1 to attempt (eg the fulfilment of an obligation) by exertion of effort; 2 archaic to strive to achieve or reach ~ vi to make an effort to do something n a serious determined effort
Northampton Branch Newsletter - November 2016
THE WATERWAYS WORLD MOURNS THE PASSING OF DAVID BLAGROVE Hat’s off in celebration of his award of an MBE in June 2014. Behind David is Wharf Cottage, his canalside home at Stoke Bruerne for 50 years. (Picture: Kathryn Dodington)
David’s remarkable life is recalled on pages 16—20 JOHN’S GENEROUS LEGACY TO OUR LOCAL WATERWAYS
See Chairman’s Jottings on page 7 David Blagrove, MBE 22nd September 1937 — 12th August 2016
THE EFFORTS OF OUR ARM TASK PARTIES ARE COMMENDED IN THE LIVING WATERWAYS AWARDS — page 22
The IWA was founded in 1946 to campaign for the retention, restoraion and development of Britain’s navigable waterways and for their fullest commercial and recreational use. The IWA is a registered Charity (no. 212342) , whose work is supported by members’ subscriptions.
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EDITORIAL MUSINGS It scarcely seems possible that our Chairman is wishing everyone Season’s Greetings at the end of his Jottings. Yet another year has whizzed past – I am sure I am not getting that old for the passing of the seasons to be so swift! Thus it must be a time for reflection. Above all, of course, 2016 will be remembered as the year of David Blagrove’s passing in August. Tributes to his life’s involvement with the inland waterways have been many and, in some respects, humbling. Compared with others, I barely knew David. But even from our few meetings, I became aware of why people held him in such high regard. He was immediately approachable and friendly and from the word go, you felt he was a comfortable “old pal,” happy to spend time chatting with you. He always seemed to have the patience to explain the intricacies of boating and the history of the waterways scene in general (and the history of the railways, too, come to think of it) to a mere novice like me. In many ways, this really summed him up. I think the pages of Endeavour will feature items about David for many an issue to come. What else? Well, the stalwarts who comprise the Northampton Arm Adoption Group can justifiably take a deep, theatrical bow. They have been operating for over three years now and the praise continues to keep coming their way. It’s all very nice to receive accolades from high up (see the report on page 22) but I think just as important to the high vis jacket volunteers are the sincere thanks voiced by passing boaters who appreciate the improved conditions and appearance of the Arm together with the numerous congratulations from towpath walkers and local residents on what is being achieved, especially from the litter-picking aspect. There is no doubt that clean and tidy surroundings encourage respect and deter litterers. There will always be those who abuse the environment, which is a pity but we have to live with it. The Arm Task Party volunteers are a super group and deserve all the support we can give them – like joining in. See dates and contact details over the page. Another team who deserve recognition is Team Morton. Chairman Bernard has been in the driving seat for several years, ably assisted by wife Sandie as Branch Secretary. They don’t often get praise – more likely criticism. But who organised the arrangements for our Annual Dinner? Largely Bernard and Sandie, with Sandie carrying out the bulk of the spadework such as collating the menu orders and sorting the table plan, never an easy task. Thank you both. Sandie, by the way, is not averse to getting her hands dirty either, as she’s often found on a Task Party helping to paint a lock beam or litter pick. I could easily add to the list. There are a lot of unsung heroes around. Meantime, may I add my Season’s Greetings to those of the Chairman. It will soon be time to be thinking about 2017…or even 2018.
DIARY DATES December 6th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Christmas Quiz with Mick and Catriona Butler (Please note, this month only, first Tuesday in
10th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: Patrick Moss — Somerset Coal Canal Society February 14th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: Peter Gray (CRT) — Water Management March 14th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch AGM at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Followed by Tony Brooks — Boat Maintenance
NORTHAMPTON ARM TASK PARTY DATES December 10th. January 8th, 17th. February 5th, 21st. March 5th, 21st. April 2nd, 18th. May 7th,16th. Contact: email@example.com or phone 01604453932 BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY WORK PARTY DATES December 1st, 11th, 15th, 29th. January 8th, 12th, 26th. February 9th, 12th, 23rd. March 9th, 12th, 23rd.
For more information contact Athina Beckett firstname.lastname@example.org 01908661217 07721319404
Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership Work Party Dates December 14th. January 11th. February 8th. March 8th.
