THREE lucky families are to share a boat trip into Britain's longest canal tunnel with author Joanne Harris.

They will travel in a glass-roofed boat when the Standedge visitor centre on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal opens for its new season.

British Waterways is opening the Marsden centre for six days a week instead of five after visitor numbers doubled last year.

Kevin Fisher, leisure business manager for British Waterways, said: "We are absolutely delighted that Joanne Harris has agreed to come and visit Standedge to help us promote this important site.

"It has so much to offer in terms of heritage and gives our visitors a really diverse experience."

Huddersfield-based Joanne, author of the best-selling Chocolat, will cut a ribbon to open the centre's new community room.

It is being named the Thomas Bourne Room in honour of the tunnel's most famous workers.

The three families who will share the boat trip with Joanne Harris on April 1 will be the winner's of a children's poetry competition.

Youngsters between seven and 15 are being invited to write a poem about Thomas Bourne.

Entries should be posted by March 16 to Simon Henry, Marketing and Communications Assistant, British /waterways, Fearns Wharf, Neptune Street, Leeds LS9 8PB.

Or they can be emailed to