made redundant at GSK and taking early retirement after 17 years. She trained to be a crew member, also taking on the role of maintaining the stores supply as she had worked in procurement at GSK. She then progressed to working in the office covering when either of the other Administrators are on holiday or out the office for any other reason.

She has also travelled some of the waterways in the UK as she owns her own canal boat and has a fair bit of boating knowledge.

Tony Catchpole
Tony Catchpole
Turnaround Supervisor

At around the turn of the century Tony’s employer dispensed with his services and so, with a lifelong interest in boats and waterways, he was easily recruited to CanalAbility by its press gang at a waterways festival. Since then he has been crewing and skippering cruises and is pleased to help hirers to enjoy the river and learn to control the locks and boat.  Tony has also helped on maintenance work parties, including painting bottoms black and polishing mushrooms.

Currently he co-ordinates the boat turnarounds – their cleaning, servicing and checking – so that the boats are in an excellent condition for our hirers to enjoy their holidays on the rivers.  This work is mostly carried out on Fridays by a mixed group of staff and volunteers wielding everything from feather dusters to car polish together with loads of elbow grease.

What Tony loves most about working at CanalAbility, is that it provides an opportunity to give experiences to disadvantaged people that are not readily available everywhere. Plus, he says, “it is just fun working here!”

In his spare time Tony enjoys gardening, photography, cycling, going on walks. And of course going to boat festivals!

Ann Bradford
Ann Bradford
Turnaround Staff

Ann started volunteering some 16 years ago, back when CanalAbility was still called The Canal Boat Project, and was a very different organisation.

Since she started it has grown out of all recognition, both in the number of volunteers the charity has, and the number of people it is able to help.

Ann worked her way up from a crew member and her claim to fame is that she was the first woman skipper with the charity.  Although she no longer skippers, she does still go out on trips as a first mate or crew member.

She also now  helps with turnarounds on a Friday – making sure that all our boats are “spick and span” for the following week.