IWA Northampton Branch web site www.waterways.org.uk/northampton Please visit it regularly to see any updates
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Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton And so we say farewell to David Blagrove. A household name throughout the waterways world, we are fortunate that he was a “local lad”, living for 50 years at the heart of our patch at Stoke Bruerne. Most of us knew him, some obviously better than others. Roger Hasdell, who first met him in 1969, writes fittingly about his life in this Endeavour. Roger was, in fact, Vice-Chairman to David’s Chairmanship when the IWA Northampton Branch evolved from the South-East Midlands Branch in the early 1970s. In more recent times he was a colleague of David’s on the Council of The Friends of The Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum. So he got to know him well over the years. However, Roger tells me he realises his recollections of David’s life are far from complete, which is why he invites others to share their memories. I hope there will be a good response. I am sure there are some fine tales to recount. Indeed, the process began at the Branch’s Annual Dinner in October when several of those attending volunteered their reminiscences, notably Tim Coghlan, who I know has a ready store “DB Tales”. At the dinner I was the proud recipient, on behalf of the Branch, of a handsome wooden, but undated, shield (or plaque) acknowledging the Inland Waterways Association and featuring the Association’s former sword logo, which Jean Blagrove discovered, following David’s death, hidden in a room in the Blagrove household. The shield, which is fair weight, was made by craftsmen at the historic Tooley’s Dockyard at Banbury, with the paintwork by Herbert Tooley. Why it was created and for what occasion is not known. So, therefore, it is something of a mystery. But we shall find a home for it, suitably captioned, and my first thought is that the Canal Museum would be a suitable location. Have a look at the photo on page 24 and if you recognise it or know anything of its history, please let me know. GENEROUS LEGACY TO BRANCH. As reported in last February’s edition of Endeavour, we were saddened to learn of the passing of John Faulkner, a keen local boater and an early member of our Branch (then the Eastern Branch) from the late 1960s. Then from the 70s through to the early 2000s, he was a valued and active member of the Branch Committee. His last involvement with any Branch activity was his attendance on his boat Rohan at our 2014 Boat Gathering held at Braunston. Imagine our huge surprise and delight, therefore, to learn from IWA Head Office that John had remembered the Branch and IWA in his will, leaving a very generous legacy split three ways, each amounting to £41,870 - one to WRG (Waterway Recovery Group), one to IWA Northampton Branch and one to Northamptonshire or other areas of the UK. This means that the Branch unexpectedly has access to a considerable
8 amount of money for waterways causes and projects within our area. Head Office has informed me that Northampton Branch will also have first call on the amount designated for Northamptonshire or other areas of the UK. So … what do we use all this money for? What projects in our area do YOU feel should be supported? Put your thinking caps on and let me know your thoughts and ideas. My contact details are on page 34. ANNUAL DINNER. We returned after several years to The Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne for this. Undoubtedly the occasion can be marked up as a huge success. There was a full house of more than 50 in the upstairs restaurant overlooking the canal; decibel levels, I can confidently report, were strident and continuous! The meal was to a high standard and well served, a credit to all those involved. David Blagrove’s wife, Jean, was a guest of the Branch, and was accompanied by her two daughters and son-in-law. I am pleased to report that Jean has every intention of continuing with an IWA involvement. Our chief guest was CRT Chief Executive Richard Parry who, most gratifyingly, heaped praise on our Branch, particularly its adoption efforts on the Northampton Arm which were recognised this year with a Commendation in the Trust’s Living Waterways Awards. He said the Trust received more praiseworthy communications about improvements to the Arm than about any other length of waterway. I think we can be justly proud of this. There is a report and pictures of the dinner on page 24. I would like to mention here the presentation I made to Lynda Payton, a former Branch Chairman who, sadly this year, felt it necessary to step down from her active role with the Branch following her husband Sam’s illness. Lynda’s 19 years’ involvement was total. Her commitment never wavered and she is sorely missed. In accepting the gift, she said how pleased she was to be able to observe that the waterways were in a much better condition than when she started. I would venture to suggest that it is people like Lynda, working voluntarily for organisations such as the IWA, who make this state of affairs possible. Of course we won’t really be losing Lynda: she has a strong and continuing input to the Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum Friends’ group and the Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership. She just felt it necessary to reduce her commitments in order to devote more time to Sam who, through her sterling efforts, is making a strong recovery from the stroke he suffered earlier this year. Well done and thank you, Lynda. SOCIAL MEETINGS. Attendances have been okay, but not that good, at the early season monthly Branch social meetings at Blisworth. I know there are reasons, in September especially, when many people are on holiday, perhaps some of you away cruising the system – or, as in the case of one colleague, glued to his county cricket! Gemma Kinsey, who has taken over from Graham Treagus the responsibility of arranging the speakers’ schedule, has done a fine job in setting up the new season’s
