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January 2011


Journal of the IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch

A wintry but colourful scene at Leighton Buzzard on 1 December. Let’s hope the worst is over for this winter. Photo: Sheila Franklin.

The Inland Waterways Association

The IWA (registered charity no. 212342) campaigns for the restoration, conservation and sensitive development of the waterways, and for their fullest commercial and recreational use consistent with safeguarding their historic and natural environment. If you are not a member and would like to find out more: contact any of the Branch Committee members listed on Page 16; contact IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA, telephone 01494 783453; visit the IWAweb site at

Welcome to January Towpath Telegraph . . . This edition is being prepared as we recover from the second of the two spells of severe weather we’ve had so far. The picture on the front page was taken by Sheila on her mobile phone during the first taster at the beginning of December. But spare a thought for her relatives in Scotland, who suffered 4-foot snowfalls that buried their car as it stood on the drive! We trust, however, that even four feet of snow will not deter you from making for the Pavilion and our forthcoming meetings! We hope you enjoy this edition.

Chairman's column New members People Another glittering Christmas social! Raffle prizes wanted Progress on Wolverton Mural Help raise IWA funds on-line They chuck it in - we pull it out! Fuel concerns Diary Page IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM Getting to the Pavilion IWA Eastern Region AGM Buckingham Canal Society news Education Officer wanted B&MK conference optimistic despite economic gloom Wendover Arm Trust news BW charity objectives - first draft Editor’s Page IWA awards Getting in touch with MK Branch

2-3 2 3 4-5 5 6 6 7 7 8 9 9 10 11 11 12 13 14 15 15 16

Chairman’s Column By the time you read this, Christmas will be fading, the shortest day will have thankfully passed, and we can look forward to gradually lengthening days as spring approaches. We can probably not look forward to having more pounds in our pockets, as the government spending cuts start to bite. Since the last TPT, BW’s move to the “third sector”, “charity trust”, “big society” or whatever you want to call it, has been confirmed as part of the spending review.

New members The following members have recently joined MK Branch. We hope to see you at our socials - please introduce yourselves to a Committee member. MrADawe, Bletchley, MK Mr G Harlock, Woolstone, MK Mr PJones, Bradwell, MK Mr M Knight, Luton Mr TMcAlindon & Ms P Hollands, Pitstone Mr VPotgieter, Shefford

Whilst a majority are in favour of this move, the bottom line is that funding still has to be provided for the waterways, and the details are still sketchy. Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP has stated “the new organisation would not be financially worse off than if it were to remain within government control”. If BW stayed within government, sure as eggs is eggs, their funding would be cut again, so that tells us nothing. There is still no detail of what percentage of the property portfolio will transfer with them. The good news is that the Minister envisaged a funding arrangement for 10 to 15 years, to enable the new body to be put on a stable financial footing. This would remove the uncertainty that BW has suffered for years, of not knowing if “promised” funding would be slashed within any financial year, thus affecting planned works for that year. However, “envisaging” and “happening” are two separate things! I am also concerned that BW will just change their caps, while what is


Stop receiving Towpath Telegraph by post, and view it in full colour over the telegraph wires via the IWAMK Branch web site (you needAcrobat Reader). Email Pete Bickers (see Page 16) with your name, postal address and IWAmembership number. You’ll receive reminders when new editions are available, and information such as AGM notices as required by IWAByelaws. For more details, please contact the Editor.

