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Lock Lintel The River Stour Trust Journal

Issue No 159 Autumn 2012

History is made - John Constable in Cornard Lock Full story inside

RESTORING AND CONSERVING THE RIVER STOUR NAVIGATION


THE RIVER STOUR TRUST Registered Office: The Granary

Quay Lane

Sudbury

Suffolk

CO10 2AN

Administrative Office: Visitor/Education Centre (VEC) Dove House Meadow • Great Cornard • Sudbury • Suffolk • CO10 0GF Tel: 01787 313199 Tel/Fax: 01787 313100 email: administrator@riverstourtrust.org www.riverstourtrust.org www.facebook.com/RiverStourTrust @RiverStourTrust RESTORING AND CONSERVING THE RIVER STOUR NAVIGATION Registered Charity No: 257806 A non-profit making distributing company limited by guarantee No: 938670 Patron:

Sir Jocelyn Stevens CVO

Vice Presidents:

Mr Emrhys Barrell; Mr William Frecknall; Mr Peter Hesketh; Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury; Mr David Rayner; Mr Griff Rhys Jones; Mr David Stevenson

Council Members: Roger Brown; Gareth Cole; Brian Cornell; Mike Finch; Jim Lunn; John Morris; Andrew Richardson

MEMBERSHIP ANNUAL RATES Individual or Senior Citizen Couple

£15.00

Couple or Club

£20.00

Senior Citizen

£10.00

Corporate (up to 20 employees)

£40.00

Corporate (more than 21 employees)

£100.00

Please consider payment by Banker’s Order to remove the need for annual reminders and help us conserve funds. You can pay online using a credit/debit card - visit www.riverstourtrust.org. Please complete the Gift Aid form (if you are a tax payer) as we are able to reclaim up to 28p from every £1 that is paid at no cost or inconvenience to you. For more details: membership@riverstourtrust.org Front Cover: The newly-restored John Constable, the first River Stour Lighter to go through Cornard Lock in 100 years, on its launch day, Thursday 27th September 2012. Photo: Emrhys Barrell Back Cover: Early morning mist on the Sunday of S2C 2012. Photo: Andrew Lee Designer: Joanne Steward Production: Peter Evans Ltd • Tel: 01473 686611 Printed by: The Lavenham Press • Tel: 01787 247436


Contents 2 3 4

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE

6 11 12 13 14 17 18 19 20 22 26 28 29 30 32 34 35 36

LAUNCH OF THE JOHN CONSTABLE Nick Temple/Mike Finch

TRUST MEMBER CARRIES OLYMPIC TORCH EDITORS’ MESSAGE/WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS/ RST ACQUIRES CATTAWADE PICNIC SITE RST NOW ISSUING RIVER LICENCES VOLUNTEER PROFILE Mick and Jane Rogers PAGER POWER PARTNERSHIP WITH TRUST JIM’S JOTTINGS JOHN CONSTABLE’S FIRST TRIALS Jim Lunn WILD SWIM AT FLATFORD/FRANCIS J’S NEW CANOPY LETTERS - Thank you for our Wonderful Trips KATHLEEN’S NAMING CEREMONY LOWER RIVER GROUP REPORT Dorothy Howe S2C 2012 ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SUDBURY-TO-THE-SEA John Morris NEWS: Flatford Lock Sold! Coracles, Teddies and Pirates. Dedham Vale AONB WORK PARTY REPORTS/LENGTHSMEN ITEMS FOR SALE FROM THE TRUST SHOP SUDBURY COMMON LANDS CHARITY/CANOE CLUB/COUNCIL MEETINGS ONLY A VOLUNTEER? Peter Hesketh/SUDBURY ROWING REGATTA A FLASH OF LUCK- SPOTTING A KINGFISHER FAMILY Sue Brown ANNE MARSHALL - An Obituary DIARY DATES FOR 2013

Editorial Team: Catherine Burrows, Emrhys Barrell, Sue Brown Contributors: Jim Lunn, Dorothy Howe, John Morris, Nick Temple, Mike Finch, Helen Richardson, Gordon Denney, Jane Rogers, Sue Brown, George Whybrow, Peter Evans, Andrew Richardson, Alex Purser, Mike Arnott, Adrian Walters, Simon Amstutz, Darren Tansley, Peter Baylis, Ian Whale, Rob Brooks, Mick Rogers, Lyn Gray, John Mills, Keith Robertson, Ron Abbott, Bill Cooper, Peter Hesketh, Brian Cornell, Colin Muddimer, Andrew Clarke, Sarah Mansfield, Jeff Burroughs, Jackie Maynard, Bob Webber Lock Lintel is Published by The River Stour Trust. © The River Stour Trust 2012 The views expressed in Lock Lintel are not necessarily shared by the Editor or the Council of the River Stour Trust. Tel: 01787 313100 editor@riverstourtrust.org www.riverstourtrust.org Copy Deadlines: Spring/Summer Edition 1st March Autumn/Winter Edition 1st September


Chairman’s Message John Constable ushers in exciting new opportunities for the Trust These are exciting times for the Trust, with the return of the Stour Lighter John Constable giving us a great opportunity to promote the history of the navigation on our beautiful river. The craftsmanship and care that has gone into the rebuild is stunning, and a great credit to Rupert and the team at the Pioneer Trust. All those who have seen the lighter at Cornard have been impressed, and I was amazed to hear that members previously sceptical about the boat are now asking to be crew! Although the lighter is now on the river, the official launch of passenger services is set for May 2013, giving us time over the winter to train crews and work on the all-important Operations Manual. Brian Cornell has selected six experienced skippers to train first, with others being introduced later. Our financial position remains stable and we have a very good business model, however we have not seen a significant rise in active members. With this in mind Council have been looking at the way we do business so that we can continue to grow and service our widening activities to include the lighter and better use of the VEC and Cattawade. We are planning another strategic review at the end of the year with the possibility of some new commercial relationships, changes to key roles and looking at a possible trading company.

The arrival of the new boat Kathleen at Sudbury has enabled our boat operations to continue to flourish. The boat was named in honour of Sudbury’s former oldest resident and the family of Kathleen Grimwood were very pleased to attend its naming ceremony in August. The weather this year has impacted on boat operations, with a very wet spring and early summer meaning that despite running the river bus alongside our other boat operations at Flatford, takings are likely to be down on 2011. Sudbury boat operations were also affected As I write this the refurbishment of the balcony at the Granary is nearing completion. The Granary has served us well as a venue and a headquarters and it is important that we maintain it in good condition. As part of this process we are already planning a refurbishment of the kitchen area and the toilets. Unfortunately the gas heaters are nearing the end of their useful lives and so we are investigating replacement heating systems for 2013. Cattawade Picnic Site Acquired The Trust’s acquisition of the picnic site at Cattawade was completed in May. The strategic significance of this site means that access to the end of the navigation is preserved for the future. We have some maintenance to be completed on the site over the winter months for which we have

2 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


been fortunate to obtain funding from Suffolk County Council and Managing a Masterpiece. Volunteers have already stepped forward to trim the grass for us and to tidy the site, and we are very grateful for their help. S2C Success John Morris and the team worked very hard on Sudbury to the Sea this year, and the event was oversubscribed, with the maximum 300 boats taking part. I am pleased to say John is willing to organise the 2013 event but he is looking for an ‘apprentice’ to take on the role from 2014. Council changes There have been two changes on Council this year, with Peter Edwards leaving as Treasurer, and Dorothy Howe leaving as Company Secretary. Both of these individuals have given excellent service to the Trust. Peter had introduced some innovative changes to our accounting system and had brought about many changes in security, moorings and letting

policies. Dorothy has been a first-class Company Secretary over the past two years, her work on starting the water bus service being a good example of her tenacity and determination. I am extremely pleased that we have two new members of Council who have taken on both of these important roles. Mike Finch has returned to Council and has taken on the role of Company Secretary he so ably filled before. Many of you will know Mike as a respected and hardworking member of the Trust. We have also been joined by Gareth Cole who has taken on the role of Treasurer and has already established himself very well in the role, as well as being an active and capable board member. A big thank you to all those who have worked so hard this season, I really feel the Trust is heading for good times! All the best Andrew Richardson Chairman of Council

