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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

K&A Canal boater's death was accidental says Coroner

The body of Stuart Williams, 51, was found at the Caen Hill moorings on the Devizes Flight of the Kennet & Avon Canal last December by a neighbouring boater who was alerted by Mr Williams dog pining on the moorings.
The British Waterways moorings at the top of Caen Hill on the K&A Canal: Picture by Bob Naylor
An inquest at Trowbridge yesterday heard that a post-mortom revealed Mr Williams blood/alcohom level to be three times the legal alcohol limit for driving.

The Wiltshire Assistant Coroner, Ian Singleton, said that this and the icy conditions on the pontoon contributed to his falling into the canal and drowning and he returned a verdict of accidental death.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

K&A Canal Avon Vale volunteers' Christmas single

The Avon Vale Group of British  Waterways volunteers on the Kennet & Avon Canal restored a sunken BW workboat which they are now using to clear off-side growth that is narrowing the navigation. The team have taken time out to make a Christmas single... watch them in action.

The AVON VALE ALLSTARS perform Rocking around the Christmas Tree
Words & Music by Johnny Marks — Pictures by Bob Naylor

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Date for resumption of K&A Canal as a through-route uncertain

There is no forecast of when the historic Victoria Bridge across the River Avon in Bath might be made safe. Until this work is done no boats can pass under it again — and now British Waterways has announced that no decision on when the central 11.5 mile stretch between Crofton Lock 60 and Copse Lock (80) will be re-opened will be made until some time in January.

Some movement might be possible within this central section of the canal in between planned stoppages for maintenance —  but... if you need to move a boat in this area of the canal it might be wise to phone BW on: 01380 722859 or you can try to decipher this stoppage notice from Waterscape.

Thursday 17 November 2011 until further notice
UPDATE (20 December 2011): Stoppage Update, East of Crofton
(Crofton Locks, Beech Grove Lock, Hungerford Marsh Lock, Water Shortage) 
Stoppage Works on the Crofton flight will be completed by 23 December 2011.  However, due to an on-going water shortage the canal will remain closed until 4th January 2012 while empty pounds are filled. 
The Crofton flight will be fully opened on 4th January 2012.  Passage will not be possible prior to this date. 
In order to provide an opportunity for boats to travel east from the summit, stoppage works at Beech Grove (Lock 63) have been deferred by a week to start on 9 January 2012.  Beech Grove lock will be closed for one week. 
Note that stoppage work at Hungerford Marsh Lock will commence, as planned, on 9th January 2012. 
The on-going water related closure of the canal from Crofton to Copse Lock will be reviewed in January with a view to re-opening the canal in the sections between planned stoppages.
Thank you for your continued support of the Kennet and Avon Waterways.
Stoppage history:
The canal has been closed to navigation between Crofton Lock 61 and Copse Lock 80 due to lack of adequate water supplies to support boat movement. 
All of the locks within the closed section will be padlocked to prevent use.  We are allowing levels in individual canal pounds to recover slowly. Several sections are very low and will take some time to come back to normal level. This is a long term problem brought about by ground water level being extremely low, in fact it is at the lowest level for 90 years. 
The reservoir level is also very low and currently has little or no feed to recharge the system. The current stoppage is necessary to recover levels and help protect aquatic life in the canal. 
British Waterways is currently looking to support the closed section with additional water supply from other sources.
The current closure is being reviewed weekly, and with little or no significant rain forecast the current closure may remain in force for some weeks.
Craft that are trapped within the closed section are requested to remain where they are, but to adjust mooring ropes to accommodate changes in water levels.
Any request for craft movement will be dealt with on an individual basis and will be subject to available water supplies, canal water levels and individual circumstances.
British Waterways apologise for any inconvenience caused.
17 November 2011
Enquiries: Tel: 01380 722859 - 0900 Mon-1630 Fri, 1630 Fri to 0900 Mon 0800 4799947 (Option 2)
More stoppages on this waterway: http://www.waterscape.com/canals-and-rivers/kennet-and-avon-canal/boating/stoppages
You can find all stoppages at the url below:
Please do not reply to the email. It has been automatically generated.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Government insists that Canal & River Trust will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act

