When a faulty sewage valve on narrowboat Dick’s Folly broke in March last year, the boat’s owners said they felt “utter despair” at the cost of paying for the refurbishment.

Dick’s Folly, owned by charitable group South West Herts Narrowboat Project (SWHNP), had been used to offer day and evening trips to a variety of organisations including Mencap.

But the broken valve had caused the boat’s plumbing to overflow and the inside to disintegrate, forcing the Hunton Bridge-based group to strip the pine interior.

As a result, the boat could not be used and instead members of the voluntary organisation were left with a hefty £50,000 bill for a refit.

Rallying together to organise fundraising events, the SWHNP managed to raise £5,000, but were left wondering how quickly they could find the remaining cash needed to get the boat back on the water.

But their prayers have been answered thanks to a generous bequest from a former Oxhey resident.

Graham Picket, 69, of Lower Paddock Road, passed away in February 2009.

According to Morrisons Solicitors LLP, in his will he stipulated that he wanted to leave £200,000 to a narrowboat organisation that would help young people and community groups enjoy the “flotsam and jetsam”.

Mr Picket’s friend, Ron Baldwin, explained: “Graham had no family to leave the money to and in his later years was very keen on becoming involved in a community narrowboat scheme.

“He often talked about narrowboats, but unfortunately he never got to realise his dream.

“In his will he asked that we find an organisation that would benefit from the money – but it had to be related to narrowboats.

“It was a bit of an unusual request – I don’t think he’d even been on a narrowboat, although he worked as a hairdresser on cruise ships in his younger years.

“Along with friend Christine Rowe, we founded the South West Herts Narrowboat Project on the internet and thought this is exactly what Graham would have wanted.

“It wonderful to think that his legacy will live on and that we have been able to fulfil his wishes.”

This morning group members unveiled a refitted Dick’s Folly – complete with larger windows, brighter interior, insulation, wiring, heating and an overhaul of the engineering system.

But the best of piece of news, according to member John Blake, is not just the fact that Dick’s Folly is back on the water, but that the group now has enough money to build another new boat from scratch.

He said: “When Ron and Christine contacted us we were flabbergasted.

“In terms of fundraising the recession had hit us hard and we wondered if we would ever get the boat back on the water.

“But this donation goes above and beyond. Not only will we have Dick’s Folly (named after group founder Dick Gettings) but we’ll have new boat ‘Pickles’ – a nickname in memory of Graham Picket.”

•To find out about trips offered by the South West Herts Narrowboat Project or to become a volunteer visit: http://www.swhertsnarrowboat.org.uk/