KEN Baker spent three years and at least £50,000 getting the Norah G canal boat afloat to use as a bed and breakfast.

But, last week, he admitted his hopes to extend his business interests into accomodation had sunk along with the boat in the Thames at Abbey Meadows in Abingdon.

two weeks ago, Mr Baker, 55, was told by the lock-keeper at Abingdon that the Nora G was beginning to sink in the swollen river.

Mr Baker, who runs property business P and N Baker with his son Richard, 34, said: “I got there in about a minute and the stern was just about visible, but as soon as I put my weight on it it went down a bit more and then it went down to the top of the deck.”

The Abingdon businessman used his dinghy to salvage tables and parts of the boat, but believes that the four-berth barge, worth about £100,000, is a write-off.

He said: “It has broken my heart, it going down.

“I think the insurance company will write her off and to be honest I am too old to take on that sort of job again to completely re-fit it and I wouldn’t want anyone else to do it either. A boat is more than part of your family.”

Mr Baker started his floating bed and breakfast as an offshoot of his property business in July after spending three years installing a new bottom to the boat, re-wiring the vessel and re-upholstering the furniture. He estimates the work has cost him between £50,000 and £80,000.

Last Thursday, the level of the river had gone down enough to allow water to be pumped out of the boat and for it to be hoisted out of the Thames to be taken to Eynsham by the insurance company for inspection.

The company P and N Baker was started in the 1940s by Mr Baker’s parents Phil and Nora.