9 programme, with speakers confirmed right through to the spring. Please come along to these meetings – all very friendly, entertaining and informative, on the second Tuesday of every month, September to May inclusive, at the Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth, beginning at 8pm. Last season’s attendances were well up on previous years; let’s keep up the trend. (Social Meeting dates are listed in the diary of events on page 4 and also on page 33.) CHANGE OF TREASURER. Alex Madisons, who has been our Branch Treasurer for a number of years, has decided to retire from this role due to work and family commitments. We thank him for all his hard work keeping track of Branch finances, which he will continue to do until the end of this financial year (December 2016). I am pleased to announce that Paul Lynam has agreed to take over the post of Treasurer from Alex as from 1st January 2017. He has already been co-opted onto the Branch Committee and will be liaising with Alex to ensure a smooth transition. Paul will be well known to those of you who have been on our Arm Adoption Task Parties as he has been a stalwart participant in these from the beginning. BRANCH COMMITTEE VACANCY. Following the appointment of John Pomfret as Eastern Region Chairman, we still have a vacancy on our Committee. John will continue to attend our meetings but will become an ex officio member. If you would like to have a more active part in our Branch’s decision making and on its future, please get in contact with me as soon as possible. The post of Publicity Officer is still vacant (since Lynda Payton’s retirement) but you don’t have to take on that role to join the Committee! SEASON’S GREETINGS. I know it’s early days, but as this is the last Endeavour of 2016 I feel it is timely to wish all members and supporters Season’s Greetings, whether on land or afloat. To my mind, good news in 2017 would be an about turn on the Rail Freight Terminal plan currently blighting the villages of Blisworth and Milton Malsor and all those who cherish the Northampton Arm.
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SAVE THE BRANCH MONEY! Stop receiving Endeavour by post and instead get it electronically. You will be notified by email when it’s published on-line. This will save in postage and printing costs. The printed version will be available at Branch meetings. Contact Geoff Wood at email@example.com and he will organise it. Editor
NEW BRANCH MEMBERS ARE WELCOMED We extend a warm welcome to the following who have joined Northampton Branch since the last issue of Endeavour
NEW MEMBERS Mr T Carter, Dodford, Daventry Mr G & Mrs T Newman, Braunston MR J & MRS C AKINS, Northampton
We look forward to meeting you all at our Branch events
SAVE THE DATE New venue and date for the 2017 Branch Boat Gathering
STOKE BRUERNE Friday 19th to Sunday 21st May Booking form and more details in the February edition of Endeavour.
Changes to 2017-18 boat licence fees From 1st April 2017 both private and business boat licence fees will rise by 2.5%, CRT has announced. Having capped licence fees to inflation for the past three years, the 2017 increase anticipates next year’s prevailing inflation rate which is widely forecast to rise between now and next summer. A CRT press release stated: “The rise in licence fees will raise income to ensure that we can continue to sustain the increased spend on maintenance over recent years. This has seen an improvement in the structural condition of the waterways and a significant reduction in the amount of disruption experienced by boaters.”
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JOB VACANCY Northampton Branch
ARE YOU THE PERSON WE NEED ON OUR BRANCH COMMITTEE? Northampton Branch is looking for a new Committee member after Lynda Payton’s decision to retire due to Sam’s illness following an impressive 19 years loyal, dedicated service to the Branch. What is involved? One committee meeting per month on 1st Tuesday (except for June, July and August) Role of publicity/grants officer is on offer but is not an essential part of the vacancy Positive way to contribute to help preserve our inland waterways heritage Salary — negotiable, but not exceeding £0 per annum! If you are interested in joining our team, please contact Bernard Morton, Chairman, 07785 375787 email Bernard.email@example.com
CRT’s WINTER STOPPAGE PROGRAMME IN OUR AREA Northampton Arm — 5th November 2016 to 16th December 2016 Lock 6: Gate replacement Lock 15: Refit gates Stoke Bruerne — 9th January 2017 to 17th March 2017 Locks 14 & 15: Refit gates and brickwork repairs Locks16 & 17: Re-fitment of gates and chamber brickwork repairs Lock 18: Replace bottom gate and refit top gate Lock 19: Refit top and bottom gates and repair slipway Lock 20: Refit top gate Cosgrove — 9th January 2017 to 20th January 2017 Repair top gate cill and refit bottom gates Leicester Line — 16th January 2017 to 24th February 2017 Park Farm Culvert: Reconstruction of culvert across the canal
LONG-SERVING GRAHAM TREAGUS RECEIVES A RICHARD BIRD MEDAL Graham Treagus’s long service with Northampton Branch was recognised with the presentation of a Richard Bird Medal at the Association's AGM at Wolverhampton at the end of September. In all, Graham chalked up a 42 years Branch involvement, during most of which time he was a Branch committee member and talks organiser for our monthly social meetings. Committee meetings were regularly held at his home, accompanied by refreshments. Graham (left) is pictured here alongside IWA National Chairman Les Etheridge at the AGM. Branch Chairman Bernard Morton said: “This is a highly fitting award to someone who has given so much loyal time and effort to the IWA cause.”