Trust member carries the Olympic Torch Tom Duncan describes a day to remember I was nominated to carry the Olympic torch for the time I have volunteered within the Scout Association. I am currently an assistant Sea Scout leader at 3rd Sudbury Sea Scouts where I help run many water activities and camps which the Scouts very much enjoy. I am also an enthusiastic member of the River Stour Trust. Part of the reason I got nominated was that I have done this volunteering whilst fighting against a serious illness called Henoch Schonlien Purpura which has affected my bowel, kidneys and immune system. I was delighted to be nominated for this once in a lifetime opportunity and I was very proud to represent Sudbury Scouts. 3


Welcome aboard Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Lock Lintel, and a new editorial team. In the last magazine Helen announced she was standing down to allow herself more time for her other interests. Helen has done a superb job as Editor since coordinating her first issue published back in Spring 2008. On behalf of all Trust members I am sure we would like to give our heartfelt thanks for all her efforts. And it is a measure of just how much work is involved in producing the magazine that we are now spreading the load amongst an editorial team, aided considerably by our band of regular contributors, without whom we would have nothing to print. But we need a steady supply of articles, so if you have anything of interest to the membership, on the Trust, the Stour, or the wider locality, please send it in to editor@riverstourtrust.org. The big story of this issue is the launch of the John Constable, and we have devoted a large part of the magazine to it. The arrival of this restored lighter marks a great step forward for the Trust, and an opportunity to bring more and more people to the river. There is a huge worldwide interest in John Constable and his paintings, evidenced by the fact that the sale of his depiction of Flatford Lock raised the fourth highest auction figure ever of a masterpiece, at ÂŁ22.4m. Having a lighter whose distinctive shape is clearly visible in his paintings as working on the river during his lifetime, available for passenger trips, is a massive opportunity for the Trust which we must exploit to the maximum.

A WARM WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS Mr Randall Bowen Mr & Mrs Keith & Veronica Nash Mr Christopher Moody & Ms Elizabeth Beck Mrs Brenda Noble Mr Robert Tutton Mr & Mrs David & Pauline Kirkman Mr & Mrs Robert & Margaret Woods Mr & Mrs Ross & Natalie Holmes Mr & Mrs Stu & Kim Tibbles Ms. Carmen Shelton Mr & Mrs Gordon & Claire Yates Mr Richard Spall Mr Sean Poole Mr & Mrs Peter & Doris Cutmore Mr & Mrs Colin & Kathryn Daines Mrs Mary Bensly-Ellis Mr & Mrs Raymond & Kathleen Hedley Mr Robert Stoneham Mr Paul Talbot Mr Andy Blakeley Mr Robert Freebury Mrs Vicky Cook Mr & Ms. Timothy & Sara West Mr Simon Olleranshaw Mr Jonathan Marsh Mrs Jane Arkell

See you all on the river in 2013. The Editorial Team 4 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


NEW MEMBERS PROFILE In the first of what will be a regular series, we talk to new members David and Pauline Kirkman about why they joined the Trust. How did you hear about us? Earlier this year I was invited to attend a river users meeting, where I learnt about the activities of the Trust. Why Did You Join? The meeting brought back memories, when two years ago, a couple of ‘oldies’ ie, my brother-in-law and myself challenged our sense of adventure. We kayaked down the River Stour with Geoff Davies’s excellent River Stour Boating and had time to appreciate the true serenity and beauty of the river. Because of this, my wife Pauline and I decided we would like to join the Trust. What are you enjoying about being a member? Basically, the river! We recently cruised down to the Henny Swan for a Sunday lunch and had an adventurous time returning through Cornard Lock. Even though Pauline puts up with me being away working worldwide as a volunteer with The Tall Ships Youth Trust, she gave me permission to work on fresh water as well! Consequently I went through the very full training program for skippers with the Trust this season. I am now a volunteer and enjoy meeting and working with the many characters who have a font of knowledge of our River Stour.

Trust acquires Cattawade Picnic Site Late last year the Trust learnt that Suffolk County Council were looking to dispose of certain plots of land that it owned but no longer had a use for, or could not afford to maintain. One of these was the Picnic Site at Cattawade, adjacent to the basin at the end of the non-tidal river. This was seen as a vital opportunity to secure public access to the river, close to the end of the navigation, and under the Trust’s control, so we commenced negotiations with the Council to take it over. This was successfully completed in the summer, and we formally took over the freehold of the site, for no charge. We also secured a grant from the Council, and from Managing a Masterpiece to enable us to carry out any necessary repairs, and to contribute to its future upkeep. The site has a picnic area, car park, and a fishing jetty. A maintenance program will be drawn up and our Site Director, John Morris, would be very pleased to hear from any volunteers offering assistance to maintain the grounds. This should mainly consist of strimming the grass every 2-3 weeks in the summer months, and will help ensure that Trust members and the wider public can sit alongside the lower stretch of the river. www.riverstourtrust.org 5


The re-launch of the River Stour Lighter John Constable Mike Finch and Nick Temple describe a historic occasion for the Trust, and for the River Stour Navigation. On Thursday morning 27th September, nearly 100 years after the Stour lighter fleet was scuttled at Ballingdon, the restored lighter John Constable was re-launched at Great Cornard, after a two year rebuild at the Pioneer Sailing Trust in Brightlingsea. This hugely significant milestone in the restoration of through navigation on the River Stour has been made possible by the efforts of many people and a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. That grant is part of a larger group of works first proposed by the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Stour Valley Project in 2008, with the grant for all the works being ÂŁ910,000.

The Trust is one of many member organisations of the project with an active responsibility or interest for this area. The restoration was carried out by the Pioneer Sailing Trust at Brightlingsea, who specialise in wooden boat restoration, and they have produced a beautiful vessel, with the elegant curves of her bow and stern and her fine black and grey paintwork. An immense amount of work and study went into the reconstruction, which is very accurate and includes the detailed design of the hatch covers that is unique to this craft. The construction of oak clinker planking and heavy oak frames is massively strong and this will give her a further long and productive life. Although Stour lighters always operated in pairs, the one restored would have been the foremost of the two. As such it has two holds, with the after-hold now

6 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


The Launch The launch took place at the Visitor & Education Centre after two days on display at Ipswich Docks where she created a great deal of interest and TV coverage. The lighter arrived from the builders on a low-loader lorry and was craned into the mill leat, 27 months after her removal from the same spot. The crane driver said the unladen weight was 6 tons. The event passed off smoothly with – we believe – the least disruption to local residents. Many people watched the launch, from the Trust and neighbouring houses and 15 of them sat on the edge of the lighter to allow the marine surveyor present to perform a stability test. She passed that easily, as the original could take a load of 13 tons. It is planned that the boat will carry 12 passengers at present, as this is the maximum allowed

having seats fitted for passengers, and a centre well for the helmsman. At nearly 47ft long and 10ft beam – a bit narrower than the original - she will be able to fit in any Stour lock today. Opposite Page: John Constable enters Cornard Lock – almost certainly the first time a Stour lighter has passed through a lock at Cornard for 100 years. Above: Tight squeeze! The low-loader had to reverse down to the VEC to reach the crane Right: Up and over – John Constable retraces the route she took three years ago when she was lifted out of the lock cut, as a rotting hulk


A short history

Touch down - as she re-enters her natural environment

before you move into a stricter set of operating regulations, but the lighter could obviously carry more if this was thought desirable in the future.