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Chairman's Column - continued. under the caps remains the same. The new governance model is for seven trustees: three from the existing BW board (I leave you to guess who they might be and whether they will take their salaries and packages with them), and four new trustees. I hope the ‘new four’ know something about waterways! Lastly, we await a decision on whether the Environment Agency waterways will move over to the new body at the outset, or follow later, if at all. In our Branch AGM Notice you will see that six Committee members are due to retire by rotation. All are standing for re-election except John Herrick and Michael Weinberg. John has been Vice-Chairman and our planning eyes and ears for several years, and has agreed to carry on with the planning aspect as a nonCommittee member until we can find someone to take up the task. Michael has looked after risk assessment and insurance matters for us. If there is anyone out there who would like to take on these not-too-onerous We welcome Martin Banks as tasks, please talk to me, or to John or Michael who can tell what is a c o- o p t e d C o mm i t t e e involved. Thanks to John and Michael for their service to the Branch. member. Martin has agreed


It’s good to see Buckingham Canal Society’s continued progress as they keep cleared sections of canal in trim, re-point bridges, and other physical tasks. Real progress has also been made with the paper side of things that every restoration group must go through. There are landowners to deal with - some are friendly; others are not, and those have to be worked on. Partnerships need to be established as it is not possible to go it alone any more. There are planning applications, environmental surveys, pollution trials before silt can be removed - the list goes on. Their small committee (and I exclude myself as I have not been very active of late) is doing a splendid job, and I wish them well. What better way to spend a pleasant spring day than at a BCS work party - even if you only watch! Contact Athina for details. In these tough times we all look to save a few pounds, but please continue to support them through your membership if you can, as numbers count when putting forward arguments. May I end by thanking all who made the Christmas social such a success, and wishing you all a Happy New Year. Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman.

to take on the role of Branch Secretary, much to Peter Caswell’s relief. Although he lives in MK, his phone number has an 01525 prefix you can take it with you these d ays when y ou move! Thanks to Martin for his guitar accompaniment to several numbers during the Christmas social. Two faces we missed at that event were John and Olive Herrick. Our very best wishes go to Olive as she undergoes serious medical treatment.

A warm welcome from Gregg, Angela and the team at Grove Lock. Pop in for a drink of one of our outstanding cask conditioned ales or wines from around the world, or perhaps stay a little longer and enjoy some of our excellent home-cooked food.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Grove Lock: Grove, nr Leighton Buzzard, LU7 0QU Tel: 01525 380940. Email: Page 3

Another glittering Christmas social!

The Pavilion was all a-glitter on 6 December for the Branch Christmas social, with a splendid spread laid on by Michael and Tracy. While we were dealing with that, we tackled two quizzes by David Tucker - a photo quiz won by Roy Cleverly, and a cryptic quiz won by David King. It was good to have with us Tony and Diana Collins up from Sussex, and Peter Caswell too, recovering from his pacemaker swap-out.

The Grapplers get to grips - with guitar accompaniment! Appetites satisfied, M.C. Wendy Evans introduced the entertainment, beginning with Dave Roberts singing about the man with a red coat and a seasonal job. No, not Father Christmas, but: "I'm the man that slits the turkeys' throats at Christmas I'm the man that pulls their innards inside out . . ."

In "Modern-day Trafalgar", a re-incarnated Lord Nelson (yours truly) intent on re-enacting the Battle of Trafalgar was balked at every turn by the modern Captain Hardy (Ian Pickup) sticking to risk-averse regulations and European political reality. However, Nelson was gratified to find that the laws governing relations between consenting adults had been liberalised - "Kiss me, Hardy!� Ian Pickup as Hardy and Les Franklin as Nelson. Photo: Pat Pickup.

Martin Banks on guitar led us all in Fred Rogers' song "I know that I'll be back again" that reminded us of what we love about the waterways: The motor throbs beneath your feet, the tiller fights your hand, Your wake makes ripples in the reeds, where statued herons stand Kingfishers on sentry guard above their secret pools, They zig-zag off along the cut like crazy flying jewels.

Annie Roberts (in a fetching Christmas cake hat) recited Benjamin Zephaniah's wacky poem "Talking Turkey":

Annie Roberts talks turkey. Page 4

I once knew a turkey called . . . Turkey He said, "Benji, explain to me please, Who put de turkey in Christmas, An what happens to Christmas trees?" I said, "I am not too sure, Turkey, But it's nothing to do wid Christ Mass; Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be, An business men mek loadsa cash."

