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Issue No. 2012-1

March 2012


st Midlands R e W eg A. . io .W a g ti vi

The IWA is a national organisation and campaigns for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the Inland Waterways.

England and Wales are divided up into eight ‘Regions’ for administrative purposes. One of these is the West Midlands Region. This Region, like all the others, has a Region Committee who meet regularly, presided over by a Region Chairman. Meetings are timed to come shortly after “board meetings” of the Trustees of the Association and other national sub-committees which coordinate the running of the association. Representatives of the Trustees and other national committees at the Region meeting can pass down information from the recent national get-togethers and by this means communications are filtered down, eventually resulting in announcements to rank and file members at monthly socials. Information is also picked up by members who sit on committees such as Restoration Committee and Navigation Committee, so a path is provided to pass opinions and responses up to the next round of meetings.

Regions and Branches Regions are split up into three or more branches. There are 34 in all. West Midland Region is divided into four branches : • Birmingham, Black Country and Worcestershire Branch. • Lichfield Branch. • Stoke Branch. • Warwickshire Branch. 2.

Navigation In addition to this role in the communications chain, West Midlands Region also communicates directly with its members by producing this quarterly magazine. Stoke Branch also produce three copies per year of their longstanding publication; ‘Knobsticks’. Navigation is mailed to each of the Region’s membership addresses and aims to keep everyone, even those who for one reason or another cannot get to talks and socials organised by the branches, up to date. ‘Navigation’ has been in continuous publication for over 50 years. We aim to bring readers a variety of items of local interest, news of forthcoming events and provide a vital contact with IWA. We try to avoid unnecessary repetition of items printed in other waterways publications, but certain important issues may be mentioned to raise awareness. Primarily for the benefit of our members, Navigation is also distributed in a limited way for non-members to pick up and gain an insight into what’s happening in the Region and the aims and activities of the Association. Membership of the IWA is open to everyone and companies and organisations can have ‘corporate membership’. Anyone wanting to join the IWA should see the back cover item about obtaining an application form. March 2012


Navigation 2012/1 Item

Page 4-5 6 7-8

Annual General Meetings Calcutt Capers Festivals


Avon Calling / Boundaries


Canal Clean-up / Warwick Bar

11 - 12

Evesham River Festival / Droitwich Canal


Moira - Ashby Canal


BCN Cruises

15 - 17

Social Events

18 19 - 20

Festivals / IWA Branches Region Chairman


Birmingham Branch Chairman


Stoke Branch Chairman


Warwickshire Chairman


Boat Gatherings


Lichfield Chairman





The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy, or as an official pronouncement, unless specifically identified as such.

The Association accepts no liability for any matter published in this magazine, including adverts. No reproduction is permitted without acknowledgement. We would like to thank contributors of photographs for providing their property for publication.

WRG stands for Waterways Recovery Group, a subsidiary of the IWA. The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is a registered charity No. 212342. IWA Registered Office : Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel 01494 783453 Printed by Eltom Printers, 10 Wrens Court, Victoria Road, Sutton Coldfield B72 1SY.

March 2012


Notice of Annual General Meetings Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meetings of the West Midlands Region of the Inland Waterways Association, and of its four Branches will take place at the following places and times: West Midlands Region, on Wednesday 14th March 2012 at Sports Connexion Leisure Club, Ryton on Dunsmore, CV8 3FL – following the Warwickshire Branch AGM – as below. Warwickshire Branch, 7.30pm on Wednesday 14th March 2012 at Sports Connexion Leisure Club, Ryton on Dunsmore, CV8 3FL. Birmingham Black Country & Worcestershire Branch, 7.30pm on Monday 19th March 2012 at the Social Club, Ashwood Marina, Ashwood Lower Lane, Ashwood, near Wombourne. Stoke on Trent Branch, 7.45pm for 8.00pm on Friday 9th March 2012 at the Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club, Endon Wharf, Post Lane, Endon, Stoke-on-Trent ST9 9DT Lichfield Branch, 7.30pm for 7.45pm on Wednesday 21st March 2012 at the College Hall, The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD The Close encircles the Cathedral, accessed off Bird Street

AGENDA (Branch AGMs) The Agenda for each meeting will be as follows: 1. Apologies for absence 2. Minutes the 2011 AGM and any Extraordinary General Meetings held subsequently, and matters arising from these minutes 3. Report from Branch Chairman 4. Financial Report 5. Elections to the Committee 6. Any resolutions requested by members of the Branch and notified to the Branch Chairman at least 6 weeks prior to the AGM 4.

March 2012

AGENDA (Region AGM) 1. Apologies for absence 2. Minutes the 2011 AGM and any Extraordinary General Meetings held subsequently; and matters arising from these minutes 3. Report from the Region Chairman 4. Elections to the Committee 5. Any resolutions requested by members of the Region and notified to the Region Chairman at least 6 weeks prior to the AGM. Branch and Region Committee Elections Candidates for election to a Branch or Region committee must be members of the relevant Branch or Region, and the candidate must indicate his/her willingness to stand. All elected members of a Region or Branch committee who have held office for a term of three years have to retire, as does any member co-opted during the committee meetings since the last AGM. Members in either category are eligible for re-election. There shall be at least 3 elected members of each Branch and Region committee but there is no upper limit to the number of members. In addition to the elected members, each Branch chairman is ex officio a member of the Region Committee. The committee officers (Chairman and Secretary) shall be elected by the committee from its membership at their first meeting following each AGM. West Midlands Region Allan Gilbert Clive Henderson

Members completing 3 years in post Members co-opted since the previous AGM

Members completing 3 years in post

Members coopted since the previous AGM March 2012

Pat Barton

Birmingham BCW Branch

Lichfield Branch

Stoke on Trent Branch

Chris Neal

John Stockland Neil Hodgson


Pete Gurney

Warwickshire Branch Ian Jackson Ian Fletcher Peter Webb Greta Russell Anthony Davies Richard Sanders

Andrew Watts Graham Nicholson Elisabeth Redhead 5.

Calcutt Capers. Of all the volunteering undertaken by Warwickshire Branch members in 2011, the largest single project has been the re-painting of Calcutt locks. Eight members spent some 150 man-hours over five days in late June and early July re-painting the 3-lock flight. (Fig 1)

Fig 1. A Warwickshire Branch work-party at Calcutt Locks in June. (L to R: Ian Fletcher, Greta Russell, ‘Nick’ Nicholson, Phil Arnold, Peter Webb and ‘Alpha’ & Carol Nicholson.)