Waterways Minister
Richard Benyon
The new waterway charity will have to comply with the Freedom of Information Act for the statutory functions it inherits from British Waterways said Waterways Minister Richard Benyon today when he gave the Government's response to the supplementary consultation on the transfer of British Waterways in England and Wales to the Canal & River Trust. 
John Bridgemen of BW and
Canal & River Trust
This decision by Government comes after BW Vice Chairman and Canal and River Trust transition trustee, John Bridgeman, said recently: "The new charity will not be 'precious' about information. "We will disclose as much as we possibly and reasonably can, but that does not mean we should be bound by the Freedom of Information Act... it is a heavy cumbersome tool intended for the public sector — and we are coming out of the public sector. This new charity has a hell of a challenge anyway keeping the waterways open — we don't think it is fair to bind us to the cumbersome bureaucracy of the FOI Act."
Bridgeman complained that last year BW had two requests from people who wanted to know about directors' expense accounts going back over 7 years: "It is costing an absolute fortune, but the law tells us we have to do it. But I am sorry — no other charity is exposed to that and I don't see why we should be," he said.
Tony Hales
Canal & River Trust  Chairman

Tony Hales, Chairman of the Canal & River Trust said: “The Trustees support the Government’s conclusions including those relating to the Freedom of Information Act.
"We are committed to ensuring that the new Trust operates to the highest standards for openness and transparency in its new status. The Minister’s statement is another important step towards the establishment of the Canal & River Trust next year.”

More on this subjuct:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

K&A Canal Caen Hill Flight closed for a day for repairs

The Caen Hill Flight in Devizes — from Youth Division Lock(29) to Sir Hugh Stockwell Lock(44) will be closed to boat traffic on Wednesday 14 December 2011 for essential maintenance work. 

Enquiries: 01380 722859

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boats to be allowed to leave shut down section of the K&A Canal this week

Boats trapped on the shut-down central section of the Kennet & Avon Canal are to be allowed to leave and travel eastwards this week.
Kintbury Lock (78): Picture taken last week by Bob Naylor©
The 11.5 mile section of the Kennet & Avon Canal between Crofton Locks (60) and Copse Lock (80) was closed by British Waterways because they say there is insufficient water to keep it open. This has left some boats stranded and BW  will be letting boats through from Kintbury Lock (78) to travel eastwards this week. 

If you need to get out of the closed down section of the canal you will need to be topside of Kintbury Lock (78) at 8am on Thursday 15 December 2011.

For further information phone 01380 722859

Friday, December 09, 2011

Winter works open day at Crofton on the K&A Canal

Crofton Pumping Station: Picture by Bob Naylor©
British Waterways winter works project at Crofton (Lock 60) on the Kennet & Avon Canal is open to the public tomorrow and members of the works team will guide visitors around the lock and explain the work they are doing.
During the day gates will be craned out of the lock and the new replacement lock gates will be on-site for people to see. 

The site will be open from 11am to 3.30pm and their will be walks on the hour from 11am until 3pm. The walks will last about 45 minutes.

Visitors can park in the Crofton Pumping Station car park. The Crofton Pumping Station and café and shop will be open. The site is a five minute walk down some steps with some uneven ground.

The site will be open from 11 am – 3.30 pm and guided tours of the site are at 11 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm.

This open day was originally planned for 17 December 2011.

Red Kites over Wilton Water: Picture by Bob Naylor©

An added bonus of a visit to Crofton is to see the Red Kites that have made their home in the area.