Christmas social - continued.

We hesitate to say too much about the next item for fear of libel action! Suffice it to say that James Griffin and David King appeared as two candidates for a top job with a national navigation authority, interviewed by Joseph Cresswell. James appeared eminently qualified, with extensive and relevant waterway experience, in contrast to David with wishy-washy ideas instilled at a provincial university. We leave you to guess who got the job! The Grapplers (Dave Roberts, Joseph Cresswell and Dave Darvill, with Martin Banks, guitar) sang this ditty about the hazards of the waterway world, to the tune of the Crystals' old number "And then he kissed me":

I was cruising down the cut when I fancied a cup of tea, I saw a little spot that looked just perfect to me. Around the corner, into view,

Came a boat all painted blue, He thought he would stop there too, And then he hit me!

Next, Pat Pickup delivered a terrible warning about over-indulgence during the festive season: 'Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house, Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse. The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste All the holiday parties had gone to my waist!

Finally, we all joined in singing this version of "There'll always be an England", composed by Wendy: There'll always be an England While Wyvern Shipping's there, They keep the boating going With their hire fleet everywhere.

They tell them not to hurry But they still go by too fast, And still they keep on building boats They will not be surpassed!

It only remained for Roy and Athina to dole out what seemed like scores of raffle prizes, then it was time to go. Thanks to everyone who contributed towards the evening's success. Story and pictures (except where stated): Les Franklin.

Joseph “interviews” James and David.

Raffle prizes wanted Thanks to all who have contributed prizes for recent raffles at Branch meetings. They provide some harmless fun, and also raise useful funds for the Branch. However, after the Christmas social, we’re now very short of prizes again! Please save those unwanted Christmas gifts, bring them along to our socials, and hand them to Roy Cleverly who will gratefully accept them.

Our base at Linslade is within weekend reach of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, or the Chiltern Hills and Aylesbury. Choice of exciting one or two week cruises including the Thames. 28 luxury boats, 2-8 berth. Boat builders. Repairs. Dry dock. Waterside holiday cottage.

Rothschild Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2TF Tel: 01525 372355 Fax: 01525 852308 Web site:


Members of IWA, Blue Riband, BMF and B&MK Waterway Trust

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Progress on Wolverton Mural

Peter Caswell has asked Joseph Cresswell to support him by taking over the role of IWA Project Manager in the refurbishment and re-painting of the Wolverton Train Mural. Joseph writes:

As most members know, the mural has been very badly damaged by vandalism at its southern end, obliterating much of the streamlined locomotive at that end. A little further along is a gap in the mural where two large gates have been ripped off and dumped into the canal.

Branch members on a previous refurbishment of the mural.

In May 2010 Peter held a meeting with representatives of the voluntary sector and the local communities interested in the mural. To fund a limited amount of work Peter has been able to obtain a Grant for the IWA from Sports Relief Community Cash Fund. This Grant has to be spent by 31 March 2011. Whilst support was strongly expressed in the meeting the resolution of the two long-term outstanding problems of funding the work and of the identity of the wall owner remained with the IWA. In early December, Electrolux confirmed that they would fund the brickwork to fill the gap, and have commissioned the MK Christian Fund to undertake the work with the training of unemployed youngsters as part of the Project.


If you buy groceries or other goods online, please check out the easyfundraising scheme website below, as IWA can get a donation every time a purchase is made through it. Simply register at Select Inland Waterways Association as your chosen charity, and carry on shopping online as normal using this site as your portal. It's absolutely free to you, and IWA can gain donations from the participating retailers of around 2.5% of the value of your shopping. Once your transaction has been processed, you’ll get an email confirming how much IWA has received. Please give it a try for 2011! IWA news release, December 2010.