As a ‘quid-pro-quo’ for this BW enabled us to undertake a lock-ransom on the flight over the weekend of August 6th & 7th. Although our first such event, it turned out to be our most successful individual fund-raising venture to-date – with more than £350 raised for midland waterway causes. However, it was deemed by all who took part to be more than just a financial success. IWA’s profile was raised among both non-member boaters and towpath users, and participating members enjoyed its social aspects so much that they were already asking ‘when are we going to do this again’ – long before we’d even packed up and counted the ‘takings’.

Fig 2. At the Warwickshire Branch Lock Ransom at Calcutt in August, donations made by passing boaters were of course entirely voluntary: except in the case of certain Branch members – such as Pat & Ann Rudeck, on their boat Dapplejem! Here you see them being ‘persuaded’ by Simon Angel, and ‘Alpha’ Nicholson.


March 2012


Mike Moorse Last year’s Waterways Festival was held the organisation get paid for the privilege the weekend of 29th July to 31st July at - we get nothing for free and pay the same Shobnall Fields, Burton upon Trent. It as everyone else who attends the Festival. differed from previous years, in that it was I have the privilege of being one of the held on the last weekend of July as opposed Waterspace Team, my official title is to the ‘normal’ time of August Bank Holiday Waterspace Manager. My task also started weekend and from Friday to Sunday as way back in October 2010, when, together opposed to Saturday to Monday. Another with my Waterspace Director, we held a difference that year was that the sun site meeting at Burton with the local BW shone all weekend and the crowds came Manager. Various details were discussed out. Rumour has it that the Festival made with BW covering moorings, vegetation, a profit but I am not privy, at the moment, loan of a tug and flat for the Lavender Boat to the actual figures. I do know that the (a quaint term for the boat whose crew site looked busy and at times the towpath empty the loos and dispose of the rubbish was absolutely heaving. Almost 300 boats for all the moored boats!), grass cutting, made the journey to Burton, 28 of which signage, extra water supplies ad infinitum. were historic boats, some laden with coal, For me, then the real planning starts. I and they made a wonderful sight breasted made several visits to Burton where I up along the towpath opposite the main could be seen with a yellow surveyor’s wheel and several aluminium tubes with Festival site. The purpose of this article though, is not a piece of string and some weights tied to talk about the Festival itself, this was to the end. The purpose of the wheel is only 3 days out of a much longer time obvious, I measure the area I intend to use span. The purpose of this artice is to ‘look for moorings, showing locks, bridges, etc. behind the scenes’. The planning started a and it all goes down into a little notebook. long time ago, a date and location for the The aluminium rods are used to check the 2011 Festival was decided before the 2010 depth of water in the canal. It is no good Festival actually opened. A meeting was trying to moor a 3 foot draft working boat in held in Burton during October 2010 when 12 inches of water! the 2011 Festival was officially launched, From all these measurements I then spend and a Chairman was appointed for the the winter months transferring all the data Festival. Last year the choice was Harry obtained onto computer maps, that I draw Arnold, a very appropriate choice given his with the aid of Google Earth and a Turbocad knowledge of the canals and the fact that programme. I then allocate boats to the he also lives locally and had many useful moorings. The allocation of moorings is undertaken using a complex formula, this local contacts!! Various people, all of whom are volunteers, takes into account various factors such as freely give large amounts of their time over length, draft, disabled persons on board, the winter months to help organize the boat access, animals on board, block Festival, when they start the actual work bookings, charity boats, date of booking of planning. There are various Festival (boats booked in before a set date enter a Directors who cover Site, Waterspace, lottery, the number of which is used with Campsite, Supplies, Entertainment, the rest of the criteria.) Commercial, Advertising and Publicity, This carries on throughout the year, boats Catering etc. etc. It is a common myth in being added as the entries come in, maps some places that those of us who help in printed off for the information of other 7. March 2012

organisers, with meetings few and far between because of the costs of travelling and setting up meeting places. Spring 2011 arrives, and boaters start off on their travels, some leaving home as early as April on their roundabout journey to the Festival. There are trophies available for the longest journey to the Festival, the most meritorious voyage to the Festival and others. Two weeks before the start of the Festival brings the meeting together of those affectionately known as BODS. (This acronym stands for Builders, Operators and Dismantlers.) And this is what the BODS then do, they build the site, they operate the site and then when it is all over they dismantle the site. Many of the BODS come by boat, some come in campervans, some in caravans and some in tents. The Waterways Recovery Team, better known as Wergies, arrive on site en masse and set up camp. They do a lot of the heavy work, operate plant, and this year at Burton levelled two mountains of hardcore to make a flat car park for visitors. The site is marked out, security fences are erected, metal roads are installed (just in case it rains!!), water pipes are laid, electricity cables are laid, communications equipment is installed and telephones supplied, and, bit by bit, what was once an empty site becomes like a small town with all services laid on. By the time the actual Festival opens there are probably some 300 volunteers all helping in their own way to try and make the Festival a success. They range from programme distributors, table cleaners, bin emptiers, ticket sellers and every other service a small town requires. My team, who also arrive two weeks before the Festival, are also BODS. Our task is to prepare the moorings for the visiting boats. We cut down offside vegetation to make the canal wider – after all, when boats 8.

are moored two or more abreast you need space for other boats to pass. Landing stages are built for where boats cannot get close enough to the bank, moorings are marked out on the towpath so boats know where to moor. Harbourmasters are appointed and greet the visiting boats as they arrive and help them moor. Harbourmasters are an important part of the operation, in an emergency they know who is where and act as an initial point of contact. Luckily, emergencies are few and far between. Then it is all over, boaters leave, the site is dismantled and when left the site is probably cleaner and tidier than when we arrived. And what do we get out of this? We get the satisfaction that we have helped to put on a successful event, that we have hopefully done a good job, we have dealt with complaints from disgruntled boaters (these are very few and far between – boaters are an adaptable lot!!) And then there is the real prize – all helpers get the coveted commemorative blue T shirt especially printed for each Festival. And what about this year? There will be no Festival in 2012 as many of the IWA volunteers who help organise a Festival will hopefully be helping BW manage moorings in London for boaters attending the Olympics. BW approached IWA and asked us to help them as they were impressed with the way we organise and manage our Waterways Festivals. And then, for 2013, we might, just might be heading south onto the Kennet and Avon Canal for a Festival at Newbury. Initial approaches have been made and plans already set in motion for a Festival that is almost two years away. It will not be long before I will again be seen out on a distant towpath with my yellow surveyor’s wheel and bundle of aluminium tubes!