Met Police compensate journalist arrested for taking photographs in public place

Picture by Jules Mattson©
Taking photographs is a public hazard, anti-social behaviour, silly, gay, stupid and dangerous says Metropolitan Police Inspector
Juleses Mattson was taking photographs of an Armed Forces Day parade when he was arrested by an Inspector who told him that he was a public hazard and who said that photographing in public was “anti-social behaviour.” The Inspector also described the act of taking photographs as “silly” and “gay” and “stupid.” And when Mattsson continued to state the lawfulness of his behaviour, the Inspector declared it was “dangerous” as he was “likely to be trampled on by soldiers” from the parade.
Mattson, who is a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), was represented by Chez Cotton, head of the Police Misconduct Department at Bindmans LLP, has received an out of court settlement and an apology from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
On 26 June 2010 Mattsson, at the time a fifteen year old student was photographing the Armed Forces Day parade in Romford. Despite the public event taking place in the middle of the town centre, Metropolitan Police Officers claimed it was unlawful to photograph the parade. The officers, led by an Inspector, insisted he stopped taking photographs.
His solicitor, Chez Cotton, said: “The police had no legal power to stop him photographing in a public place. The Inspector attempted to justify his actions in shocking and absurd ways.”
Mattsson managed to record most of the conversation on his mobile phone but the dialogue was brought to an abrupt conclusion when the Inspector declared: “You know what, I consider you a threat under the Terrorism Act young man. I’ve had enough,”  and Mattson was manhandled down some stairs by a group of police officers. Mattson tried unsuccessfully to film the treatment he was being subjected to but an officer said that for him to be filmed was “breaching his privacy.” Mattsson was then arrested for breach of the peace and detained for 15 minutes before being released.
Chez Cotton prepared a transcript of the exchange and used this as evidence to support representations to the Met Police Commissioner that his officers had falsely imprisoned Mattsson, assaulted him and breached his right to report, under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1998.
The Directorate of Legal Services of the Metropolitan Police, on behalf of the Commissioner, agreed an out of court settlement. As well as paying compensation and meeting his legal costs, the Commissioner has also apologised to Mattsson for the treatment he received and has confirmed the force’s recognition that journalists have a right to report freely.
Chez Cotton added: “The treatment of the police towards our client, a fifteen year old, was shocking. The Inspector’s comments were designed to belittle. Our client politely and reasonably maintained that the police were not entitled to interfere with his right to report. In response the Inspector used serious anti-terrorism legislation, cynically telling Mr Mattson “I consider you a threat under the Terrorism Act young man. I’ve had enough.”
“The police have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what journalist record. It is unacceptable that the police interfered with Mr Mattsson’s right to report in any event, but for officers to attempt to intimidate a young reporter in this way is deplorable. It is right that the Commissioner has promptly apologised and paid a suitable level of damages.”
Roy Mincoff, the NUJ Legal Officer, said: “This was very poor and unlawful behaviour by a senior police officer, trying to intimidate a young NUJ photographer. It is not acceptable conduct, has no place in the police force and is hardly likely to gain respect for the police amongst the youth of the UK. The police have now recognised this, apologised and compensated our member. The NUJ will continue to hold the police to account to ensure that the vital rights of journalists, enshrined in law, are upheld, to enable reporting and photographing to continue, as part of the democratic framework of our society.”
The apology from the Metropolitan Police Service states:
“While reporting on the parade you were approached by Metropolitan Police Officers who prevented you from photographing the parade and subsequently arrested you for breach of the peace. The purpose of this letter is to apologise on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for the distress you have suffered as a result of police actions. The MPS confirms its recognition that freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy and that photographers have a right to report freely. The MPS recognise that on 26 June 2010 they failed to respect press freedom in respect of yourself.”
You can see some of Jules Mattson's work at: www.julesmattsson.co.uk

Audio of Mattson's arrest: ©Jules Mattson

Saturday, December 03, 2011

National boating group support Boaters' Manifesto

The National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) have thrown their weight behind the Boaters' Manifesto which has been presented to the Transition Trustees of the Canal & River Trust that will replace British Waterways on April 1st next year.
Simon Robbins, Vice Chair of NABO said: "We are pleased to see that an independent group of boaters shares broadly the same concerns as we identified in our formal submission to DEFRA during the Summer, about ensuring that navigation remains a central element in the proposed Canal and River Trust.
“Boaters represent one of the core funders of the navigable waterways and this will continue for the foreseeable future. Apart from the direct fees paid to BW we contribute substantially to BW’s commercial income through the services we buy from waterside businesses.
“The Transition Trustees are clearly anxious to identify new funding streams for the new Charity and this is an aspiration that boaters and representative groups have consistently lobbied for over many years.
“However, many boaters feel that our interests as a major existing stakeholder may be sidelined. We hope that the Transition Trustees will not overlook the fact that on a conservative estimate over 20% of BW’s annual income comes from boaters’ pockets. Boaters represent a committed group of long term shareholders in the waterways and many feel that we need to be embraced rather than, as it sometimes feels under British Waterways, simply being taken for granted.
Robbins said that he is encouraged by the news that there is to be a meeting with some of the Transition Trustees to discuss the manifesto and concluded: "We are conscious that NABO are regarded by some as being among the ‘usual suspects’ in these matters and think it is important that other boaters express their concerns too.”