Lighters on the Stour are internationally famous due to their prominent appearance in the paintings of John Constable. In August this year Constable's painting A Boat Passing A Lock, showing a lighter passing through Flatford Lock (the lock lintel is not shown in this picture), became the 4th most expensive Old Master in the world at £22.4 million. The most prosperous years of the navigation company were in early Victorian times, but after the railways arrived decline seemed inevitable. The navigation company's fleet of 14 lighters was scuttled at Ballingdon Cut near Sudbury after war was declared in 1914, allegedly on the orders of the Admiralty who feared they might be used by the enemy in the event of an invasion. But the company had been in a poor financial state for several years – the brick trade ceased in the early 1880s and by 1913 the directors had already resolved to go into liquidation, although this never formally happened until 1937.

There was much speculation about the depth she would float at, and this turned out to be about 10 inches. In order to demonstrate a lock passage she was then manually hauled and poled into Cornard Lock, and a complete lock cycle was operated, almost certainly the first time a lighter has passed through a lock at Cornard since 1913. Once again that went without a hitch. Since John Constable is wooden and of clinker construction a small amount of leakage was expected as the oak planks swell and the joints tighten up. In the event the leakage was very small and as I write (two weeks later) is reduced to a cup or two of water a day.

The traditional quant was sufficient to manoeuvre her into the lock

After flood prevention works on the river at Sudbury in the 1950s - which comprised straightening, widening and deepening the river - the water level was slightly lower, and more of the lighter

8 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


The future The Trust plans to operate the lighter as a trip vessel, starting in spring 2013. We take the view that an active boat is

Top: The boatbuilding team plus Trust members after the launch Right: This 1923 photograph shows the lighters in Ballingdon Cut, ten years after they were sunk

far better than a static display at showing everyone what the navigation was like and she will earn her keep as well. But it is just not possible to draw her by horse over any great distance due to the lack of a towpath – the same problem the old navigation company had and never properly solved – so twin 10 horse-power electric outboard motors with batteries

Photo from the Sudbury Museum Trust

remains were visible. This led the members of the newly formed River Stour Trust to plan the raising and repair of the remains of one lighter. She was refloated in 1977, and then restored with much of the original timber remaining, being given the name John Constable in honour of the painter. However she leaked continually and required frequent baling out. After the storm of 1987 it was decided that only a complete restoration would suffice, and until it could be achieved the consensus at the time was to preserve her by sinking her in the mill leat at Cornard until that could be arranged.


shows how efficient a hull shape the old boat-builders produced, but the reserve of power is vital for stopping and starting. And of course the electric power is completely silent, with no pollution of the river or local surroundings.

Have you got the tee-shirt? Below: The first 12 passengers!

and control systems have been fitted by the Thames Electric Launch Company (many thanks to Emrhys Barrell). Trials are underway at present to familiarise crews with their operation, and assess what else will be essential for practical use. The first indications are very positive; it takes about 3hp to propel her at 3mph, which

As the lighter is a much bigger and more demanding craft to operate than our existing boats, careful training will be vital for its safe operation, and preliminary familiarisation trials are already underway for the crews selected. We look forward to seeing a lighter once again doing useful work on the upper Stour for the first time since 1913. Since it is believed that the John Constable was at least 100 years old when she was sunk in 1914, she is now likely to be 198 years old, making her probably one of the oldest vessels in the world today still afloat and working.

10 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


River Stour Craft Registrations The Trust can now issue registrations for manually propelled craft on behalf of the Environment Agency. We issued our first ever one to Richard and Alex (pictured) who were paddling to Bures. A short term/visitor registration for a manually propelled craft is: £7.50 - up to 7 consecutive days £15.00 - up to 31 consecutive days If you are visiting our Anglian waterways for a short period then this is the best option. Your craft can only navigate Rivers Great Ouse, Nene, Stour, Ancholme, Black Sluice, Welland and Glen. An annual registration for a manually propelled craft is: £32.00 - annual registration (excluding houseboats and sailing boats) The annual registrations run from 1 April to 31 March. Your craft is

permitted to navigate all Environment Agency waterways. The Environment Agency have produced a very good River Stour Navigation Guide telling you all about the portages, launching sites and other useful information. It is also printed on damp proof paper which makes it good for paddlers! The River Stour Trust has copies and can post this upon receipt of £1 (to cover post and packing). Alternatively, copies are usually available at both our Sudbury venues, The Granary and Visitor Education Centre. www.riverstourtrust.org 11


Volunteer Profile Mick and Jane Rogers We would not be able to progress our aims without the support of our dedicated and enthusiastic members and volunteers. We would like to focus on two longstanding volunteers, Mick and Jane Rogers, who will give us an insight as to why and how they’re involved with helping us.

birthday cake for a number of years. For Mick the funniest moment was watching a black Labrador, swimming in the river, and retrieving the plastic decoy duck from the back of one of the Flatford rowboats. One boat full of passengers roaring with laughter, and one little boy very upset at the loss of his duck!

How did you become involved with the River Stour Trust? I worked for the printers who were then producing Lock Lintel, read the magazine as part of my job and was interested enough to tell Mick about the Trust. We then went to Sudbury and had a trip on Rosette. Mick was approached by Mike Sherman during a naval exercise off Harwich, about helping at Flatford, and the rest is history!

Can you share an experience you had while volunteering that made you realise you were making a difference? Working on S2C and seeing all the boats using the river, meeting one of the Trust’s primary aims.

Why did you become involved with the River Stour Trust? Because it was something we could do together and would both enjoy. How long have you been involved? For more years than we care to count! So far, what has been your favourite/funniest/most interesting event/activity/moment? I love people watching, and the bank at Flatford is an excellent spot for that. Also I remember sitting by the river at Flatford watching some ducklings trying to climb the opposite bank, but repeatedly sliding back into the river because it was so muddy. It was a privilege to meet Kathleen Grimwood, and to make her

So what volunteer role/s are you involved in at the moment? Mick is chairman of the Lower River Group, and skippers Trusty II at every opportunity. He is also responsible for the day-to-day maintenance on Trusty. I make cakes and help at the Granary Teashop on the rota there. In the last two years I have also had a hand in the administration for S2C. What are the particular challenges you face in your volunteer role? For Mick it is making sure that the boat is properly maintained, that the crews at Flatford are fully trained, and most importantly, that the customers have a great experience. For me, it’s hoping the cakes turn out all right, that the teashop is running up to scratch when I am responsible for it, and that we get lots of repeat customers.

12 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


Have you gained any skills/benefits from volunteering? How does your volunteer role benefit you personally? Mick has learnt lots about boats with electric engines and I’ve found a lot of new recipes. We’ve both met lots of people and made lots of new friends, who share common interests. It’s not just about the river or the boats, but having a good time too! Happy volunteers make the best volunteers! Why should anyone thinking of volunteering with the RST get involved? Anyone thinking of volunteering will meet lots of lovely people, get a chance to know one of the nicest river/navigations in the country, and enjoy its wildlife, while contributing to an important cause. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering? Give it a go! You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain! What do you do when you are not volunteering? We have two grown up sons, a future daughter-in-law, and two gorgeous granddaughters, who take up a lot of our time. I’m still involved in Girlguiding UK and Mick is a member of the Maritime Volunteer Service. In his spare time, he skippers Orwell Lady, the pleasure boat on the River Orwell. We have an active social life, partly around Mick’s love of folk music, Morris dancing and shanty singing. When we have time, we like to travel. The comment ‘when did we have time to go to work?’ really does apply to us!