March 2012

Avon Calling Within the Association nationally, we have members – both individually and in ‘clusters’ – who live at or near the periphery of their Branch area, and/or are some distance away from their Branch’s regular meetings venue. In other parts of the country such members have come together to form Branch ‘satellites’, or simply informal groups of like-minded ‘friends of the waterways’; and in some locations these small groups have ultimately evolved into completely new branches. In our Region, but particularly in south Worcestershire and south Warwickshire, some members find themselves living some distance from the ‘centre of gravity’ of their respective Branches – and perhaps as a result may feel somewhat ‘out of things’. Because of this, as a Region, we would like to find out from such members if there is any way in which we can serve them better. Consequently Dave Pearson and Ian Jackson, their respective Branch Chairmen, will shortly be writing directly to their members in the relevant post-code areas, with a view to setting up an informal meeting – probably in the Evesham area - to see if, and if so how, we can improve the service that we offer them. If in the meantime any members in this part of our Region have any ideas on how they would like to see our activities evolve could they please contact their respective Chairmen – who’s details can be found elsewhere in the magazine.

British Waterways boundary change in Worcestershire/Birmingham (Taken from a recent BW Press Release) Subject to a number of technical and operational details which have yet to be finalised, as of April 2012 the following areas will be transferred from the South Wales & Severn waterway (under manager, Nick Worthington and his team) to the West Midlands (under manager, Dean Davies and his team): - a 1km length of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, incorporating Stourport Basins. - a 4km length of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from Kings Norton Junction to the south portal of Wast Hill Tunnel at Hopwood Cutting.

The changes do not include transferring any permanent staff, but seasonal staff and volunteers based at Stourport will be affected. Both waterways will be working with those affected to ensure that the switchover causes the least disruption possible. As far as possible all on-going planned work will be completed in time for the transfer. Local external stakeholders and local waterway staff have already been consulted and are supportive of the plans.

The main reasons for this proposed change are : ∙ Better alignment with local authority boundaries ∙ Better alignment with stakeholders (for example, volunteer groups, community groups, canal societies and regeneration/enterprise areas) ∙ Efficiencies in redeployment of resources and operational bases (for example, to deploy staff on the Droitwich Canal) March 2012


Canal Clean-up Fri April 20th Sat April 21st Sun April 22nd. Walsall Canal This year IWA are doing 3 days with the wholehearted support of Walsall Council. Friday with two local schools & will hopefully spark off an interest in the canals. Rollingmill Street towards the bottom of the locks, up the Locks & around Birchills Junction. On Friday supervisory help on the towpath is needed to keep an eye on the youngsters.

The answers to common questions : Anyone can help. You don’t need previous experience. You are never too old. You can just turn up on the day if you want to - it’s never too late to decide to have a go. There is no minimum session time. You will be welcomed - you might even get a cup of tea ! You will feel better afterwards. Ring Dave on 01299 404273 or Mobile 0752 7197842

Warwick Bar Something interesting is happening on Warwick Bar. Small changes have unlocked different ways of using the spaces and buildings. New partners to the site are complementing existing industrial and creative tenants. But how can more opportunities be developed to make the site work better for individual businesses and organizations, and how can this help the wider Digbeth area? One interesting feature is the mooring for a new trip boat under construction. There used to be a high brick wall at the back of the Fazeley Street Industrial Estate hiding the canal. The wall has now been demolished and there are steps giving access to a mooring which has connections to electricity and water. To record and disseminate some of these new ideas the first Warwick Bar newsletter has been produced. You can download it from 10.

The newsletter includes.... • a calendar of events • contact details, availability and cheesy picture of Luke, Warwick Bar’s caretaker • issues that arose from the ‘permaculture’ consultation event, to be actioned in 2012, such as ‘How can we sort out the bins and fly-tipping? How can communications be more effective? Its freezing… we need to be able to work here; How can we get use of buildings for public events? What’s the importance of opening up the canalside? How do we keep the diversity of tenants and users strong? Etc’ • an invitation to you to join an open meeting with British Waterways and ISIS which was held on the 21st February to discuss ideas to develop Warwick Bar’s canal and waterside amenities • other improvements suggested at the ‘permaculture’ event, such as noticeboards to allow tenants and friends to share opportunities and ideas. March 2012

Evesham River Festival 7th July 2012

The Evesham River Festival has been held on the Avon in one form or another for well over 30 years and without Mr Barwell and his dedicated band we would certainly not have such a splendid facility as we do today in the middle of our town. We are hoping that 2012 will be a special year when we will to celebrate this ‘Golden’ event  with the Mikron Theatre, fly pasts, food village, crafts stalls, music, boat demonstrations and competitions. There will be a traditional beer tent and pig roast and, of course the famous illuminated boat parade and the best firework display in the county. More in the next edition.

Re-enactment The Avon Navigation Trust is planning on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Lower Avon Navigation with a re-enactment of the events that took place in 1962. Douglas Barwell was the founder of the Lower Avon Navigation Trust, after 12 years of leading volunteers to restore the navigation, his wife re-opened the lower stretch of river by cutting a ribbon at the site of the old Cropthorne Water Gate just below Jubilee Bridge, near Fladbury. At the same location, we plan on re-enacting the Flotilla of boats that took place in the opening, to celebrate the 50 years of navigation on the Lower Avon.

Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust Ltd ROYAL VISIT

The new Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust – formed in July 2011, to take over from the Droitwich Canals Trust – got off to a flying start with a visit from Prince Edward Earl of Wessex, on December 1st.

Prince Edward’s short trip along the canal provided the Trust’s Chairman, Pam Davey, with an opportunity to explain to the Prince how the Pamela May charity trip boat operated for the benefit of the disabled and disadvantaged – highlighting the programme of training that had already produced a new team of fifteen qualified volunteers. She also outlined the voluntary work that the Trust would be carrying out to ‘Protect and Promote’ local canals for both boaters and the wider community.

For further details of these and other events, please contact Pam Davey on 01905-773289. March 2012


40,000 People and 150 Boats over two days in the heart of Stratford-Upon-Avon… By popular demand the Stratford River Festival will be returning to the banks of the River Avon over the weekend of

30th June and 1st July 2012.

The packed programmed of events ensures that’s there is something for all the family to enjoy, whether it be admiring the flotilla of over 100 decorated narrow boats, watching river demonstrations by the dozens of national clubs, ambling through the craft market, savoring an assortment of global foods, being inspired by the dozens of local charities, joining in on the fun in the family zone to supping a pint of real ale, being amazed by the fabulous fireworks display or simply sitting back in a deckchair and soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the selection of world class performers on the bandstand.   For more details :

Spot-dredging on the BCN

1/    Friday 16 March 2012 - Thursday 19 April 2012, on the Birmingham Old Main Line Canal 2/    Thursday 1 March 2012 - Thursday 10 May 2012 on the Walsall Canal         BW will be carrying out spot dredging works along the channel to remove debris and clear encroaching reed margins on these canals.         Whilst these canals and towpaths will remain open, there may be delays of up to 30 minutes maximum whilst plant is moved out of the way to allow safe passage.  Boaters should approach the dredger with caution and await a signal from the dredger driver to pass.         BW apologises for any inconvenience caused. For further enquiries phone: 01827 252000.  12.