Boaters' Manifesto — key points
Waterways are about boats and boaters and the Canal and River Trust needs to listen to boaters more closely and have more representatives on the board.
  • Before the Canal and River Trust accepts the legal burden of running the waterways it must ensure proper funding to keep all waterways open, navigable and properly maintained, otherwise it should refuse to do so.
  • Boaters have lost faith in the most senior management of British Waterways and believe that the government should accept the cost of making them redundant to give the Canal and River Trust a fresh start.
  • The Canal and River Trust must develop a system of working that values full time paid staff and their skills above the expediency of using cheap contractors in order to maintain the skilled workforce the waterways require.
  • The Canal and River Trust must enforce a simplified set of mooring rules across the entire waterways system without fear or favour.
  • The Trust must make it a priority to ensure non-boating users of the system make a financial contribution to its upkeep and that their use of the system does not impinge on its primary purpose of navigation.
  • The Canal and River Trust must ensure it is open to Freedom of Information Act requests and operate in a totally transparent fashion if it is to earn and retain confidence.
  • Those for whom the waterways are a home have a special interest in and value to the Canal and River Trust and should be clearly represented at board level and consulted on all navigational issues.

Read the Boaters' Manifesto in full at: http://tinyurl.com/d8nuhlx
The NABO submission to DEFRA can be seen at:  http://tinyurl.com/ctvaox6

Friday, December 02, 2011

Controversial wharfside development planning appeal refused

An appeal against planning refusal to build a block of apartments beside the Kennet & Avon Canal on Devizes Wharf has been lost.
Picture by Bob Naylor©
Developers McCarthy & Stone to applied to build a block of 39 apartments on the contaminated former gas works site that has been unused since it closed in 1955 but planning inspector David Saul deemed that the height of the proposed development would be too high and he believed it would harm the appearance and character of the wharf area.

Both the Devizes Town Council objection that 13 parking spaces for 39 apartments was too few and the Wadworth Brewery view that the noise from their adjacent barrel yard would disturb residents were rejected by the planning inspector.
McCarthy and Stone's argument that the noise issue could be dealt with by proper insulation was accepted and since the height of the building is the only grounds for refusal objectors fear that the developers will try to get permission for a revised version of the scheme.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thames Valley Police clarify Abingdon OAP body find

Thames Valley Police have issued the following statement:

"Thames Valley Police would like to clarify that the body of the woman found in Abingdon yesterday evening (29/11) was discovered in a lake beside the marina, and not in the marina itself."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Body of OAP found in Abingdon Marina

Thames Valley Police today confirm that the body of a woman found at South Quay in the marina in Abingdon shortly after 8pm yesterday (Wednesday) is that of Abingdon resident, Valerie Adams, 75. 
Police are not treating the death as suspicious at this time.

£6,000 award for Wilts & Berks Canal Trust

The Wilts & Berks Canal in Swindon will be a better place for anglers, ramblers, cyclists and boaters thanks to an award of £6,000 from NatWest Community First.
The Wilts & Berks Canal towpath near Kingshill in Swindon: Picture by Bob Naylor©
A fine carp caught at Kingshill in Swindon: Picture by Bob Naylor©
The W&B Canal Trust will use the money to buy materials and hire machines so that Trust volunteers can repair and widen the towpath of the canal between Westlease and Kingshill.
Piling will be used to stabilise the bank and the towpath surface will be repaired and improved… and the depth of the canal will be improves so that the Trust tripboat, Dragonfly, can travel further.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust trip boat on the canal in Swindon: Picture by Bob Naylor©

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chair of K&A Canal & River Trust Waterway Partnership named

Former K&A Canal Trust Administrator, Fleur de Rhe Philipe has been appointed as the chair of the Kennet & Avon Canal & River Waterway Trust Partnership. 
Fleur de Rhe Philipe: Picture by Bob Naylor©
Fleur is a former employee of the K&A Canal Trust and later a member of the board of Trustees. She has been a member of Wiltshire Council since 1997 and she is currently the cabinet member for economic development and strategic planning.