DAVID BLAGROVE: “A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE WHICH HE SO GRACIOUSLY AND GENEROUSLY SHARED” Most of us were well aware that David Blagrove had been fighting a courageous battle against cancer for several months, so that news of his passing at his canalside home, Wharf Cottage at Stoke Bruerne, in the early hours of Friday 12 th August wasn’t totally unexpected – nevertheless, overwhelmingly sad, writes Roger Hasdell. Surely David was a permanent fixture at Stoke Bruerne, a point of reference? A cheery welcome for all, a friendly chat; all was well with the world. But one day, we awake — and there is one fewer. David died a few weeks short of his 79 th birthday, just before the August Endeavour went to press. Tributes to his life have been many and generous and by now his achievements well chronicled. In the last Endeavour, Bernard Morton, our Branch Chairman, in his Jottings, described David as a “waterways polymath”. As undisputedly he was. I first met David in 1969 when planning for the IWA’s 1971 National Rally of Boats at Becket’s Park in Northampton first got underway. Immediately you became aware of his affection and commitment to the waterways scene, the canals in particular, One of David’s requests was that he should be taken by narrowboat on a final journey from his home to Blisworth Tunnel and return. Here we see Sculptor, Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum’s historic narrowboat, under the care of Julia Cook and Richard Traves, winding near the Tunnel’s southern portal (Picture: Kathryn Dodington)
Emerging from the southern portal of Blisworth Tunnel (Picture: Kathryn Dodington) and his deep store of knowledge and experience at a relatively early age – of the boats and of the boatpeople, their history and above all, of how the whole system operated. Indeed, in 2014, David was awarded the MBE “for services to Restoration of the UK Waterways”. It was an award universally applauded throughout the waterways world. I’m told David first saw some canal boats at the age of four from a train window at Brinklow and was apparently fascinated. Perhaps this is not so surprising as he was born and spent his early years in the Thames-side town of Abingdon. He was taken for walks by his grandmother to look at working boats in the Oxford area. At some point he got a job as “funnel boy” on Salter’s pleasure steamers, responsible for lowering the boat’s funnel at each bridge. When he was around 11, he moved with his family to Reading at a time when Sir John Knill and John Gould were running cargoes to Newbury on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Five years later he became involved with the canal’s restoration campaign in Reading and also joined as a crew member on the working boats Grebe and Snipe – probably the first working pair to be seen on the K&A for some 30 years. Later, with a friend, he bought the narrowboat Enterprise and together they ran passenger services from High Bridge Wharf, in Reading, on to the K&A. During the winter, contracts were sought from Thames Conservancy. David also enjoyed a short spell as a Thames lock-keeper, one of his claims to notoriety being when he fell into the water near a weir while the river was in flood!