Pager Power Charity Scheme From October 2012 Pager Power will be forming a charitable partnership with the River Stour Trust. This is the company’s first charity scheme and the Trust is delighted to have been approached. The company was founded in 1997 by Mike Watson to provide advice for wind turbine installations and moved its offices to Bakers Mill in 2007. The team has continued to expand and is joined on an ad hoc basis by a number of highly skilled Air Traffic Control specialists, technical specialists and business consultants. The company culture of innovation combined with the environmental issues of the work undertaken has ensured that the company cars and office services are environmentally friendly and the workplace offers flexibility and variety. The River Stour passes right by Pager Power’s Office which is just minutes from the Trust’s Education Centre. Pager Power will be working closely with the Trust to help in their charitable activities in the following ways: • Donating £1 to RST for every person

signing up to Pager Power’s online system; • Donating a further £2 if customers provide

feedback on Pager Power’s services; • Employees of Pager Power are also

looking to help the Trust in their free time. So, now there are even more reasons to sign up to Pager Power’s online system. Visit their website for more information www.pagerpower.co.uk

www.riverstourtrust.org 13


Jim’s Jottings John Constable comes home

As you have read elsewhere in this issue the lighter John Constable returned on the 27th of September to Cornard after a restoration that cost an estimated £130,000. The operation to lift it over the 10ft fence into the mill cut was to say the least a little tense. Brian Cornell was pacing up and down the bank like an expectant father (by the time you see this, the kittens will be ready to go) and the audience was better than expected as JC settled on the water for the first time. The delivery was followed by an impromptu BBQ that raised £40, (every little helps only £129,960 to go and we can have a second lighter to make a pair) and thank you to all who helped with extra food.

14

The beam of the lighter was reduced slightly so that it can fit in any of today’s Stour locks Below: The outboards allow the boat to be reversed easily

Over the weekend following the delivery, the lighter was viewed by a school party, which made the East Anglian Daily Press and Sudbury Mercury, and on the Sunday the short trips from the Granary included an opportunity to see JC in the mill cut. This proved very popular, especially with an American family from Arkansas who were delighted to be able to see a piece of Constable history. In the week preceding the arrival the work parties had completed the new jetty at the Granary, and Monday 1st October was the day allocated for the fitting of the two enormous electric outboard motors to


Pupils from the Thomas Gainsborough School were visiting the VEC and looked over the lighter

the lighter. After being advised of the cost of each, kid gloves were the order of the day. The mounting of the motors went without a hitch and the electronic wizard Ian Rutter, from the Thames Electric Launch Company who accompanied Emrhys Barrell disappeared into the rear hold to install the high-tech gizmos that control the power to the motors. Tuesday was full of anticipation as it was hoped to test the motors for the first time, fingers crossed, controls engaged and the outboards whispered into life with no fuss just silent power. In fact more power than all of the rest of our fleet combined! At this point it was decided that it was essential to fine-tune the relay to the controls and the temptation to take a short trip was too great to resist so, all aboard and cast off. The wind as usual for Friars Meadow was on the bow, blowing a fresh force 3-4, but there was sufficient power on one motor to handle a head wind and manoeuvre safely.

Up river past the Granary Cut and just before the railway bridge a tight turn, almost in her own length. Back to the Granary Cut to execute a near perfect turn into the Quay Cut, reversing onto the new jetty at the Granary, just in time to be met by the Dedham Vale AONB Committee, who were having a one-day meeting at the Granary. As the people who had authorised the expenditure on the lighter they were naturally delighted to see how well it had turned out. Mike Finch takes care of the bow line


The electric outboards have more than enough power for manoeuvring

Returning to Cornard we took JC through the lock and as far as Smelly Corner and back, as this was reckoned to be one of the tightest stretches on the river, especially with a stiff breeze blowing, but the outboards coped superbly, and it’s looking good now, so please form an orderly queue for crew duties. Jim Lunn

Brian Cornell takes her round Smelly Corner, one of the tightest bends on this stretch of the river

Francis J’s New Canopy Volunteers Brian Cornell, Mike Finch, Jim Lunn, John Mills, John Morton and George Whybrow started the rebuild of Francis J over the Winter period. We contacted a range of suppliers to make and fit her new canopy before choosing Jeckells of Norwich which is a family business run by Peter and Andrew Jeckells. They pride themselves on offering a personal service, with one member of the family overseeing every order. www.jeckells.net 16 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


Wild swim at Flatford filmed for Channel 4 television Ian Whale, who arranges the charters for the Lower River Group asked if I could help with a charter for Channel 4 television on Friday 15th June. I was advised that Mike Finch would be assisting me. Channel 4 wanted to film a wild swimming sequence to go with the Big Swim at Alton Water the following day. They required a film crew, which consisted of the Producer Lucy Cutler, a cameraman and a soundman, to record Cassie Patten, a previous Olympic bronze medal swimmer, and another swimmer, Nick Collinson to swim at Flatford and had hired Trusty II for this purpose. On the Thursday evening the weather forecast was for a deeper low than had been experienced for 50 years, so the Big Swim was actually postponed until the Sunday. On the Friday the weather was reasonable with the wind speed at Force 3 gusting to Force 4 so we decided to proceed with the charter. On our way down from Dedham to Flatford we saw a grass snake swimming across the river so I stopped the boat to take a closer look. It was about a metre long, and was really beautiful as it had very vivid markings. I had never seen a snake before, either in or out of the water so this made my day.

We had to wait at Flatford for some time as the film crew were held up in heavy traffic. When they arrived Lucy Cutler outlined what she wanted. As one part involved getting a close-up of the swimmers alongside Trusty and seemed fairly risky we carried out an in-depth risk assessment. We explained to the swimmers about the location of the propeller and the effects of contact with it and we also explained about possible underwater obstacles. Firstly they took some shots of the swimmers from the bank upstream of Flatford Bridge. As Lucy was pregnant and also had her six-year-old child with her she decided to stay on the river bank, so we only took the cameraman and soundman with us. They then wanted us to go downstream from Flatford Bridge, picking up the swimmers coming through the bridge into the cut up to the weir, opposite the Granary, so that they could get a shot of Flatford Mill. We did this nine or ten times from various angles and as the TV men were in the bow with their equipment which obstructed my forward view, Mike stayed alongside them and gave me hand signals. All went well with no incidents. After they had left with their equipment Mike took Trusty back to Dedham. The programme was scheduled to be broadcast on 15th July, on Channel 4 at approximately 07.00 hours. Bob Webber

www.riverstourtrust.org 17


Letters Letters from the bride & groom and bride’s mother following their private charter of our Sudbury boats for their wedding reception held at The Henny Swan.

Dear Catherine Thank you email message from Sue and Eddie Jones, after using the voucher they won at last year’s Grand Draw.

Dear Ian and Roy, Thank you for the lovely day you gave our family yesterday (Tuesday 21st August 2012) on Trusty II. We all, young and old, enjoyed the whole adventure - going through the lock, 'helping’ the captain, spotting wildlife and crocodiles, feeding the ducks, eating ice cream and of course the singing! A  great Grand Draw prize. Ian Whale, Trusty Skipper says: There were four young children who enjoyed the trip (aged 4,3,2, and about 9 months). We were also lucky enough to see a kingfisher twice, just below Stratford St Mary. (Eddie Jones and his daughters are veterans of S2C). The RST team was myself and Roy Toyne on Trusty, and James Parkinson assisting with Dedham Lock.