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Three Community Artists are very keen to restore the mural using voluntary and community support. One of the Artists is Ryan Billings, the son of Bill Billings the Community Artist who created the mural in 1986. Ryan still holds his father’s original sketches and photographs, and is keen to return the mural to the original design as completed by Bill. However, to fully return the mural to its 1986 condition will require the weather-proofing of the whole wall and the replacement of much frost-damaged brickwork, a very expensive process. It is planned to spend the Grant Money in early New Year 2011 to repair and to paint the southern end of the mural and to paint the completed brickwork. Meanwhile Jonathan Brown has offered to touch up the less damaged sections of the mural using the Branch's existing paint supplies. Jonathan would welcome being contacted by Branch members willing to join him. Please note that he plans to work on the mural at short notice depending on the weather, and will inform interested helpers when he intends to be there. Please contact Jonathan Brown via Athina Beckett (see back page) with your email address and phone number.

They chuck it in - we pull it out!


Our autumn Clean-up last October from Fenny to Slapton was a bit of an experiment - it was the first time we had been that far south. Only the hopper team went that far; the rest finished at Grove Lock. The conclusion was that the effort to Slapton and back was not worth it for the amount of rubbish collected on this very rural stretch. It was also agreed that the southward Clean-up should now only be done every third time. The banks were relativity clear, although our litter pickers still managed to fill a few sacks.

The BMF has published guidance on the Fuel Quality Directive, to address concerns that some suppliers will provide diesel containing up to 7% biodiesel or FAME (fatty acid methyl ester) - see pdf/Fuel%20update%206 Dec.pdf The Department of Transport estimates that 75% of gas oil supplies to relevant sectors will be free of sulphur and FAME. Most suppliers who have published their intentions have said that they plan to supply dedicated sulphur- and FAME-free gas oil.

Thanks to all those who turned out to assist over the weekend, to Wyvern Shipping for their input and sponsorship, and to BW’s staff. We were also supported with a grant towards fuel costs from Milton Keynes Community Foundation. New recruit Philip Strangeway (left), Dave However, BW senior Roberts and Joseph Cresswell, on the hopper management have raised at Grove Lock. Photo: Rodney Evans. some concerns as to whether they can continue to support the Clean-ups in their present form in the current economic situation. Your Committee is working with BW on this, but if we have not resolved it by our AGM in February, there will be a chance to quiz Jeff Whyatt who will be our guest after theAGM. The next Clean-up is on 1 - 3 April, and will work northward from Fenny Stratford. Peter Caswell.

FAME free fuel is likely to incur a premium of 2-4p per litre, but may not be available in all parts of the country. You should discuss the situation with your supplier (who should advise on sulphur and bio-fuel content), and if possible secure FAME-free supplies. In this case the effect of the change should be limited to the lubricasity characteristics of the fuel, which can be addressed with an additive. IWA news release, December 2010.

Boat Safety Inspections DAVID TUCKER Authorised Examiner for the Boat Safety Scheme Competitive rates. For more details, please contact David on 01908 670151 or 07788 705969 mobile Email: Page 7

Diary Page

We hope to see you at our meetings at the Pavilion in the New Year. Our own events are shown in bold type, plus selected events held by others. For more information about our own events, please contact Rodney Evans unless other Committee members are named (see back page). For other events, contact details or sources of information are given where known. Monday 24 January MK Branch meeting: James murders the Nile, 7.45pm with James Griffin, Wyvern Shipping Co. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK Tuesday 8 February 8pm

Northampton Branch meeting: talk by Mike Beech, Foxton Inclined Plane Trust. Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth, Info:

Monday 28 Feb MK Branch AGM, followed by BW South East 7.45pm Update for boaters, with Jeff Whyatt, General Manager, BW South East. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK See Page 9. Wednesday 16 March 7.30pm

Eastern Region AGM Peterborough and District Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough See Page 10