Tony Hales, chair of Canal & River Trust said: “I am delighted that such a high calibre of people have come forward to chair these important positions of governance within the Canal & River Trust. Each will prove to be well placed to champion the interests of their local waterways. The Waterways Partnerships are integral to the stewardship and development of the network, providing new perspectives and insights, opening up new resources and ideas, and giving local people a greater opportunity to support their local canals and rivers: something that is integral to the success of the Canal & River Trust.”

Other Chairs appointed
North Wales & Borders 
Jim Forrester — currently director at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester where he has delivered services to over 2,500,000 visitors over the last ten years and drawn in champions, stakeholders and potential funders, raising substantial capital and revenue funding each year.  Previously a boatbuilder on the canals, Jim has spent the last 27 years working within charities in a variety of roles; from boat conservator to director of a new branch of a national museum in the region.
South Wales & Severn  
Jack Hegarty — has been managing director of Wychavon District Council since 2004, where he leads a complex public sector organisation, builds relationships with Ministers, MPs and Councillors and deals with local communities and partner organisations at a national and local level.  He was directly involved with the Droitwich Canal restoration for 11 years.
North West 
Professor Steven Broomhead — currently professor of entrepreneurial education at Liverpool Hope University, Steven previously spent eight years as chief executive at Northwest Regional Development Agency, prior to which he was chief executive at Warrington Borough Council.  He has held the position of chair at a number of private and public organisations. 
West Midlands 
Peter Mathews CMG — is past chair of the Black Country Consortium, which works to coordinate regeneration in the Black Country area of the West Midlands, and chairman and managing director of Black Country Metals.  A prominent business leader, Peter has held the position of chair at various national and international organisations including The World Recycling Conference, UKTI Advanced Engineering and the Midlands World Trade Forum. 
Laurence Newman — Chairman, Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. Previously, Laurence spent 20 years with KPMG where he was the partner responsible for their Leisure and Tourism Consulting Group.   He is also a non-executive director of Grove End Housing Ltd, a trustee of Creativity, Culture and Education and a member of the Advisory Board of The Foundation, a growth and innovation consultancy.

A written record of all meetings will be publicly available on the web.  All positions on the Partnerships will be un-remunerated, but agreed expenses will be reimbursed. 

Those interested in joining a newly appointed chair on their local Waterway Partnership or in applying for one of the remaining positions of chair can find role descriptions and application details at: www.waterscape.com/trust from Thursday 1 December.  Applications for membership open on Friday 9 December 2011.

No forecast for clearing BW's £40 million dredging backlog

"Government require BW to operate and maintain waterways to standards that reflect use and prospects of use", said Waterway Minister, Richard Benyon in answer to a question in Parliament from David Heyes about when the backlog of dredging on British Waterways’ canals and rivers would be cleared.
The Minister went on to say: "Dredging is an operational matter for British Waterways (BW) and it applies risk-based prioritisation to its maintenance expenditure." 
"BW estimate that the cost of clearing the current backlog of dredging would be approximately £40 million and BW has not set a time scale for dealing with the dredging backlog." he said.
He concluded by saying: "Future prioritisation of expenditure on the operation and maintenance of the waterways will be a matter for the Canal and River Trust, once BW’s functions and assets in England and Wales are transferred to the charity."

Waterway charity transition trustees to meet Boaters' manifesto representatives

Canal & River Trust Transition Trustee  John Dodswell has told Peter Underwood that he, John Bridgeman and Jane Cotton will meet with representatives of the Boaters' Manifesto to discuss it on Tuesday 20 December 2011 to and he has provided brief biographies of the three.

