As a slight aside, but relating to the twoway traffic between us and CRT, the day after this edition goes to press CRT will be announcing the results of the vote for the ‘Volunteering representative’ on their Council. I know who I wanted, coz I voted for him, but whoever wins the vote I wish them well. As I said previously, it’s an exciting time for volunteering and, in my view, the job of the volunteering rep is not to keep volunteering at the top of CRT’s agenda but to make sure it is Regional groups going from strength to strength: London WRG on the S&N fully interwoven with all the rest of their agenda. Next, also looking forwards, the other big news on the WRG scene is the WRG Van Appeal. We always knew that if the Van Appeal was going to be spread over a couple of years, then there would be a quiet few months in the middle. Those dark winter months; where we enjoy the last few rumblings of 2015’s efforts. (Namely the rumblings from Bungle’s digestive system following his ‘Veggie for Vans’ month). We use this time to collect our thoughts and start to plan some suitably big and brash events to finish off the Appeal. Lo and behold: the first event is almost here, because the 2016 WRG Barn Dance is just a couple of months away. There is a separate article on this so I won’t go on here except to say that although they are always a splendid affair, this one looks like being a particularly brilliant version with the band all being (at least related to) navvies. I also like the accommodation I’m being offered. The van appeal itself is currently around about £90k – which is very, very good. Indeed we hope to have placed the order for two new vans by the time you read this. But a word of warning – not only is there still £30k to go but we also have to keep the existing vans in good enough nick to give them some resale value AFTER next summer! So please look after all the vans you encounter next year, not just the new ones. Finally back to Canal Camps. One fact you will spot is that is that we have put the price up by a quid a day to £9 a day. This is always a tricky decision: we hate the fact that we might be pricing people out of taking part, but the state of the Camps accounts speaks for itself. In reality it still represents fantastic value. It is also very true that this figure would be much, much higher than this if it was not for the funding we get towards our centralised costs, provided by our parent organisation: IWA. Elsewhere in this edition there is an article about what IWA should mean to us all. Please read it, without IWA support WRG would not be able to do any of the work I’ve talked about above. So there you are, as we look forward to 2016, everything is falling into place. But it won’t mean anything without our most valuable asset: brilliant, inspiring, endlessly passionate and proper bonkers volunteers. So do read the Camps Brochure, book on Camp or two and, perhaps for your New Year’s Resolution decide to go away on a dig to a site you have never been before, or with a group you don’t usually dig with, or maybe just in a month you normally avoid. I’ll see you there. Mike Palmer * Or at least you know an intelligent person who can read it to you!
Volunteers restoring the waterways. Read Navvies 274.