18 David initially toyed with the idea of a career in the legal profession. However, it was not quite his scene although the experience he gained was to stand him in good stead later when he was able to represent the IWA at public inquiries with a degree of professionalism. Following his somewhat dramatic resignation from a firm of solicitors, which entailed him emptying a waste paper bin over the head of a managing clerk, David (with Enterprise) secured a job with the Willow Wren Canal Carrying Company under the command of the legendary Leslie Morton. Anything about David must be an abridged version – he did so much – but in the big freeze of 1962-63, he was frozen in at Stoke Bruerne. This effectively marked the end of commercial carrying on a viable scale, so David decided a “proper” job was important and a course he really ought to pursue. He married Jean in 1964 and following a chain of fortuitous circumstances, eventually moved into Wharf Cottage two years later. By now a qualified history teacher, he accepted a post at Roade Secondary School, where he remained for some 30 years. His teaching did not prevent him from commercial carrying, however, continuing to carry freight part-time, largely under the banner of South Midland Water Transport, and also taking schoolchildren on camping boat holidays. Over the years, David played a prominent role, locally and nationally, within the Inland Waterways Association, which he joined in 1960. Locally he helped to set up Northampton Branch in 1972 (previously it was the South-East Midlands Branch), being its first Chairman until 1978. Vigorous campaigning was paramount at the time – fighting for the retention of grain traffic to Whitworth’s Mills at Wellingborough was one example, and then David gave evidence at a public inquiry into the diversion of the A5 which bisected the line of the Old Stratford Canal, thus making the restoration of the Buckingham Canal more difficult. In 1983, David also presented evidence at a public inquiry over the routing of the Blisworth bypass and its effect on the Northampton Arm. He also held several national posts within the Association, serving as a Council member between 1981-90; he was appointed a Vice-President in 1991. In 1990 he was a founding committee member of what is now the Commercial Boat Owners Association, serving as Vice-Chairman until 2006 and frequently representing the CBOA at meetings of the Parliamentary Waterways Group at the House of Commons. He was also an Honorary Life Member of the Narrowboat Trust (formed in 1970) and also contributed to a website chat forum for the SMJ Society (Stratford Upon Avon and Midland Junction Railway), railways being another absorbing interest. In 2005/6 David co-founded a new volunteer group, The Friends of The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne, set up to help the then ailing museum which his house faced acrossed the water. He remained the group’s Chairman until last year and only weeks before his death was honoured by being made its President. He was also involved with other local canal-focused groups. What else in a remarkable life? Of course he was a noted waterways and railways historian and author – who hasn’t one his numerous books on their shelves? He regularly contributed articles to the waterways press and elsewhere; local and national
19 radio often called upon his services as well as television. Notably he wrote the
David returns to Wharf Cottage after his final canal journey (Picture: Rob Westlake) history of the IWA to mark its 60th anniversary. He was also an accomplished musical entertainer, being particularly sought after to perform at rallies and so forth with his squeeze-box and ukulele, singing songs about the waterways and telling memorable anecdotes. Not surprisingly he was a popular speaker. A full house was guaranteed whenever he spoke at our Branch social evenings. His final “speech” to Northampton Branch was at the 2015 annual dinner last October. He attended as the guest of honour, accompanied by Jean. He kept us entertained for fully 15 minutes, but it was clearly a struggle. He was so tired that he had to leave early, to warm applause. We all knew that “things were not right with him”. Therefore, this last Spring we were delighted he was able to attend the Branch’s annual Boat Gathering at Braunston and take part in one of the speaker’s discussions. I visited David several times when he was in Northampton General Hospital. “Don’t tire him,” was always the nurse’s instruction. An hour or so later he was still in entertainment mode. I was his sole audience member, until a nurse intervened to find out what the laughter was about. All he needed was the occasional prompt, and he was away again. I also have a friend who was one of his pupils at Roade school. “Did he ever tell you about the slipper?” he enquired. “No,” I replied. Apparently David had an old slip-
20 per which he kept concealed in his desk. When his pupils’ attention wandered, it appears, the slipper would emerge and would be brought down with a resounding thwack on the desk. Result: discipline restored and full attention resumed. “Completely harmless but one hundred per cent effective,” my pal recalls. I am sure you all have your own personal memories and stories about David. Another of mine dates back to the early 70s when I acquired a plywood 24ft Dolphin centre cockpit cruiser, outboard engine powered, the hull painted a dark green. With narrowboats tied up nearby, David gave what he obviously considered “a canal interloper” a close visual inspection. His verdict was tactfully restrained: “Well, at least she’s dark green – she’ll blend in with the countryside I suppose.” Any recollections of David’s life will inevitably leave aspects unrecorded. His talents were so many, his involvement so total. He had a wealth of knowledge which he so graciously and generously shared. Do you have any memories you would like to recall? Please tell the editor. I have a feeling reminiscing about David could well become a “running story” ! Meantime to Jean, daughters Sarah and Maggie and the rest of the family, our sincere condolences. It was a true privilege to have known David and count him as a friend.