March 2012

Moira Canal Festival 19 & 20 May.

Ashby Canal Trust is holding this year’s Moira Canal Festival and Trailboat Rally on the restored isolated section of the Ashby Canal. We are welcoming Zero Gravity, bike stunt team, and they will be showing off their mountain bike stunt skills, including a jump across the Ashby Canal –probably the first!

Festival site at a previous event. Plus the chance to watch their amazing performance close up on the main site. We welcome back Tommy Atkins, with their WW II re-enactment - they are practicing with the firepower already. A 10 piece swing band will entertain, as well as Morris dancing and children’s entertainment. Plus live steam and classic cars and a bar. There will be demonstrations, vintage engines and a variety of refreshments – all at the Heart of the National Forest, at the Grade II listed Moira Furnace.

available from www.moiracanalfestival., as are charity and trade stand forms. Site open from 10.00 to 5.30 both days. Furnace Lane Moira, DE12 6AT. For further information, visit www.moiracanalfestival., or tel.01530 515273. All proceeds go towards Ashby Canal Restoration.

Trailboaters are invited to bring their boats and enjoy the event with us. There are two permanent slipways available. Launching on Friday is available, other times by arrangement with the harbourmaster, Paul Johnson. For an application form or if you have any questions, on 01530 274968 A downloadable boat booking form is also March 2012

Tightrope walk at a previous event. – Let’s see if the Mountain bikers can do even better! 13.

BCN 24 Hour Challenge 2012 The BCN Challenge will take place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June 2012, starting at 8am on Saturday and finishing at 2pm on the Sunday. The event is open to everyone with a boat licensed foruse on British Waterways canals. Historic working boats and pairs are particularly welcome. Boats may start at any point on the BCN but should finish at Walsall Town Arm. Participants may navigate for as long as they like during the 30 hour period up to a maximum of 24 hours. The winner will be the boat crew who amass the greatest number of points during the challenge. Additional points will be awarded for navigating lesser used waterways and there will be bonus points for correctly answered questions at certain places. All boat entries will receive a commemorative plaque and the winning boat crew will also receive a shield. The winners will be announced by post shortly after the event with presentations taking place at the Society AGM on 2nd November at the Bonfire Rally, Smethwick. There will be an entry fee of £15 per boat which includes the commemorative plaque. The entry fee for a working pair will also be £15. The entry fee will include 12 months membership of the BCNS for those entrants who have never been members of the Society. (Applies to team leader only) For an entry form apply to: Mr R Kenn, 14 Hollemeadow Avenue, Walsall, West Midlands, WS3 1JQ. Telephone: 01922 428644 email: 14.

BCN Explorer Cruises 11th - 18th May & 20th – 26th May 2012 The BCN Society formed in 1968, exists to conserve, improve and encourage a wide range of interests in the 100 mile network of Birmingham and Black Country waterways known as the B C N. It is the intention of the Society to hold two cruises in 2012 - to encourage boaters to explore the Birmingham Canal Navigations, either side of the BCN Society’s Summer Rally at Titford. We have found that many boaters prefer the additional security of cruising in the company of other boaters, and they enjoy the social side of informal gatherings and organised activities at the designated mooring locations. This year we include walks and a conducted tour of BW’s Bradley Workshops. Details of the route are given below. The first cruise will commence from Curdworth, at Wigginshill Bridge, near The Kingsley on the morning of Saturday 12th May, finishing at Titford Pump House on Friday 18th May - ready for the BCNS Summer Rally. The second cruise will leave the Rally at Titford on Sunday 20th May finishing at Hawne Basin. Cruise “A” (Stops for the night) :Saturday 12th – Above Perry Barr locks, Sunday 13th Manor Arms on Daw End Branch, Monday 14th – Pelsall Common, Tuesday 15th – Walsall Town Basin, Wednesday 16th – Willingsworth Hall Bridge, Walsall Canal for conducted tour of BW’s Bradley Workshops, Thursday 17th Tipton evening walk/talk, Friday 18th – Titford Pump House Applications from: Stuart & Marie Sherratt email: phone: Marie 07709 165073. Stuart 07510 167288 March 2012

Social Events

There are many social events (talks, slide shows, walks, etc) organised by the local branches and by other organisations in and around the Region. All are open to the general public. Below are listed just a few, please come along and show support.

Birmingham, Black Country and Worcestershire Branch Meetings are held at Meetings start at

Ashwood Marina Social Club, Ashwood, Kingswinford, West Midlands DY6 0AQ 7.15 for 7.30. Non–members are very welcome.

For more information on talks, contact: Chris Osborn Tel: 01299 832 593 or e-mail: 19 March : 16th April 21st May

AGM The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway by Hilary Goldsmith WRG and its People by Mike Palmer Chairman Waterways Recovery Group

Lichfield Branch Meetings are held at College Hall, The Close, Lichfield Cathedral WS13 7LD Parking available close by, off Bird Street. 19.30 for 19.45 Contact Pat Barton, tel. 07947 337491 Thursday 8th March 2012 - Cannock Extension Canal and Woodland Walk. A circular walk of about 3 miles near Brownhills. No stiles and dog friendly. Meet at 10.30 am for a 10.45 start at The Toby Carvery (The Turf Lodge), Watling Street (A5), Norton Canes, Cannock, Staffordshire, WS11 9ND. Optional lunch and refreshments at the carvery afterwards. Leader: Heather Blackmore. Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email Saturday 10th March 2012 - Jumble Sale at Peace Memorial Hall, Pinfold Lane, Penkridge. 10am - noon. Set-up and jumble donations from 8.30am. Clothes, household goods, books, CDs, games, toys, small furniture, crockery, glassware, etc. Refreshments available. Admission 30p. (Held jointly with Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust). Donations of jumble can be brought to Branch meetings or to Penkridge early on the day, or it may be possible to arrange prior collection - contact the Chairman as below. An offer of temporary storage facilities, e.g. a shed or garage, would be appreciated.