Monday 28 March MK Branch meeting: “Not such Idle Women”, talk by 7.45pm Mike Constable, Curator, Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 1-3 April MK Branch Spring Canal Clean-up, working north. Fri 12 noon: start Fenny Lock, finish Br 83 Woolstone Sat 9.30am: start Br 83, finish Br 72 New Bradwell Sun 9.30am: start Br 72, finish Br 68 Old Wolverton. For detailed arrangements, please contact Peter Caswell. Monday 18 April MK Branch meeting: Buckingham Canal restoration 7.45pm update, with Athina Beckett, Chairman and Work Party Organiser, Buckingham Canal Society. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Ave, Middleton, MK 30 April – 2 May

28 - 30 May

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National Campaign Rally, Northampton Waterfront Celebrating 250 years of navigating the Nene to Northampton., Trade show, entertainment, children’s activities. Info: Wendover Canal Festival, GU Main Line, Boxmoor, H Hempstead After a year off, the Wendover Festival is back this year at a new temporary home. Further details to be announced.

IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM Getting Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the to the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association will take place at Milton Keynes Village Pavilion, Worrelle Avenue, Pavilion

Middleton, MK10 9AD, on Monday 28 February 2011, Here’s a reminder of the location of our socials venue, commencing at 7.45pm. Agenda (please bring this notice with you): 1: Apologies for absence 6: Treasurer's report, and accounts 2: Approval of minutes ofAGM for the year ending held on 22 February 2010 31 December 2010 3: Matters arising 7: Adoption of accounts 4: Chairman's report 8: Election of Committee 5: Secretary's report After the formal business, there will be an opportunity for members’ questions on IWA issues - topics at the discretion of the Chairman. Under the IWA Branch Byelaws effective from 12 November 2007, there is no restriction on the maximum size of the Committee. Peter Caswell, Roy Cleverly, Marie Draper, Rodney Evans, John Herrick and Michael Weinberg are due to retire by rotation under the 3-year rule. All seek reelection except John Herrick and Michael Weinberg. Martin Banks, coopted during the year, seeks election. Any corrections to the above will be announced at the meeting. Candidates for election or re-election must be paid-up members of the Association. It is no longer necessary for those who wish to be elected to be nominated and seconded, but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. Written consents from Branch members wishing to stand for election must be deposited with the Branch Secretary at 80 Simpson Road, Fenny Stratford, Milton Keynes, MK1 1BA, or at no later than 14 days before the meeting. (Signed) Martin Banks, Branch Secretary. After a break for refreshments, Jeff Whyatt, General Manager, British Waterways South East, will give a BW South East Update for Boaters.

Magazines on offer Following a clearout, Ian Pickup offers the following magazine back issues free to a good home (or any person/group that can use them): Waterways (Spring 2000 - Autumn 2009), Canal Boat (May 2000 February 2002), and Waterways World (March 2002 - December 2009). Odd issues may be missing. Contact Ian at: iandp dot pickup at yahoo dot co dot uk

just off Tongwell Street, MK. There is ample parking in two car parks, level access, and a bar awaits you inside. See you there! From H6 Childs Way (M1 or Central MK), turn south at Fox Milne roundabout into V11Tongwell Street. Pass under a bridge, then turn right into Griffith Gate, signed Mi d d l e t o n an d M i l t o n Keynes Village. At the roundabout turn right into Worrelle Avenue. The Pavilion is clearly marked, on the left after about 1/4 mile. Fox Milne Rbt.

Central MK

A4146, M1 (Junc.14) Total Petrol Stn.

Pavilion Community Sports Club MK10 9AD


A4146 Bletchley, (A5)

Mercedes Benz

Going north along V11 Tongwell Street, cross the Monkston Roundabout at H7 Chaffron Way, then take the first left turn into Griffith Gate, and then as above.