STOKE BRUERNE’S PARISH CHURCH WAS FULL TO OVERFLOWING FOR DAVID’S FUNERAL Over 400 people attended David’s funeral at St Mary’s Parish Church in Stoke Bruerne on Wednesday, 24th August, conducted by the Rector, the Rev Andrea Watkins. An interment, attended only by members of David’s family, followed in the churchyard. The day was sunny and hot, the temperature in the upper 70s. Both doors of the church were open during the service allowing the overflow congregation to take part in what was a poignant celebration of David’s life. Eulogies were given by David’s younger brother, John, and Braunston’s Tim Coghlan. Tim’s eulogy was reproduced in the September issue of Museum Matters, the newsletter of The Friends of The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne (www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk).
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Jean and family would like to thank all those who contributed to the James Borondy Trust, set up by David’s daughter Sarah and husband Steve following the death from cancer of their son at the age of nine.
New planning setback for Daventry’s canal arm A three-week consultation on revised plans for a possible Daventry canal arm began on 23rd September. According to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Daventry District Council (DDC) is seeking detailed planning permission for the proposed 2.6km stretch of waterway that would connect the nearby Grand Union Canal to Daventry town centre. The planning process for the canal has been dormant for some years, but now it seems DDC is moving forward with it once more. The Council has updated the planning application with new information, including changes to bridges and ground levels and a revised environmental statement. The application for the canal arm only deals with the proposed waterway from Northern Way, near the iCon centre, out to the Grand Union Canal. The waterside development proposed by DDC for the Eastern Way playing field is not included. The canal would leave the Grand Union Canal, and head towards Daventry, skirting the eastern edge of Daventry Country Park, ending in a mooring basin just before the Northern Way underpass through to Eastern Way. The underpass was originally constructed with carrying the canal under the road in mind. The plans show a canal with a series of locks along it, rather than a boatlift. But the application could be updated or altered to incorporate a lift. The application was originally submitted to the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) in 2011 but not determined. With WNDC disbanded and its planning powers since transferred to DDC, the Council says it is now moving forward with the process for determining the revised application.
LATEST. At a meeting in October, Daventry Town Council unanimously objected to the District Council’s revised plans to build the canal. The saga continues.
IWA Northampton Branch now has a Facebook page. It’s at https:// www.facebook.com/IWANorthamptonBranch Members will find posts there about our talks, Task Party dates and much more, as well as being able to use it for discussion purposes. We’d like to hear your views. We also have a Twitter account @northamptoniwa where you can leave us a message or engage in discussion on what’s happening.
Northampton Arm Adoption wins prestigious Living Waterways Award Northampton Branch’s adoption of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal has been Commended in the Community and Volunteering category in the 2016 Living Waterways Awards. The award was announced at a ceremony held at Birmingham Town Hall in September. Launched by the Canal & River Trust in February, and sponsored by Kier, Arcadis, CPC Civils and Fountains, the Living Waterways Awards seek to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based improvement projects across the UK. Richard Parry, Chief Executive of the Canal & River Trust, explains: “The Living Waterways Awards celebrate the individuals, communities and organisations that have done the most to make a difference to the nation’s rivers, canals, lochs, lakes, reservoirs and docks, making them exciting places to live, learn and spend time.”
Pictured at the Birmingham presentation are, from left, Northampton Branch Secretary Sandie Morton, Chairman Bernard Morton and Task Party organisers Geoff Wood and Mick Butler
23 To improve the canal corridor for all users, in 2013 IWA Northampton Branch asked the Trust if it could adopt the 4.75-mile long Northampton Arm, one of the longest stretches of canal to be adopted by a volunteer group. Regular volunteer Task Parties soon began to tackle litter and vegetation clearance, as well as painting projects. Over the next two-and-a-half years, 70 Task Parties made up of 80 volunteers have given 2,900 volunteer hours. They have painted all 17 locks and cleared 15 by-weirs, transforming key waterway sites, including the busy Lock 17 in Northampton, ahead of the IWA’s Northampton 2015 Festival of Water commemorating the Arm’s bicentenary. Geoff Wood who, together with Mick Butler, lead the Task Parties on the Arm, says: “We are delighted to receive this prestigious national award which recognises all the hard work and commitment given by our volunteers to transform the Northampton Arm for the benefit of everyone who enjoys visiting the waterway. “The Arm connects the Grand Union Canal with the River Nene at Northampton, and over its length incorporates 17 locks and three lift bridges. It stretches from Gayton Junction along an initially rural landscape, until it reaches Cotton End Wharf at Lock 17 in the industrial and urbanised environment of southern Northampton. “The success of the adoption of the Northampton Arm by IWA Northampton Branch is an example to other volunteer groups seeking to adopt a stretch of their local waterway and highlights how different charitable organisations can work together to achieve a positive, cooperative alliance for the benefit of all.” Further details of the 2016 Living Waterways Awards can be found at https:// canalrivertrust.org.uk/livingwaterways-awards-2016