Thank you so much for coordinating the boat trip up the River Stour for our guests to enjoy. We appreciate your thoughtfulness, even to the point of the design of the voucher, to indicate that the wedding guests were indeed our wedding guests. Michael and I are thrilled that our guests from around the world could experience the Swan’s beauty, and indeed Henny’s beauty in such a special way by boat. Thank you again, Warm Regards, Grace & Michael Milbank

Dear Catherine I too would like to thank everyone at the River Stour Trust for their contribution to Grace & Michael’s day. We have had many, many compliments about how the boat trips went and how beautiful the river was, and what fun to have such entertainment at a wedding. Could you please pass this on to everybody involved they were so efficient and all absolutely charming. Thanks again for all your help. Best wishes Val Milbank

18 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


Kathleen’s naming ceremony It was a glorious day of sunshine for the naming ceremony of the River Stour Trust’s newest electric trip boat. The boat was formally named Kathleen in honour of the late Miss Kathleen Grimwood, Sudbury’s oldest resident. It had become a tradition since her 100th birthday for Miss Grimwood, her family and friends to celebrate her birthday with

a boat trip, tea and cakes at The Granary. Several of the volunteers suggested naming the boat in her memory and we were delighted that the family agreed, as it would serve as a wonderful tribute to a great Trust supporter. The ceremony was purposely postponed until Sunday 19th August 2012 which would have been Miss Grimwood’s 111th birthday. Kathleen’s great-niece, Judy Darlington, gave a short speech, before the ribbon was cut by her father John Grimwood who officially named the boat. Family and friends then boarded all three boats for a memorial trip before returning to The Granary for their customary tea and cakes. www.riverstourtrust.org 19


Lower River Group Report 2012 Dorothy Howe reports on a season that was hit by the weather, and the poor condition of Flatford and Dedham locks, but marked the launch of our new Waterbus service. We managed to launch Trusty just in time for Easter after the new motor had been fitted. We were very concerned about the low level of the river so early in the season, but no sooner had the hose-pipe ban been introduced than of course it rained almost every day in April. By the end of the month the river level had risen to a level never known at this time of the year. Initially we drove two posts in between Trusty and the landing stage to hold her off, but after a few days the river rose so high that she floated above them and later above the back handrail. Finally the picnic area of the Boathouse Restaurant was flooded.

Four people were seen kayaking on the field opposite, and the fields between Dedham and Flatford were also flooded, so we could not run over the early May Bank Holiday. When the water level finally dropped Trusty was monitored several times a day and we were able to push her off from the landing stage at the right time. When we were able to run we discovered how much the strong current had altered the bed of the river, with a shoal built up right next to our landing stage at Flatford and we all had to learn the new profile of the river bed. We were very aware that both Dedham and Flatford locks were in poor condition and initially we decided to run charters through to Cattawade as we thought that Flatford Lock was in slightly better condition. In early June a charter had to be aborted because the upper gates were leaking water at such a rate that the level of the lock could not be lowered and subsequently this lock has been out of commission. The Environment Agency

20 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


inspected Dedham Lock and agreed that we could use it with caution and we were able to honour our annual agreement to provide boat trips for Le Talbooth on their two ‘Ascot Days’. We have lost revenue this year because we have not been able to carry out some of the charters requested and several trip days have had to be cancelled due to the weather or the fast current which has been caused by the excessive rain. Launch of the Waterbus On 23rd May we held our Waterbus Launch afternoon which was very successful. The weather was perfect and the Boathouse Restaurant provided a tasty range of canapés and finger foods for our guests. RST’s Vice-President, Will Frecknall cut the ribbon to our access steps and we provided river trips all afternoon. The local press were invited and an article was published in the Colchester Gazette. An interview with Radio Suffolk resulted in details of the Saturday trips being advertised on BBConline, and we also had a news piece in Waterways World magazine. All this publicity was very successful and the number of people taking our one-way trips between Dedham and Flatford has increased. The number of visitors to Flatford has been down for most of the season and this has also been reflected in the number of passengers we have carried, but fortunately the better weather in August has seen an increase in tourists. The uncertainty of the weather has caused problems with training new volunteers and our skipper numbers are seriously down this year, so grateful thanks must be extended to the core volunteers who have continued to cover our operational days.

Now you see it, now you don’t – the new landing stage at Dedham under this summer’s unseasonable floods

We are very concerned about the condition of both locks and await the EA’s decision on their refurbishment. It probably means that RST will have to raise funds towards the cost of this, and we can only hope that both locks will be working again by the end of next season. Dorothy Howe Secretary, Lower River Group www.riverstourtrust.org 21


S2C 2012 This year’s Sudbury to the Sea attracted a record turnout in perfect weather. John Morris reports on another resounding success, followed by a selection of your appreciative quotes from the Facebook page, and your replies to our survey. 300 craft registered for the event, and we had a waiting list. We estimated 450 paddling participants, with many others providing support, encouragement and logistics. 12 places along the 24.5 mile route were manned by RST volunteers. Wonderful support from Explorer Scouts in Sudbury (provided craft storage and car park management), and the Bures

Scout and Guide Support Group (Saturday lunch-time refreshments). Other refreshments en route were provided by the Granary tea room, the Henny Swan, Vitalina's Ice Cream (3 locations!), The Good Food Army (Lavenham) at the camp site, The Nayland Anchor, and the Swan (Stratford St Mary) - the last opened especially for Sudbury to the Sea, as they had not finished the refurbishment of the pub. Despite the last minute failure of our hot water boiler, all were welcomed at the end of the event with the offer of a hot drink! Well done to our team of Trust volunteers. 2012's organiser, John Morris, is looking for someone to assist with the organisation for 2013 as he is definitely not organising the event in 2014.

22 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


“BOOM! What a weekend! Unbelievably good weather on both days, eye-wateringly beautiful scenery and 300 craft full of friendly, helpful people out to enjoy the good old English countryside at its best.” “Utterly superb weekend I am full of thanks and admiration for the organisers and my fellow paddlers who made it all possible.” “Another fantastic event which enabled our party (seven participants in three craft) to experience the Stour from the Stour. Once again the organisation and marshalling of the event was excellent and our thanks go to all involved (the only reason I am not volunteering to assist next year is because I hope to be on the water again next year). I will take another look as the Trust's website and give thought to how I and others in our party might be able to contribute to its activities. Thanks again.” “We all really enjoyed it as we do every year. Can't fault a single thing fantastic job.” “Really enjoyed the whole experience.the people were great,the river was as always stunning and the support was fantastic.” “A really well run and enjoyable event. Thank you so much to all the organisers and volunteers invlolved in making it possible. The gorgeous weather helped, but the river is beautiful and the camaraderie between participators great.” Photos by Viv Marsh and Andrew Lee

www.riverstourtrust.org 23


I was a particular fan of the mini schnauzer in a life jacket, the two hard-core paddlers in coracles and the deceptively hardy girl who did the whole thing including portages, shallow trudging and weir climbing, barefoot. An amazing event, very well prepared and run. Great staff and volunteers along the route. A faultless service. Can't wait to book up next year. I've done it for several years now and it is a fantastic event. Even though I could paddle that river every day, there is something special about S2C. Long may it continue.