March 2012


Lichfield Branch


Saturday 17th March 2012 - Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust are holding a Quiz Night with Fish & Chip Supper at Boley Park in Lichfield and have invited members of IWA Lichfield Branch to join them. Tickets £8 including supper (vegetarian option available). Tea/coffee provided or bring your own drinks. Start time 7.30 pm at Boley Park Community Hall, 7 Ryknild Street, Lichfield, WS14 9XU (next to the Co-op store plenty of free parking). More details and tickets from Sue Williams on 01543 671427 or book online at Wednesday 21st March 2012 - Annual General Meeting followed by an illustrated talk on ‘Progress on the Restoration of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals’ by Bob Williams. Sunday 1st April 2012 - Work Party at Brindley Bank, Rugeley. Scrub clearing, towpath mowing, remove trees on tramway, expose more tramway, expose more steps etc. 10.00 am start, expected finish 12.30 ish. Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email Wednesday 18th April 2012 - Talk on ‘The Wildlife of the River Severn’ by Brian Draper. Friday 27th April 2012 - Skittles Evening at Stafford Boat Club. With Stoke on Trent Branch and Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch members for a joint social evening with games of skittles. If you would like to join a team of 4 to 6 people representing Lichfield Branch, or can recruit friends or family to make up your own team, then please contact : Pat Barton on 01785 824012 or email

Stoke Branch

Meetings are held at Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club, Endon Wharf, Post Lane, Endon, STOKE-ON-TRENT ST9 9DT Meetings are held on the second Friday of each month until May. Contact is Alison Smedley MBE, Tel: 07779 090 915 Friday 9th March - Branch AGM followed by illustrated update on local waterway projects, including Burslem Port and on the Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals in the Churnet Valley.  Friday 13th April - an illustrated talk by Di Skilbeck of the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port Friday 27th April - Skittles Evening with Lichfield Branch and Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch, at Stafford Boat Club, 7.30pm.  Beef hot pot and apple pie and ice cream £7.50.  Names to Gillian Watson by 20th April if you would like to join the branch team (gillian. Friday 18th May - the Grand Canal of China - an illustrated talk by Liam D’Arcy Brown

Warwickshire Branch

Meetings held, second Wednesday in the month, at Sports Connexion, Rytonon-Dusmore, CV8 3FL - just off A45 at junction of A423 and A445 Contact : Sue Roy, Secretary, tel. 01926 497845 The programme for the 2011/12 season is printed in our programme card along with our A4 newssheet “Bear Essentials”. 16.

March 2012

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust

Saturday 17th March 2012 - Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust are holding a Quiz Night with Fish & Chip Supper at Boley Park in Lichfield. Tickets £8 including supper (vegetarian option available). Tea/coffee provided or bring your own drinks. Start time 7.30 pm at Boley Park Community Hall, 7 Ryknild Street, Lichfield, WS14 9XU (next to the Co-op store - plenty of free parking). More details and tickets from Sue Williams on 01543 671427 or book online at

Birmingham Canal Navigations Society

Meetings are held at Titford Pumphouse, Engine Street, Oldbury B69 4NL at 19.30 Social Secretary : Geoff Peakman tel. 0121 559 7486 Talks on the BCN Contact : Phil Clayton, tel. 01902 780920 / 07890 921413 April 5th J Keith Cheetham : The Black Country – A Tourist Destination Friday 20 April 2012 - Sunday 22 April 2012 BCN Clean-Up Annual BCN Clean-Up weekend in partnership with the Waterway Recovery Group. Venue:Walsall Canal Time:10:00 Contact:Mike Rolfe Phone:07763171735 Thursday 03 May 2012 : Engine Building at Boulton & Watt’s Soho Works Talk by Laurence Ince. Saturday 12 May 2012 - Friday 18 May 2012 : Explorer Cruise - A Commencing at Wigginshill Bridge, Curdworth, near The Kingsley on the morning of Saturday 12th May finishing at Titford Pump House on Friday 18th May ready for the BCNS Summer Rally. Contact:Stuart & Marie Sherratt Phone:07510167288 Saturday 19 May 2012 - Sunday 20 May 2012 : BCNS Summer Rally Summer gathering at Titford Pumphouse. Contact:Barrie Johnson Tel:0121 4224 373 Monday 21 May 2012 - Sunday 27 May 2012 : Explorer Cruise - B The second Explorer Cruise will leave the Summer Rally at Titford on Sunday 20th May finishing at Hawne Basin

Worcester-Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society

Winter venue (November to March) will be held at Alvechurch Boat Centres meeting room, Scarfield Wharf B48 7SQ at 8pm. Our summer venue will be held at The Boat and Railway, Stoke Prior B61 4QE for the months of April. May June September and October. Contact : Denis Pike, Programme Secretary, tel. 07870 939121, e-mail : 6th March – A year of Worcestershire nature. Slides of natural history from the past 12 months by Natugraph. 3rd April – Lydneys Lost Fleet. A return visit by popular historian Paul Barnett featuring hulks from the western shores of the Severn. 1st May – Lichfield and Hatherton Restoration update by Bob Williams March 2012


Moira Canal Festival 19, 20 May, on the restored Ashby Canal, Moira, North West Leicestershire, DE12 6AT. Trailboats, historic reenactment, mountain bike stunt team, family entertainment. Information and all booking forms Contact or 01530 515273

Boat Gathering linked with the

Selly Oak Park Festival

on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Saturday 30th June to Sunday 1st July 2012

This event is in support of the restoration of the Lapal Canal from its junction with the Worcester & Birmingham Canal through the Battery Park site, soon to be developed. The event will be a joint venture between the Lapal Canal Trust and the Worcester & Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Society support by the BCNS. Further details will be available shortly, for these and entry forms contact Ray or Helen Jones Tel: 01564 772 155 or email:

Stratford upon Avon Canal Society

Meetings are held at Village Hall, Wootton Wawen (B4089 opposite The Bull) Contact : Clive Henderson 01564 783672 or Visit :

Leicester Branch

Meetings are held at the Wheatsheaf Pub, Leicester Road, Thurcaston LE7 7JN Contact : Beryl McDowall, Social Secretary, tel. 07710 029247, e-mail : beryl@nbwasp.

Notts & Derby Branch

Meetings are held at the Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 7HY Contact : Mavis White, Social Secretary, tel. 01636 671726

Derby and Sandiacre Society Meetings are held at Gregory’s Bar, Aspen Drive, Spondon, Derby DE21 7SG Contact : Graham Treagus, tel. 01604 870515 Details on the website. 18.