CRT CHIEF IS OUR GUEST AT BRANCH ANNUAL DINNER Canal & River Trust Chief Executive Richard Parry was a popular choice as chief guest and speaker at the Branch’s annual dinner held at The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne, in October. Over 50 people attended. Bernard Morton has commented on the occasion in his Jottings (page 7), especially on the presentation he made to Lynda Payton. Warmly praising the Branch’s adoption work on the Northampton Arm, Richard Parry noted that 2016 marked the 70th year of the IWA’s formation and invited everyone in joining him in a toast to the Association. He recalled the “foresight, courage and inspiration” of those founding members whose “legacy is the waterways system we have today”. He indicated how advantageous it was for the Trust, as a charity, to be largely free of Government interference over a 15-year span, referring to CRT’s recognition of the pressing need to anticipate problems and carry out remedial repairs to structures around the system before they got worse. He declared: “I realise that CRT is now a big part of your lives. I recognise the great passion there is for the waterways. There are some amazing individuals around who put heart and soul into the waterways.” Richard also said how proud he was to have known David Blagrove,
The shield, presented to the Branch by Jean Blagrove: can anyone help in identifying it?
25 albeit for only a relatively short time, and to be among to the many who had enjoyed being in his company, listening to his stories as well as his wise counsel. The evening’s raffle raised a little over £140 and by popular vote the wish was that this money should go towards establishing a permanent memorial to David. Other groups are of the same mind, with discussions to be held in due course.
Jean Blagrove handing over the shield to Bernard Morton
Lynda Payton being presented with her gift. recognising 19 years service, from Bernard
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26 Old Stager says: “If you see a genial man with cameras slung around his neck and a notebook in hand at a waterway event, then there’s a good chance he is Harry Arnold.”
CREATOR OF A PHOTOGRAPHIC LIBRARY WHICH IS NOW A WORLD-BEATER Veteran inland waterways journalist, author and photographer Harry Arnold (pictured left) recently contributed to Endeavour some of his recollections of the IWA’s 1971 National Rally of Boats at Northampton. Forty-five years on, he remains a familiar figure around the waterways scene, being particularly associated with the vast photographic library, Waterway Images. A couple of illustrations from this collection of the 1971 Rally are featured here. They are, though, only two of original film material which is scanned to order plus about five million digital images available from this source. Harry, who was appointed MBE in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of the significant role he had played in Britain’s inland waterways scene for almost 50 years, lives and works by the Trent and Mersey Canal at Alrewas. Born in Warrington, he was originally an engineer and industrial artist although he started taking photographs in his grammar school days. Trading as Waterway Images, his company specialises in photography and publicity for the waterway, marine, leisure, tourism and transport industries. The Waterway Images Photographic Library is possibly the largest collection of canal and river photographs in the world. All images are now supplied digitally. They cover all aspects of the inland waterways together with allied marine, transport and tourism subjects, in all embracing 60 years of Harry’s own work. Other online historic photographs and drawings and access to other photographers’ work, is available by arrangement. Holiday cruising, waterway engineering, architecture and the environment and the days of the old working craft are particular specialities. Harry’s daughter, Julie, works as a partner in the company on various aspects of the business. However, so much of Harry’s activities around the canals and rivers has been on a voluntary basis – literally too many and varied to list here – but notably involving the
27 restoration of the Montgomery Canal. Also, he is one of the founders of the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. He has played an impressive role within the IWA on a national basis, including membership of its Council and the Board of the Waterway Recovery Group as well as being Marketing Director of National Waterways Festivals Ltd. He is now an IWA national Vice-President. In the early 1990s he became editor of IWA Waterways, taking over from our own Branch member Roger Hasdell, the magazine’s editor for 17 years. When you ring Harry you often find the phone answered by his wife, Beryl, also a staunch supporter of all things connected with rivers and canals - but what else would you expect! - who, in “real” life, was a nurse specialising in hospice work. Says Harry: “Without Beryl’s support over the years, I would not have been able to achieve so much. I owe her huge thanks.” Most recently he received the first Lifetime Achievement Award in the Living Waterways Awards 2015. Harry, it would seem, has been able to master the art of combining business with pleasure. I suspect he still has a good few picture-snapping and writing years ahead of him.