24 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


“The army food tent at the campsite on Saturday night was excellent. Great to find a gluten free option just beyond the tent flap. We found the marshalls friendly and informative, being first timers it was rather bewildering on occasions and they really helped us out. Bacon sarnies at Sudbury gratefully accepted! It was great chatting with so many different people on both days in and out of the water and we had lots of help dragging our extremely heavy canoe around the mill. All in all the weekend was really good and we would love to do it again, maybe next time with a bit of training first.” “Very nice atmosphere and lovely to see different parts of the river. Thank you!” “We loved the general camaraderie and seeing the myriad of boats - there was quite a carnival atmosphere sometimes which was great. A really unique and lovely event all round. A big thanks to you all for making it special.” “A great event , looking forward to next year ” “Enjoyed it very much. Regarding organisation, it was very impressive and I am grateful that someone rang me to take my late registration with two days to spare. I don't think many organisations would bother to do that. My youngest daughter enjoyed it so much that she finished the second day when I did not. Really good event.” “Best bit... all of it. Worst bit... finishing ”

www.riverstourtrust.org 25


Like so many events this year, the annual Coracle Regatta organised by the RST at Bures on 4th August was blighted by the weather. A heavy downpour at lunchtime deterred many from coming down to the river where coracles were offered to any brave soul who dared try. The highlight of the day was the racing – straight to a buoy, round it, and back. Simple – but have you tried steering a coracle?! And to really test your skill – a slalom course with fish to catch and bring ashore! Susan Brown

Photos by Helen Richardson

Coracle Regatta

Flatford Lock sold for £22m Before you gasp, this is not the structure that the Trust restored in 1975, merely a picture of it. But this is not just any picture, it is John Constable’s original painting ‘The Lock’ which depicts a boat passing through the original Flatford Lock in 1824. One of Constable’s many immortal paintings depicting the Stour Valley, they included Flatford Mill, the Leaping Horse, Dedham Lock, Boatbuilding near Flatford Mill, and The Hay Wain. It was part of a series of six large-scale works that Constable himself called his ‘six-footers’, and measured 48in x 56in. The sale at Christie’s in July was the fourth highest price paid for any old master in the UK at £22.4m, and reflects the enduring popularity of the artist. His works may seem to be traditional now, but the use of colour, expressive brushstrokes and contemporary subject was radical for its time, and influenced the rising wave of 19th Century expressionists. In fact he struggled for recognition in his lifetime, and only sold 20 paintings in England, though he sold nearly the same number in just two years in France, where he was seen as a visionary. The original lock was very much changed when it was rebuilt in the 1930s, but it retained elements of the original design, which remained when it was restored by the Trust in 1975, then upgraded in 1991, with generous support from Rio Tinto Zinc. 26 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


aspects of the Stour Valley through its Sustainable Development Fund and Stour Valley Environment Fund. These projects have delivered local food projects, education projects, funding for village wildlife and recreation sites and supported low impact businesses in the Stour Valley. Many Lock Lintel readers will have heard of the Dedham Vale AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and Stour Valley Project through its Managing a Masterpiece Landscape Partnership Scheme and its funding for the restoration of the John Constable lighter. However the Project is involved in many other initiatives in the Stour Valley. As well as the John Constable restoration the Managing a Masterpiece Landscape Partnership scheme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and local authorities, is undertaking a further 68 projects. These range from archaeology to wildlife projects , but also includes projects in training countryside skills, running a hopper bus, pollarding trees, arts projects, an apprenticeship, improving access into the countryside and many more. Further details can be found at www.managingamasterpiece.org In addition to Managing a Masterpiece the project funds schemes to improve the environmental, social and economic

The Project supports local communities in the Stour Valley, helping and advising them on the management of their local green space and even bringing its own volunteer team, the Stour Valley Volunteers, in to support groups to undertake practical management and enhancements of their local green space. As well as helping people enjoy the special Stour Valley landscape the team undertakes a range of wildlife projects to support some of our native wildlife such as barn owls, otters and bats. Further information on the work of the Project can be found at www.dedhamvalestourvalley.org If you want to know more about the Project or the work we do please do contact us on 01473 264263, by email: dedhamvale.project@suffolk.gov.uk or follow us on twitter.com/DedhamValeSVP Simon Amstutz AONB Manager

Teddies and Pirates on the Stour Our annual family friendly events, Teddy Bear Boat Rides in May and Pirates on the Stour in August, once again offered free trips to children (under 12 years old) when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. These events raised ÂŁ1000 for the Trust and, perhaps more importantly, gave our boat crew an excuse to dress up as pirates! Photo by Gareth Cole www.riverstourtrust.org 27


Work parties George Whybrow reports on preparations for the arrival of John Constable This summer the main emphasis of the work parties has been preparing for the arrival of John Constable, the restored lighter. The Mill Stream Cut at the V E C has required considerable dredging, using the Trust’s workboat Dolly plus weed, reed and bank tidying and trimming.

Lengthsmen The Trust’s Lengthsmen (and women) allow us to quickly identify problems on the navigable river, and take remedial action, whether it is fallen trees, excessive weeds, dead fish etc. The river from Sudbury to Cattawade has been divided into twelve stretches, each with its own lengthsman, with the Scheme overseen by Gordon Denney. Gordon is wanting to stand down from his length from Stratford St Mary to Boxted Mill Pool for two years, so is looking for a replacement. If you would like to apply, he can be contacted on 01245 440180, 07905 506098 or gordondenny@hotmail.com 1

Cattawade Barrage to Flatford Mill Pool Roy Farrow

2

Flatford above Lock to Dedham Mill Pool Derek Tripp

3

Above Dedham Lock to Stratford Mill Pool & Lock Cut Peter Mudd

4

Professionals have done the work on the Granary veranda and our volunteers have applied the coats of preservatives and stain to complete the job.

Above Stratford Lock - High Water Side incl Mill Race to Boxted Mill Pool VACANT

5

Above Boxted Weir to below Nayland Weir Hector Bunting

6

The on going every day tasks of grass and tree trimming where necessary has continued.

Above Nayland Weir to Wissington Campsite Rod Smart

7

Wissington Campsite to Wormingford Mill Pool James Parkinson

8

Above Wormingford Lock/Weir to Bures Recreation Ground Carole Jarvis

9

Bures Recreation Ground to Below Pitmire Weir Hugh Turner

The biggest construction job has been adding 50ft of secure new landing stage at The Granary to accommodate the new boat. The security fence has been done professionally but all the pile-driving and decking has been done by our work parties.

Looking ahead, as I write this the lighter has already been out on handling trials, and various posts and rubbing boards will have to be put in place, along with a major job on the down-stream Cornard Lock platform will be needed to be done before next season.

10 Above Pitmire Weir to Henny John Kemp 11 Henny to Sudbury Quay Keith Robertson 12 Sudbury Quay to Brunden Mill Les Airey

28


SALES TABLE

BOOKS & DVD

TIE Green with Lock Lintel logo

The Essex & Suffolk River Stour £3.50 Navigation by the late John Marriage 200 illustrations & photographs depicting TEA TOWELS atmospheric scenes from days gone by. £10.99 Good quality cotton, printed with map of the River Stour, green on white £3.00 An Appreciation of Sudbury’s Ancient Common Lands by Adrian Walters JOTTER PADS Beautifully illustrated. Details the Line drawing of The Granary £1.30 history of Sudbury’s Common Lands. £4.99 NOTELETS – Limited Stock Pack of 10 with envelopes, line drawing showing points of interest along River Stour

The Essex & Suffolk Stour; A History by Sean O’Dell A detailed account of the beginnings, £1.70 life and trading decline of the Stour. £12.99

COLOUR POSTCARDS Set of 8 scenes around Sudbury & Flatford, Historic and modern views ‘The Lock’ by John Constable

Flatford: Constable Country – by Ian St John (Limited Stock) 25p ‘Suffolk Walker’ series. Includes maps 30p and drawings, water colours and photographs. £4.99

RST CLOTHING Show your support for the River Stour Trust by wearing our branded merchandise! Baseball Cap (one size) French Navy, with logo on front

Our River: The Stour at Sudbury The riverscape depicted over the £6.50 four seasons through photography and poetry. £5.00

Polo Shirt (all sizes) £17.50 Stour Secrets By Ken Rickwood French Navy, polyester/cotton mix, An exploration of the estuary embroidered with logo on the chest between Essex and Suffolk. £10.00 Sweatshirt (all sizes) £21.00 Stour Odyssey By Ken Rickwood French Navy, polyester/cotton mix, Exploration of the river from salt embroidered with logo on the chest to source. £10.00 Size Guide (to fit chest) Secret Rivers S = 36” – 38” XL = 42” – 44” DVD compilation (2 discs) of the ITV M = 38” – 40” XXL = 44” – 46” Anglia series presented by Paul Heiney. £24.95 L = 40” – 42” 3XL = 46" – 48” Boat crew volunteer? Please contact to order your clothing. RST logo is on both the chest and the arm so it is visible when a life jacket/buoyancy aid is worn.