March 2012

As you may already know, details of the revised funding package for the new Canal & River Trust (CRT) were announced on January 31st; and although we must now acknowledge that there is much more money ‘on the table’ – perhaps more than we could have hoped for – we must still ‘wait and see’ if there is actually enough to maintain the system in a ‘steady state’. We should also perhaps question the ‘base line’ from which steady state was determined; if it was poor when established, things will never get better than poor. Nevertheless, the Transition Trustees now believe that they have a sustainable charity, and a June launch looks the most likely next significant landmark on this journey. Although funding issues appear to have now been sorted, much other work remains to be done. We are constantly discovering that the new structures appear to contain shortcomings and missed opportunities. Some of the old British Waterways poor practices are beginning to show through, yet again begging the question is it just BW with a new name? We’ve been promised that BW personnel will undergo a culturechange, but so far there is little, if any, sign of this. The old Tipton Gauging Station saga raised its head again recently, when the developer resubmitted his proposals to Sandwell MBC - his previous approval having run out of time. And what did BW, who has assured us that they were now the saviour of all things waterway, do? - not a March 2012

lot! In fact, other than write a letter about the contents of the Covenant that they put on the building when they sold the lease, they remained silent and, without their essential presence at the Planning meeting to make these necessary points (that were not even picked up in the Planning Officer’s committee report), the whole thing, more or less, sailed through and was approved. The last time Gauging Station saga raised its head it was one of a number of key heritage structures on the waterways that were under threat. One of the main consequences of this situation was that a Heritage Group was set up within the British Waterways Advisory Forum to counter BW’s apparent uncaring attitude with regard to its built heritage. This group started to have an effect. The Group was successful, indeed it has been cited by CRT as an example of ‘best practise’. Key to its success was the inclusion of representatives of all national user groups - whose knowledge of such structures was second to none. Yet after citing it as best practise, and starting to set up similar groups to advise in other fields, what did BW/CRT do? They got rid of this invaluable expertise, and brought in outside academics - thereby ousting those with the intimate knowledge of historic waterside structures, and who had established the Group in the first place. Doubtless Tipton Gauging Station – as with other historic waterway corridor infrastructure and artefacts not actually owned by BW/CRT - has been overlooked simply because it is not part of the new Trusts portfolio; and of course the imported academics won’t necessarily know about them because they will not be on BW/ CRT’s ‘radar’. Talking about academics, now that the names of all the Chairmen of the Local Waterway Partnership are known, questions arise as to where they all came from? There are no familiar waterway 19.

names on the list, at least those known to us; and knowing that several of these have applied for these posts one has to ask the question how did the Chairmen get there. One has to suspect that many may have been told to apply and perhaps the decisions were even made before the interviews took place. Earlier I mentioned the successful outcome of the funding negotiations - much of which results from successful lobbying by IWA. Indeed those of you who responded when asked to write to your MPs have made a significant contribution to this. Our thanks go out to all of you who made this effort. So what thanks do IWA, and its members, get from CRT for all the hard work that it has done to improve its financial outlook well not a lot. In fact organisations that have done nothing towards this momentous achievement (some of whose waterway remit is only minor compared with its other activities) are able to nominate members to the Trust’s Council, yet those of us who have got it where it is today have received no appreciation in this regard. All this is totally wrong I hear you say - and you aren’t wrong to say that. Most organisations involved with the waterways are, in reality, special interest groups, and thus have the potential to push for a nominee for a Council place within their specific sector - albeit through a named individual, rather than that of their organisation. IWA’s remit is much wider, and this is where our problem lies. The posts within the Council are too specialised. If you have not read our National Chairman’s column in the recently published edition of Waterways I would urge you to do so; and possibly make your views known to CRT’s Transition Trustees - who clearly dreamed this up. Most Executives of BW/CRT appear to think that IWA is a boating organisation, which of course it is not. Given that most of these people have been in their posts and dealing with IWA for some time, it 20.

is surprising that they still don’t seem to have taken this on-board. If they cannot understand this when it’s been made clear to them many times over, then what hope is there that their staff will change their views either? Thankfully WRG has a pre-determined seat on Council – which seems a little surprising considering that it only represents a small number of the established waterway volunteers, and its core activities and CRTs core waterway responsibilities barely overlap. But with no pre-determined seat, what does IWA do? Also most of the well over 100+ waterway organisations (several of whose remit involves working on BW/ CRT waterways) see us as their national ‘umbrella’ yet, through this fiasco, they have no representation on the Council. Thus the many thousands of volunteers who make up the bulk of the waterway volunteers nationally have no voice. That is clearly not right, and most certainly undemocratic. So, until changes can be brought about to alter this unfairness, we have had little choice but to endorse a number of candidates for the boaters places on the Trust’s Council. Four of those are prominent West Midlands Region members (Pat Barton, Ivor Caplan, Clive Henderson and myself), and I would urge you to vote for us later this month when you receive the voting slips. There are 43 nominations for 4 places, and although this is perhaps not the place for me to do an electoral campaign, I would appreciate your support. Although in theory you have 43 opportunities to vote, by a strange irony the more that you vote for, the less you are likely to elect your chosen ones. Study the candidates statements carefully but only vote for a chosen few, because a wide spread of ‘low-order’ votes could accumulate sufficient to give a candidate, that few of us particularly want, enough votes to claim a seat. Finally may I wish a belated Happy New Year to you all. March 2012

We have been consulted about the boundary changes of BW areas, and raised no objection - see separate announcement.

A lot of Branch committee member’s time has been devoted to planning matters over recent months. The most noticeable has been the revised plans for Selly Oak Sainsbury’s development. The original designs for the site on the junction of the Worcs & Birmingham & Lapal canals have been completely revised so much so that the new developer did not include restoration of the first section of the Lapal canal as far as the new Harbourne Road bridge. Lapal Canal Trust has held talks with the developer and BW, which IWA have supported; these will hopefully lead to a navigable channel being reinstated. A further work party will have been held in the park area by the time you read these notes. The second big development concerns the Icknield Port Loop, which in several phases is envisaged to regenerate this area completely, with reinstated towpaths and visitor & residential moorings. Again in Birmingham there is a new scheme to relaunch the long stalled Digbeth redevelopment around Warwick Bar which although planned to start slowly may be accelerated by the government’s announcement in favour of HS2, which will impinge on the fringes of this area. Several marina schemes are also being talked about. With all these proposals we shall comment appropriately.

March 2012

Recently we have undertaken a photographic survey of the infilled Bradley Lock flight. This will be added to the historical notes kindly produced for us by Ray Shill to form part of a presentation to Local Authorities and other interested parties. If you would like a disc copy of this information please let me know. Can I please remind you that, in conjunction with BCNS, CCT, DCT & WRG, the Branch is supporting the annual clean up in Walsall on April 20/21/22. Come & get dirty - see separate announcement..

Dudley Canal Trust Dudley Canal Trust offer a range of trips from 45 minutes to 6 hours, offering a spectacular choice accompanied by videos, music, lifelike reconstruction of mining, allowing you to revisit the Industrial Revolution that changed our world. The 2 Hour trip through the Dudley Tunnel joins the Limestone Cavern network taking in the stunning audio visual shows and a chance to experience the old fashioned art of “legging” the boat from the tunnel.   This trip runs the first Sunday of each month. Our new 6 Hour Two Tunnel, Two Lock Tour takes you on a full day’s journey through the Black Country stopping off at the “Bumble Hole Tea Room”.  You go through the Dudley Tunnel, under the Viaduct and down the Locks in the Conservation area of Parkhead onto the Dudley No. 2 canal and Netherton Tunnel.  Visit our website to book or call us on 01384 236275. 21.