John Bridgeman CBE
John is British Waterways’ vice chairman, chair of the Fair Trading Committee and the Wales Advisory Group and a pension trustee. He is a former director general of Fair Trading, member of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and CEO of British Alcan Aluminium plc. He is also regulatory director of the British Horseracing Authority, chairman of the Audit and Standards Committee for Warwickshire County Council, complaints commissioner for the Direct Marketing Authority and a longstanding trustee of three Oxfordshire charities. Lives near Banbury and so knows the Oxford canal, among others, and keen on the Welsh canals.

Jane Cotton
Jane has been human resources director and a deputy chief executive of Oxfam, one of the UK’s largest and most successful charities, for the past 11 years. Prior to this she worked in Departments of Transport and Environment in both policy and human resources roles. In the 1990s Jane was resources director of the Charity Commission and human resources director of Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions. She brings particular expertise in organisational development and change management; also in volunteering, fundraising and charity governance. Lives near Princes Risborough, Bucks. Obviously, knows a lot about running charities and pay strategy; she will chair the Remuneration Committee of CRT.

John Dodwell
John is a chartered accountant who moved into corporate finance and corporate law. He is a former finance director or chair of several property companies (including setting up joint ventures), a former charity trustee (including dealing with investments) and has been a member since 1961 of The Inland Waterways Association, of which he was General Secretary 1970-73. He was chair of the Commercial Boat Operators Association. He will relinquish membership of the Inland Waterways Advisory Council and of the British Waterways Advisory Forum on becoming a trustee for the new waterways charity. Having sailed dinghies, fished and canoed on the Thames and elsewhere in his youth, he went onto hire cruisers over most of the network, enjoying the waterways’ built and natural environment. He now owns an historic narrow boat; it’s an old BCN tug which draws 3 ft over its 51 ft length.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

25th anniversary of the death of K&A Canal restoration legend Sir Hugh Stockwell

It was 25 years ago today that Kennet & Avon Canal legend General Sir Hugh Stockwell died. He had been an inspirational leader in the battle to save the K&A canal — and far more successful in this than in his battle over another canal when he was  ground commander for the Allied Task Force in Suez.  

General Sir Hugh Stockwell
That experience prompted him to say to the Queen, "I've lost one canal Ma'am — and I'm buggered if I'm going to lose another one."

The General, as he was always known, had joined the Kennet & Avon Canal Association in 1962 the year it became a Trust. He became the Chairman of the Wiltshire Branch and in 1966, after the resignation of Captain Munk, he became Trust Chairman.

When the General retired from the Army in 1964 after 42 years service he came to live beside the canal at Horton where he lived until his death.

The General is remembered for his charm and clear vision and his chairmanship has been described as "firm but friendly". He was prepared to change his mind completely if convinced and he never failed to show his appreciation of every effort, however small, always taking time to congratulate the unseen and unsung volunteers.

The General’s warmth and generosity was contagious, he was never mean, devious or scheming. He was a renowned General, but a people described him as a truly great gentleman. The struggles of the Trust to overcome apathy and to set a course for the re-opening of the canal was very dear to his heart.

Sir Hugh Stockwell outside his canalside cottage at Horton
In the obituary to the General in the Trust journal, The Butty, Trust Council member, Don Collinson said, "My memories of Sir Hugh are legion. From 1967, when he took over as Chairman from the founder of the Trust, Captain Lionel Munk, it became my privilege and pleasure to continue to serve as Vice-Chairman under his leadership until 1974 when he was appointed President. 

"They were exciting formative years; he was tireless in his efforts to give the canal ‘the kiss of life’ and stimulate a holding position to one of progress and advance." 

In October 1967 the General was appointed Vice-Chairman of the new Inland Waterways Advisory Council and he commissioned the first printed costed practical ‘Restoration Scheme’ booklet for the Kennet & Avon Canal ready for the first meeting. He carried the day and the scheme, broadly, still formed the pattern of restoration when he died in 1986. 