Two of Harry’s views of the 1971 “National” at Becket’s Park, Northampton
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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 an official announcement unless so stated, otherwise the Association accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Neither the editor nor IWA can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the magazine, and opinions stated are those of individual contributors. We will, however, gladly publish corrections if notified. The editor reserves the right to shorten or modify
BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY Athina Beckett, Work Party Organiser, writes: Really exciting news to report: CRT have now given the BCS permission to start work on exploring what remains of the first bridge on the Buckingham Arm at Cosgrove. Work started in October to remove the earth now covering the bridge. For a considerable period it was thought most of this bridge was missing but towards the end of 2015 our volunteers carried out exploration work and a lot more of it appears to be there, buried under several layers of earth. To help us with this task we will be using Blue, our excavator donated to us by the IWA and we have also recently purchased a dumper truck which is speeding up the work as well. Whilst the activity at Cosgrove is possibly the most important project at present, work has continued over the summer at our other sites, particularly at the Nature Reserve where we have had visits from NHBC, Santander and Argos. Because of the extra help from outside companies, this has meant the work on the first dam has been completed and the second dam almost finished. Oak planking from a WREN grant has been installed along the edge of the canal bank and volunteers, with the help of Buckingham Community Payback people, are now backfilling behind the oak planking. Extra work at this site has been undertaken by a small group of people on Tuesdays to help move the project along. On Saturday 17th September a group of Milton Keynes Young Explorers carried out two sessions at Cosgrove, in the morning and after lunch, doing a marvellous job in clearing the foliage from the site to allow the next stage of exploration work on the bridge to start. The group from the MacIntyre Centre, where residents have learning difficulties, has also been helping us by carrying out a litter pick along Lock Lane, Cosgrove, and down the towpath. So a whole variety of activities is being carried out this quarter but again we are always looking for more help with all our projects. If you can only spare a few hours occasionally, no problems. Please contact me for more information (details on page 4) about our work parties and the various tasks happening over the next few months at all our sites.
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BRANCH SOCIAL MEETINGS Regular Branch Social Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May inclusive at THE WALNUT TREE INN, BLISWORTH, at 8pm All members and non-members welcome. Food and drink available
NEXT MEETINGS Tuesday, 6th December Christmas Quiz with Mick and Catriona Butler Tuesday, 10th January Speaker: Patrick Moss — Somerset Coal Canal Society Tuesday, 14th February Speaker: Peter Gray (CRT) — Waterway Management Tuesday 14th, March AGM followed by Tony Brooks — Boat Maintenance The next edition of Endeavour will be published in February 2017
WHOâ€™S WHO IN NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 2016/2017 Branch Chairman Bernard Morton 07785 375787/ 01604 858294 E-mail: bernard.morton @waterways.org.uk
Vice Chairman, Joint Task Party Organiser & Membership Secretary Geoff Wood E-mail: geoff.wood @waterways.org.uk
Branch Meetings Gemma Kinsey E-mail: gemma..kinsey @waterways.org.uk
Boat Gathering Chairman & Joint Task Party Organiser Michael Butler E-mail: michael.butler @waterways.org.uk
01604 858294 E-mail: sandie.morton @waterways.org.uk
Helen Westlake E-mail: helen.westlake @waterways.org.uk
Treasurer (until 31st December ) Alex Madisons E-mail: alex.madisons @waterways.org.uk
Treasurer (from 1st January) Paul Lynam E-mail:paul.lynam @waterways.org.uk
Newsletter & Joint Website Editor Tony Clarke 07939 977859 E-mail: tony.clarke @waterways.org.uk
Non-Committee post Endeavour Assistant Editor, Advertising & Distribution, Archivist Roger Hasdell 01604 248582
Region Chairman/ Committee Member John Pomfret E-mail: john.pomfret @waterways.org.uk
Joint Website & Social Media Officer Sam Line E-mail: sam.line @waterways.org.uk
Publicity & Grants Office Vacant (volunteer required)
Boat Gathering Sub-Committee members Michael Butler (Chairman), Catriona Butler, Tony Clarke, Paul Lynam, Alex Madisons, Bernard Morton, Sandie Morton and John Pomfret
IWA Northampton Branch newsletter. This issue - David Blagrove MBE, a legacy left for the local waterways and the Living Waterways Awards.
Published on Nov 18, 2016
IWA Northampton Branch newsletter. This issue - David Blagrove MBE, a legacy left for the local waterways and the Living Waterways Awards.