S t o ke B


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an r ge Ro ge va Sa

Burslem Port Stoke on Trent CityCouncil is not going to be in a position to support the bid for funding the scheme as currently being presented. Councillor Rosenau is supportive but the negative reaction from Heritage Lottery Fund hasn’t helped. Kevin Bell arranged for Roger Savage and two other trustees to meet Paul Hodgkinson who is in SOTCC Treasury Dept, responsible for applying for external funding. One or two other bodies were suggested as possible sources of funding. The Trustees will be considering the way forward. Roger attended a 2 day course run by the Princes Regeneration Trust, linking together various aspects of Burslem Community Planning. A workshop was held at Grindeys (Solicitors) Office in Stoke to complete the Trust’s Business Plan and devise a detailed action plan which deals with work to be undertaken along the site in 13 smaller sections. The Trust has applied to IWA Rescom for a grant towards the funding of a consultant to write an initial bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Together with the Branch Contribution and a similar one from the Trent & Mersey Canal Society, we will be able to match the City Council’s £6000. Discussions are currently taking place with City Officers to set this in motion. 22.

John Dodwell (Transitional Trustee for C&RT) had spoken to Les Sparks (Chairman of W Midlands HLF) at the Droitwich reopening, who had intimated that HLF W Midlands would be interested in another canal project. Using this intelligence, we tailored the Burslem Port project to be more heritage oriented by beefing up the importance of the extant Shropshire Union warehouse and wharf and emphasising the fact that the recently unearthed wash-walls are a heritage artefact. We then arranged to meet a Case Officer, Rex Carson and the Development Officer, Liz Shaw and did a presentation to them in their Birmingham office. At the end, their opinion was that seeking £5 million for HLF to fund the whole integrated scheme was not realistic. They felt that there was too much competition at the moment from other more eligible projects, and they had strong reservations about our ability to guarantee the quantity of outputs that they would expect for a grant of that size. They did however state that they could see HLF funding part of the project, namely the repair of the heritage buildings once we have acquired them.

Staffordshire Waterways Group There have now been two meetings of the full group, which includes three County Councillors and representatives of every waterway group with a canal in Staffordshire, as well as a planning group in December. It was agreed that future meetings would continue on an alternating basis, with the councillors being invited to every other one. Outputs hoped for will be to build the brand, link organisations together, raise awareness of 2 million people in Staffordshire to the potential of canals on March 2012

their doorsteps, links with public transport/ sustainability, developing web related links and getting tourism people to do more for residents as well as visitors with respect to canals. The group should aim to do what the Canal and River Trust can’t do, in particular supporting restoration and tourism. Much of the January meeting was taken up by a presentation by Steve Wood and Julie Arnold designed to stimulate discussion about developing canal-based tourism. The meeting also included a presentation from Chris Bailey (BW) on the Two Saints walk, a new pilgrim route linking Chester and Lichfield, which makes much use of canal towpaths en route. It was announced that the well-known Fellows Morton & Clayton steamer President and butty Kildare will represent Staffordshire at the Royal Pageant on the Thames in June. The Group agreed to organise and support the send off from Staffordshire in April, with events at Etruria, Stone and Fradley.

this subject – with particular regard to the southern Oxford Canal summit. Along with British Waterways, we recognise the need to man the Napton and Claydon lock flights - to maximise the use of the small amount of water that is likely to be available. Even with heavy rain this spring it is now unlikely that the Oxford Canal summit reservoirs can be adequately replenished. BW would like to recruit full-time volunteer lock-keepers. The alternative might be an IWA Branch organised rota of a number of its members such that no individual would be tied disproportionately to a daily commitment. Details would clearly need to be approved with BW but could not only help with keeping the locks open but also raise our Branch profile. Another urgent matter concerns the River Avon. Unless there is major water rationing in the Coventry and Leamington/Warwick urban areas an adequate supply of recycled water should ensure a sufficient flow of ‘liquid’ to keep the navigation open. However, 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration and re-opening of the river which was the then newly founded IWA’s first success.

As I put my thoughts to paper, two issues are going through my mind.

Quite rightly much of the credit for the achievement is given to the Lower Avon Navigation Trust but IWA played a very important role in getting the whole venture underway. Major anniversary events are planned to take place at Evesham and Pershore in July.

Firstly there is growing concern over the lack of winter rain and its consequent effect on keeping our canals open next summer. To add to this concern, my colleague Chris Wardley of Oxfordshire Branch has recently e-mailed and telephoned me on March 2012


STRATFORD RIVER FESTIVAL 2012 The increasingly popular Stratford River Festival will be held this year on Saturday 30th and Sunday 1st July There will be live music all weekend, beer tent, craft and charity stalls, family area, boats moored on the River Avon, and on Saturday night, an illuminated boat display followed by a spectacular firework display.

Details of the River Festival can be found at and to enable boaters to visit the Evesham and Pershore Festivals the following two weekends, an application form for a concessionary River Avon licence to attend all the festivals can be downloaded from the website Stratford River Festival Team

Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust Ltd EVENTS On March 21st there will be a Patrons Meeting at 7:30pm in Rotary House, Droitwich Spa. The speaker will be Jack Hegarty Chairman of the new South Wales and Severn Partnership. Visitors are welcome. . As part of the Droitwich Spa Summer Festival, June 23rd to July 7th; ; Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust will be organising a ‘Boat Gathering’ on June 22-24th to coincide with the start of this festival of music, art and water.


March 2012

ke Mi se or o M I would like to begin by wishing all readers, friends, colleagues and everyone else, a Happy and Prosperous New Year. I hope you all had a good Christmas..... Mine was spent in the French Alps with 4 foot of snow!! - truly a white Christmas for Jenny and me. What will the 2012 bring for us all ? Negotiations still continue as to IWA’s involvement in helping British Waterways (soon to be CRT) manage the moorings for boating visitors to London for the Olympics. Our programme of talks for 2012 continues up to and including the AGM meeting in April (details of meeting and location can be found elsewhere in this magazine). As I have just mentioned, the new Canal and River Trust is supposed to come into being in April, although talk of ‘slippage’ is already widespread. It remains to be seen what changes, if any, will be noticeable when BW becomes a charity. Talking about CRT, don’t forget that four ‘boaters’ are being sought to stand for election for the new CRT Council. IWA have entered four sponsored representatives, but I expect there will be many more suitably qualified boaters who will also seek election. Any boater who holds a 12 month Boat Licence, will be eligible to vote – so, I ask you, use your vote wisely. It is no good complaining later that you don’t agree with who is elected, if you fail to vote. Our ‘researchers’ are busy creating a programme of talks for our meetings next autumn and winter. Once finalised, all details will be published on the usual programme card. A new series of walks is March 2012