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Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Region of the Inland Waterways Association will be held on Wednesday 16th March 2011 at the Peterborough and District Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough at 7.30 pm. Agenda: 1:Apologies for absence 2:Approval of Minutes ofAGM held on 18th March 2010 3: Matters arising

4: Chairman’s report 5: Election of Committee Members (see notes below)

Notes (following the amendment of Region Byelaws which came into force on 14/3/09): a) The Chairman of the Region is elected in a separate ballot, and the Chairmen of each of the branches within the Region are members of the Region committee ex officio. This is an election for the remaining members of the Region committee. b) There is no limit to the number of members of that committee. c) The period of office of the following elected members of the committee comes to an end at the 2011 AGM, namely Derek Bradley and Roger Sexton. Both are eligible to stand for re-election. d) It is no longer necessary for those who wish to be elected to the committee to be nominated and seconded, but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. Consents from members of the Region who wish to stand for election at the 2011 AGM must be deposited with the Region Secretary, Nigel Long, at 7 Georgian Court, Peterborough, PE3 6AF, or by email at before the start of the Annual General Meeting.

Willowbridge Marina 01908 643242

Willowbridge Marina is a working boatyard specialising in lifting boats in and out of the water, as well as on and off transport. We are a family-run business, working hard to provide services to canal boat owners and users in the Milton Keynes area. We offer the following services: - Well-stocked Chandlery, including stainless steel fastenings and Calor Gas fittings; - Red Diesel (currently at 68p per litre); - All boat services, including coal, LPG and pump-out; - All mooring services, including limited linear moorings, wireless internet and power, toilets, showers, laundry and extensive storage ashore. We offer a 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard to IWA members. Page 10


The two Society Patrons, John Bercow MP and Tim Boswell (now Lord Boswell of Aynho) joined several local Councillors on 2 October for a visit to three BCS restoration sites: Hyde Lane Lock, Little Hill Farm and Bourton Meadow. John was impressed by the amount of work achieved by our volunteers. Partnerships have been formed with Buckinghamshire County Council, Buckingham Green Infrastructure Consortium, and Buckingham Local Area Forum. The support of these Partners when applying for grants is invaluable.

The BCS has also started working with Stowe School. Pupils taking their Duke of Edinburgh Awards are spending time on our site at the BBOWT Nature Reserve as part of the practical section of this scheme. These work parties started in October and Stowe has recently requested that they continue up to June next year. We recently discovered that Travis Perkins was sending a lot of material to landfill. This was "end of line" material but consisted of quite large quantities of bricks, paving stones and wood. We now have an arrangement with them to deliver the material to a farm run by a friendly builder, where it will be stored until either used by ourselves on site or sold off at a big discount price to members and friends. If anyone wants more details about what is available, please contact me. Our work parties are continuing at the BBOWT Nature Reserve where we are hedge-laying and removing reeds from the bed of the canal. We hope to start re-pointing work on the bridge when the weather improves. All re-growth has also been removed from our Bourton Meadow site and we are in the process of applying for grants to get this site in water, hopefully by next year. If anyone would like to join one of our work parties (second Sunday of each month and on alternate Thursdays), please ring or email me. Otherwise we hope to see some of you at our AGM and Cheese and Wine Social evening at Buckingham Community Centre, Cornwall’s Meadow, Buckingham, on Saturday 29th January, at 7.15pm. Athina Beckett.

Education Officer wanted The Branch is seeking to recruit an Education Officer, to co-ordinate and manage all aspects of our public outreach and education work. The Branch mounts regular displays at events such as our annual Lock Ransom and the Linslade Canal Festival, and occasional attendances at other events. A wealth of resources is available from Head Office, especially that aimed at young people, but we would like to have suitable special material to use at our Clean-ups, for example. Also, as BW begins to seek increased voluntary support, the Branch should aim to recruit, retain and involve members. All this material needs to be sourced or generated, approved and kept up-to-date.