Another triumph for the General, the result of many meetings and boat trips with Bath Corporation, British Waterways Board and Trust officers, resulted in the, then unparalleled,  grant in July 1969 of £7,500 to be matched by the Trust for the first joint restoration scheme for the Widcombe Flight, Bath. This scheme was to be the catalyst for the success story of the K&A and many other waterways. 

Don Collininson concluded: "We all respected his authority and command, and yet, everyone felt at ease in his company. He was a gentleman in every way and all his friends and the Trust owe much to him and his inspiration."

Mike Corfield added to the obituary: "We were fortunate in the Devizes and Pewsey Branch that the General lived between our two main centres, we could rely on his support at all our events. Whatever the event, from wine and cheese parties in Devizes Town Hall through canal fairs on Devizes Wharf to barbecues at Pewsey Wharf he would be there. He was a great enthusiast for voluntary work on the canal and he always asked about anything taking place.

"He had worked hard to get the scheme to restore the Crofton Flight under way and was very distressed when the 1976 moratorium on voluntary work was imposed and such work as we were able to do he took a keen interest in — even if it was just the surreptitious removal of a fallen tree from the canal.

"He gave us constant support while we built the Canal Centre, although he was not able to join in the physical work he gave us every encouragement; as the Centre came to be used he was a regular visitor, to the office where he could check on restoration progress, to the shop where he regularly bought his Christmas gifts and later to the exhibition. 

"On the Trust Council, the General could be relied on to get to the root of matters that we might have argued back and forth for some time. Impatient of anything that might delay the opening of the canal, he would castigate the Waterways Board, their workers and local councils for what he saw as either indifference or procrastination. 

"As we progressed and completion became a reality rather than a dream, he became lavish in his praise for everyone concerned, encouraging where he had previously scorned."

General Sir Hugh Stockwell, GCB, KBE, DSO & Bar (June 16, 1903 – November 27, 1986)

K&A Canal Trust Vice President 1963, Chairman of Wiltshire Branch 1964-67, Trust Chairman 1967-74, Trust President 1974-86.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Santa to visit Swindon aboard W&B Canal Trust boat

Santa will be onboard the festively decorated Wilts & Berks Canal Trust trip boat, Dragonfly, on the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th of December in Swindon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Boaters to be elected to Canal & River Trust Council

Boaters can get involved in shaping the future of Britain’s waterways say British Waterways who are calling for boaters to stand for election for the Canal & River Trust Council.

Tony Hales, chair of the Canal & River Trust, said:  “The boating community has a wealth of hands-on experience of the waterways, and having boaters on board is essential to the success of the Canal & River Trust.  I am writing to all licence holders and I encourage them to put themselves forward and add their voices to those shaping the Canal & River Trust’s future.”

The new charitable trust takes over from British Waterways in April 2012 and the nominations for boaters’ positions on the Council open on 12 December 2011.

Seven positions on the 35-strong council are to be filled by boaters or boating businesses.  Four positions are to be elected by boat licence holders and two positions elected by boating businesses.  

The British Canoe Union, which holds a collective licence for around 60,000 individual and club members, will be asked to nominate a person to fill a further position representing all those who use the waterways for waterborne sport and recreation without holding individual licences.  

A  Canal & River Trust employee will also be elected by all employees at this time to serve on the Council. 

The Council will help to shape policy, raising and debating issues, and providing guidance, perspective and a sounding board for the trustees.  It will also have the power to appoint or dismiss trustees. 

Members of the Canal & River Trust Council will be expected to bring the experience and perspective of the constituency they represent and to provide a voice for their interests.  In exercising this role they will have tact in the interests of the charitable purposes of the Trust.  

Members will serve for a term of four years.

Boaters who want to stand for election in any of these groups will need to complete a simple nomination form which will be available to download from 12 December 2011 at: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/councilnomination and must be returned by 18 January 2012.  

To be eligible to stand for election and vote in the election, boaters must hold a 12-month boat licence on 18 January 2012.  Nominations must be supported by ten sponsors who each also hold a valid 12-month boat licence on this date. 

Voting will take place between 8 February and 9 March 2012 via a designated website or by SMS text.   Voting by post will also be possible, but only for this first set of Council elections.  The election is being managed by Electoral Reform Services.