POSTAGE & PACKAGING ‘Sales Table’ = from £1.00 Books & DVD = £5.00 (orders under £30) Free (orders over £30.00) Clothing = £2.50 (per baseball cap) £5.00 (per polo/sweatshirt) Alternatively please arrange collection.

TO ORDER Please contact RST Office or visit www.riverstourtrust.org Please allow up to 28 days for delivery www.riverstourtrust.org 29


Sudbury Common Lands Charity

News from the Riverside 2012 What goes on either side of the river on land managed by the Sudbury Common Lands Charity may not be apparent to boaters. Seasonal management follows long-term plans, which aim to improve the habitat and encourage wildlife. This is mostly a quiet and unobtrusive process so it doubtless comes as something of a shock to see changes at a landscape level on the Cornard riverside. Publicity elsewhere has emphasised the need for drastic action to try to curb the spread of watermark disease in the cricket bat willow trees. Whilst the disease does not kill the trees it does make the wood unsuitable for making cricket bats and while the infected trees remain standing the disease is spread to adjacent trees. Unfortunately the control method is to fell and burn and where the diseased trees are concentrated together a change in the look of the landscape is inevitable. Whilst the removal of the trees is regrettable it is not all bad news. On the Cornard riverside are wet meadows that

Photos by Adrian Walters

have been long designated as a County Wildlife Site. This recognises the countywide importance of these wet meadows which, because of their location between urban development and the river, have escaped the agricultural intensification that has led to the loss of a considerable amount of wildlife habitat elsewhere in the Stour valley. Whilst agricultural improvements will quickly destroy the wildlife value of ancient meadowland, total neglect is equally bad as scrub encroachment and secondary woodland will simply shade out the plant community. Cattle grazing was reintroduced to two of the Cornard riverside meadows by the charity in 1995. Whilst there must be some compromise to accommodate stock for a whole grazing season it has still been possible to manage the typical wetland plants in a positive manner.

30 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


One of the characteristic species of this land is the early marsh orchid. This orchid has a rather exacting habitat requirement, which is why it is found at only forty or so locations throughout Suffolk. Often only a few plants may be found among a general assemblage of wetland flora. Here, however, the fortunes of this orchid are on the up and from just a few in the 1990s numbers have increased to well over a thousand flowering plants in 2012. Complacency, however, could very easily lead to a drop in numbers and continuing management aims to increase numbers still further by building up an enormous natural seed-bank.

On the other side of the river from Friars Meadow very exciting things have been taking place too. Barn owls successfully raised three chicks in a purpose-built box in 2011 and 2012. Nearby, tawny owls also raised their chicks in another box. Whilst the boxes are placed so that they are not easy to see, during the nesting season the barn owls can be seen coming and going, particularly at dawn and dusk. In the adjacent woodland common buzzards nested for the first time and in spite of the dreadful weather during the breeding season a single chick was successfully fledged.

Sudbury Canoe Club Midsummer BBQ

COUNCIL MEETINGS

Sudbury Canoe Club recently enjoyed a midsummer BBQ at the River Stour Trust VEC. Thirty ish members braved the changeable British weather to eat, drink and be merry and a good time was had by all. After lunch we took to the water and engaged in a medley of competitions in slalom canoes and kayaks, racing kayaks, whitewater kayaks, freestyle kayaks and open canoes. The club’s junior paddlers took many of the prizes in contests championing going forwards, going backwards, going into other boats and going in the drink. As the weather improved, other members took the opportunity for a more sedate jaunt to Henny and back. As well as the Suffolk Stour, Sudbury Canoe Club also paddle rivers, lakes and the sea in Great Britain and Europe. Past and present members are active in competitive paddlesport disciplines at club, national and international levels. www.sudburycanoeclub.org.uk

Adrian, September 2012.

Members can attend these meetings as observers to understand the work undertaken by the Council. It is possible to raise queries or issues at appropriate times during the meeting which will then be suspended whilst the member puts forward their proposal. Any participation is at the discretion of the Chairman. Meetings are scheduled to take place every six weeks, with the venue alternating between Sudbury and Manningtree. The next meeting is due to be held on Saturday 15th December at 10am, at our Visitor Education Centre (Postcode CO10 0GF). The agenda will usually be available at least a few days before the meeting and you can read minutes of previous meetings once they have been approved by the Council. Both these documents are published on our website but you can also contact the RST office. It is sometimes necessary to change meeting dates and venues, so if you are planning to attend you are advised to check the most up-to-date details by contacting the RST office (weekdays, 10am-4pm). www.riverstourtrust.org 31


Only Volunteers

Peter Hesketh gives his thoughts

Have you heard anybody use the expression, “I am only a volunteer” or even, “We are only volunteers”? The key word in these phrases is ‘only’. The word ‘only’ in this context is generally used to impart a negative perspective – they could be a better group of people, but they are ‘only’ volunteers. The word volunteer is also interesting and conjures up different images depending on where it is used. There are pubs called The Volunteer – often depicting a man in uniform – the inference being that he feels so strongly about a cause that he enlists to potentially give his life for a greater good. A volunteer today is frequently identified as somebody who works for a charity or other organisation and isn’t paid, but the idea that people who give of their time, talents and expertise are in some way lesser beings because they aren’t paid is ludicrous, as if receiving remuneration somehow makes them more competent, better trained or more accountable. The motivation factors that can make people feel valued and provide for a good working environment are: 1) Achievement 2) Recognition 3) Work itself 4) Responsibility 5) Advancement and 6) Growth. These apply to voluntary organisations and ‘paid’ in equal measure. Further, the law doesn’t make a distinction between paid and unpaid organisations. If a body offers a service to the public – boat trips or a food outlet as examples – there are requirements that the people providing those services,

and the equipment used, should be fit for purpose. The people availing themselves of the services provided, do so with the totally reasonable expectation that they are not inadvertently putting themselves at risk. So, is the expression, “We are only volunteers” a euphemism for, “Don’t expect too much of us” or worse still, “We are not particularly competent”? There are many groups and bodies that exist almost entirely on voluntary labour, often providing vital, important and highly skilled expertise – members of which bodies would not accept the premise that they are ‘only’ volunteers in a negative sense. The Special Constabulary, school governors and RNLI crews come to mind as extremely professional volunteer organisations and there are many others. So what do those people who use the expression, “We are only volunteers” really mean? I guess the answer is different things to different people, but if it is said to explain to the listener that they as a body are not particularly competent or don’t want to take responsibility, then the organisation for which they work would be well advised to have procedures in place to ensure that those people don’t have responsibility for the welfare or safety of members of the public. Otherwise, the organisation itself will be culpable in exposing members of the public to a risk that is unacceptable in these litigious days.