also being prepared to keep you all fit, and if you want to get dirty, there are always some work parties going on in the area to keep you busy! I have been advised that the Olympic Torch will be passing through Hopwas sometime in June (date to be confirmed) on its way to Tamworth and then on to London in due course. Unfortunately, I will be away on my boating travels, so will miss this great event, although I may be lucky to catch up with the torch somewhere else on my travels, as I hope to be heading for London. One of our members has written recently to BW about navigational matters or problems around the canal system. It would be very helpful if any Lichfield members could send a copy of any such reports to me for information as this will help us collate details of problems that we can then present to BW (or CRT) at the appropriate User Group Meetings. I hope you all enjoyed my report on n.b. Guelrose’s experience in last year’s BCN challenge. This year the challenge is being held over the weekend 2nd/3rd June, I can vouch for the fun in taking part, so, if any of you have a free weekend at the beginning of June, why not give it a go! Unfortunately, my main, very disappointed, crew member bought tickets for him and his wife to see Coldplay that weekend, something he cannot get out of, so I will not be participating this year – but there is always next year.

Trish Humphries

And finally, I expect you all are aware that we have recently lost a very long serving member of the Lichfield Branch, Trish Humphries. Trish had been a member of IWA for many years, and also served on the Branch Committee for a very long time. At meetings she could always be seen in the kitchen preparing and serving the teas and coffees during the break. Trish was also a stalwart member of L & H, and will be sadly missed by us all. 25.


Jon Axe

Graham Whorton

Many of you will not have known Jon but by now a lot of you have reaped the benefits of his hard work after you enjoyed your first cruise down the newly reopened Droitwich Canals last summer. Jon was one of those rare people who volunteered just at the right time and joined a potentially sinking ship just in time to prevent it going below the water. During the 90’s the Droitwich project was in the doldrums and outside help was sought by the then Trust chairman to take it on and move it forward. One of those people who came on board at that time was Jon. He took on organising and developing a local workforce that helped to keep the project moving forward whilst others were doing all the backroom work to find a mechanism, that was eventually successful, to obtain the major funding to complete the project. Maintenance and minor restoration, that demonstrates to the local population that the project is still moving forward, is all basic stuff but it was essential to demonstrate that the enthusiasm for the reopening of the canals was there. Whilst at times he did not see eye to eye with the Trustees, and some others, realising that the hard work he was doing was important everyone tried to work with him and he eventually joined the Board of Trustees and was thus able to make a significant contribution towards the management of the project as well as progressing the work on the ground. It is perhaps fortunate therefore that he was still well enough to see the reopening of the canals that was just reward for all his efforts over the last few years. Jon sadly died of cancer just before Christmas, having spent his last few days in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Graham sadly died in January after a long period of illness. Graham Whorton announced his retirement as Chairman at the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society Council Meeting in July 2011. He said that it was with great regret but his health has forced him to make this decision. BCNS all thanked Graham for his efforts over the past years for the many achievements he had made. Looking back through past editions of Boundary Post, it is surprising how little Graham’s name crops up prior to his becoming Chairman. This is perhaps an indication of the nature of Graham, who was always about and always involved, but never sought the limelight. He preferred to ‘get the job done’ quietly and efficiently.


John Moss It is very sad to report that John Moss has died less than 3 months after being awarded the Richard Bird Medal. John had been at the inaugural meeting of IWA Stoke-onTrent branch in 1974 and has served on the Committee ever since, championing a variety of initiatives including organising Working Parties, skippering a trip boat and attending events and festivals to demonstrate canal painting, fender making and knot tying, especially supporting the IWA education initiative “Wild Over Waterways – WOW”. John has been a leading light of Stone Canal Conservationists for many years - working to promote and enhance the waterway in the birthplace of the canal network, liaising with the Town Council and canal-side businesses in Stone. In particular his input into the town guides and distribution to boating visitors via attractive and secure canal-side “Town Information” leaflet boxes has been welcomed and emulated far and wide. March 2012

Contacts The next issue, No. 2012-2 is due to be published in May 2012. Your contributions and comments should be sent to the Editor, Allan Gilbert, by 10th April 2012. Please submit your news, comments, letters, photographs and articles to :

WEST MIDLANDS R E G I O N Chairman Vaughan Welch, 3 Beach Close, Northfield, Birmingham B31 3DB Tel. 0121 477 9782 Mob : 07971 202406 e-mail : Secretary Brian Kingshott, Park Cottage, Hopton Castle, Craven Arms, Shropshire SY7 0QF Tel: 01547 530457 Mob: 07831 572642 e-mail : The Region is made up of these four branches : BIRMINGHAM,BLACK COUNTRY AND WORCESTERSHIRE BRANCH

LICHFIELD BRANCH Chairman Mike Moorse Narrowboat Guelrose, Otters Holt, Lichfield Road, Hopwas, Staffordshire B78 3AE Tel. 07799 140068


Dave A Pearson Netherton Cottage 2 Netherton Lane, Bewdley DY12 1PT Tel. 01299 404273 or Mobile 0752 7197842

Secretary Kaye Harrison 01952 814753

Secretary Beckie Smith-Kearny


Chairman Roger Savage 19 High Street, Eccleshall Staffordshire ST21 6BW Tel. 01785 850967

Secretary Alison Smedley Hazelhurst Cottage, Denford, Leek ST13 7JT Tel. 01538 385388

March 2012


Chairman Ian Jackson 209 Daventry Road, Barby, Rugby, CV23 8TR Tel. 01788 891545 Secretary Sue Roy 46, The Butts, Warwick CV34 4ST Tel. 01926 497645





Issue No. 2012-1


st Midlands R e W eg A. . io .W vigati March 2012

The front cover picture shows the Grand Union Canal at Hatton Locks, near Warwick. A daunting prospect for first time boaters, but a joy for walkers and tourists.

Joining the IWA The Inland Waterways Association is always interested in recruiting new members. If you are not a member and would like any further information about the Association or you would like an application form, there are several means by which you can proceed. 1. Visit our website at 2. Visit any of our organised events. Each branch holds local talks and walks (details inside) and a national festival is coming up at the end of July details within. Talk to any of our members, committee members are usually readily identifiable at local meetings. Forms are normally available. 3. Contact any of the people mentioned on page 26, their contact details are included for your convenience. 4. Write to or phone IWA Head Office - the address / tel No. is on page 3. Whether you are a member or not, it is also well worth knowing that you can leave money to the IWA in your will. Details can be obtained,as always, from our Head Office as mentioned above.

IWA West Midlands Region Magazine, Navigation, March 2012  

IWA West Midlands Region Magazine, Navigation, March 2012