32 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation

Peter Hesketh


The views expressed in this article are mine as an individual, but will hopefully prompt discussion! On average, two-fifths of adults volunteer formally once a year and a quarter of adults volunteer at least once a month. The value that volunteering adds to the UK economy is in excess of £21.5billion. The impact of spending cuts on charities, coupled with government’s desire to increase voluntary action may in time lead to increased volunteering. Interest in volunteering is growing. The rise can be attributed to rising levels of unemployment in the current recession, which is prompting people to seek ways to use their time productively and gain skills that will help them get back into work. On the other hand, the increasing busyness of many people’s lives can be a barrier to volunteering. Demand for short term volunteering opportunities and one-off activities is increasing (sometimes described as ‘episodic volunteering’). Long term commitment to organisations is falling as people’s participation becomes more fluid. At the extreme, there is a growth in ‘micro volunteering’ whereby people volunteer for very short periods of time, usually on a non-committal basis. People want volunteering to be fun and sociable. As people’s time becomes limited, volunteering opportunities which fulfil the objectives of ‘leisure time’ gain traction as they enable people to volunteer while having fun with old or new friends. People are also attracted to volunteering when there is something in it for them. Source: National Council for Voluntary Organisations www.3s4.org.uk/drivers (Third Sector Foresight Report – download from the internet July 2012 by Peter Hesketh)

132nd Regatta – 4th August 2012 The Sudbury Rowing Club was formed in 1874 and has over 100 members. One of the highlights of the year is the annual Sudbury Regatta. Mike Arnott, the Club Chairman reports on the 132nd Regatta. Rowing clubs came from all around the south and east of England to race, and we had one competitor who came over from Belgium. Most races were over a 650 metre course starting downstream from Lady Island and finishing at the upstream end of Friar’s Meadow. The most exciting races, as always, were the “sprint eights” which are 350 metres and take place along the length of the meadow. Because our event clashed with the Olympic Rowing Finals, we had an extra marquee with a wide-screen television so that people could watch the Olympic action. To run an event like this takes a huge effort from lots of people. This regatta was organised by Pippa Kerry, with help from many club members and their friends and relatives. We also have invaluable support from the River Stour Trust and the local scouts who provide the safety boat. Each year we hope that the regatta will make a profit, and early indications are that this year we have done well, but to my mind that isn’t the point. For me the great thing about Sudbury Regatta is the spirit of co-operation and togetherness shown by everyone involved. Once again we have had many expressions of thanks from competitors and spectators. Thank you all, and well done! Next years date is likely to be Saturday 3rd August 2013 but check our website: www.sudburyrowingclub.org.uk www.riverstourtrust.org 33


Photo by Keith Robertson

A flash of luck

Sue Brown describes sighting

It’s not often we are in the right place at the right time, but today we were …. and with a front row view too!

and we suspected we were watching a young family leaving the nest, a process which went on all day. All the birds appeared to be the same size, with the unmistakable kingfisher plumage, but they flew past too quickly for me to be able to recognise the “duller plumage, shorter bills with white tip, and the dark legs” of juveniles as described in my bird book, although some did appear to be less skillful fliers than others.

It’s 3rd May, but cold, grey and raining steadily for yet another day so we are shut inside our boat on the Grand Union Canal with a well-stoked stove burning. Because of the awful weather we are still on our mooring about 20 yards away from the infant River Avon which flows parallel to the canal on the far side of a scrubby bank beside our boat. When we heard the familiar kingfisher “peep-peep” we looked out hopefully and were rewarded by the sight of a pair in tandem skimming the water at high speed past the boat before circling down to the river. The amount of calling and sightings made us realise there were at least four

a family of kingfishers

Kingfisher pairs bond in Jan/Feb and usually nest in an exposed stream bank where they excavate a circular-mouthed tunnel near the top of the bank. Construction of this 15-100cm long tunnel is started by flying at the bank and driving in their strong bills, then it slopes gently upwards to the chamber at the end. Two or sometimes three broods of

34 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


usually seven eggs are laid between March-July and the young are fed on small fish, with their excrement being directed into the tunnel from the nest chamber. This, along with discarded fish waste, makes such a mess of the tunnel and nest chamber that dark slime trickles from the hole and the adults have to bathe every time they leave the nest. When the juveniles leave the nest the parents drive them out of the territory in noisy chases to find fresh sources of food. They eat mostly small fish, plus insects, tadpoles, small molluscs and crustaceans. Adults catch fish on average every two or three dives, while inexpert juveniles can take eight to ten dives to catch one and may drown if their feathers become waterlogged by diving too often. Kingfishers are particularly vulnerable in severe winters when many die of cold and starvation if the water freezes and cuts off their supply of fish. However, they are seldom preyed on by other birds who avoid them because of the unpleasant taste of their flesh. After that day in May the kingfishers seemed to have moved away, as we saw and heard nothing of them at all, until we returned to our mooring in June when a pair of them was busily flying to and fro across the canal there, always heading to the same spot on a vertical section of mud bank where they were excavating a new nest. I watched them all day, engrossed in their task, and thought they had chosen a poor site, with many passing boats and on the very corner of a turning point and marina entrance. The increasing summer boating activity at that spot may have been too much for them as we did not see them in early August, although we heard their calls nearby and hope they will successfully raise another brood to charm us.

OBITUARY Anne Marshall We are sorry to share the sad news that Anne Marshall passed away earlier this year. Anne had enjoyed volunteering in the tea room for a number of years and convinced her daughter, Jane Malins, to help too. She continued to support the tea room event when she could no longer help, by regularly visiting with her husband, Bernard. They were also both responsible for running a tombola stall at our Christmas Bazaar and it was always brimming with goodies that they donated which further increased the funds raised for the RST. Anne will be sadly missed by all of us.

www.riverstourtrust.org 35


2013 - DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Sun 10 Mar until Sun 27 Oct

Sudbury Boat Operations due to commence. Sun 10 until Sat 30 Mar - Bookings only. Sun 31 March - Scheduled trips available.

Sun 31 Mar until Sun 27 Oct

Lower River Boat Operations due to commence. Waterbus on Saturdays – one-way trips between Dedham & Flatford Flatford to Fen Bridge return trips on Sundays

Easter Sun 31 Mar until Sun 27 Oct

Granary Tea Room due to open Sundays & Bank Holiday Mondays. Homemade cakes, light lunches, hot & cold drinks, Fairtrade items

Bank Holiday Mon 27 May

Teddy Bear Boat Rides at the Granary, 11.00am - 4.00pm Young children and their teddy bears travel free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult

Fri 8 & Sat 9 Jun

Members only - Chairman’s Cruise - A small scale, social canoeing event limited to RST members (and their friends).

Fri 21 Jun

Members only - SBOC BBQ at the VEC - A social gathering organised by SBOC for volunteers, their family and friends

Sat 3 Aug

Coracle Regatta at Bures Recreation Ground, Midday - 5.00pm Watch the races or have a go!

Bank Holiday Mon 26 Aug

Pirates on the Stour at the Granary 11.00am - 4.00pm Young pirates travel free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult

Sat 7 & Sun 8 Sep

S2C (Sudbury to the Sea) Weekend canoeing event, camping available

Sat 28 Sep

Illuminated Boat Procession at Sudbury

Sun 27 Oct

Last day of the season - Boat operations and Granary Tea Room

NB Further details and more events may be added (check the website/contact office) – voluntary assistance is vital to ensure that these events run smoothly! If you would like to help at any of our events or for more information, please contact Catherine in the office on 01787 313199 or email administrator@riverstourtrust.org Administrative Office (at VEC) open: Monday to Friday, 10.00am - 4.00pm

ADVERTISING RATES Quarter page = £40.00 Half page = £75.00

Third page = £50.00 Full page = £90.00

Rates are per single issue All prices are plus VAT 10% discount available to anyone paying for 2 adverts at the same time (adverts must be identical)

36 The River Stour Trust Restoring and Conserving the River Stour Navigation


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