There is no formal expectation associated with this new role, which can be shaped to suit the talents of the person taking it on. It is not expected that the person filling the role should actually undertake all these activities personally, unless they want to. Rather the expectation is that they would act to co-ordinate volunteers from the Branch for producing and updating materials, and attendance at events. If you are interested in this role, please talk to Peter Caswell or Dave Roberts. Page 11

B&MKW CONFERENCE OPTIMISTIC DESPITE ECONOMIC GLOOM Over 100 delegates from local authorities, agencies, business, academia, sport and leisure and local communities were present at the first B&MK Partnership conference at the Marston Vale Forest Centre on 4 November, when the 199th anniversary of the meeting called by the then Mayor of Bedford, Charles Short, was celebrated, together with the founding of the B&MK Waterway Trust ten years ago by the late Brian Young, a Bedford resident.

Jane Wolfson, Chair of B&MKW Trust, explained how its future role would be to work on the various projects which will ultimately form the waterway, along with the Partnership and the 300,000 people living along the route. “This is a ‘big society’ project - whether or not you like the label - with the community working to shape the locality and holding our public bodies to account.” Jane said that while the B&MK could, in theory, have been a 10-year project, in practice – like most of the original canal schemes – it was likely to take 10-20 years to complete it. "The key is to seek the opportunities at each moment in time. The economic and political climate gives us a breathing space”, she said. Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, Chair of the 11-strong consortium of local authorities and agencies, emphasised how progressing with “bite size chunks” would make the project come alive. As an example of raising awareness he pointed to the re-routing of National Cycle Route 51 to follow more closely the route of the waterway in Marston Vale. He also highlighted the progress already made with the building of the underpass near Stewartby. The last link in the waterway would be over or under Brogborough Hill “because it is the most expensive . . . I suspect it will be entirely different from the schemes suggested so far. It will be entirely new, unique and I think this is really exciting.” Erin Vos, Environment Agency, outlined progress on the strategy, jointly funded by Bedford Borough, which is focusing on Descending Brogborough Hill on a guided walk in the stretch of the Great Ouse through September. Photo: Les Franklin. Bedford from Bromham Bridge to Willington Lock. “We want to define the river as a place worth visiting - a tourist destination all year round - and not just for boaters but for other river users as well, making it part of the vision of the B&MK,” she said. James Clifton (BW) outlined the background behind its imminent transformation from a quango to charitable status. This would provide BW with the security to plan more effectively in the longer term. BW would also continue to offer full support for the B&MK waterway. BMKWT press release, November 2010.

There is an excellent download available from the B&MKW Trust web site showing the bite-size sections into which the route has been divided, with maps, descriptions and a progress table. Go to Near the top of the page you will see "Click here for our A-Z of plans to build in sections". When you do so, a PDF file is downloaded. Page 12


The Wendover Arm Trust celebrated its 21st Anniversary at its 2010 AGM last autumn. If the Trust is to survive and prosper it badly needs someone who is willing to take on the role of Chairman, as well as more people to work on its Council without specific roles. Please contact Roger Leishman (Acting Chairman) or another member of the Trust if you can help.

The Wendover Canal Festival is back for 2011, reinvigorated at a new temporary site on the Grand Union Main Line at Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead. Although the site is a bit smaller than the New Mill site, it should be a great party with boats, craft, music and entertainment for young and old. The Festival opens at 12 noon on Saturday 28 May, and at 10am on the Sunday and Monday. The return of the Festival is good news, as the Trust has always relied heavily on its proceeds to fund its restoration work. The annual grant from BW in lieu of having to rebuild the 100-year-old pipeline under the Wendover Arm will end in 2011 when BW will have paid the full £200,000. Grants, donations and gift aid are also important sources of income. Funeral collections in 2010 included funds donated in memory of MK Branch member John Garner. Any donor in 2011 giving in excess of £50 or £100 will be offered a Bridge Plaque to mark their support for the restoration. Pipe capping continues at a good pace and is now within sight of Bridge 4 where the next bund is to be sited. The old pipe is earthenware, has many cracks and holes and is generally delicate; therefore it is quite likely that, if it were left uncapped and the canal were filled with water, it would collapse in places with resulting damage to the newly laid bed. The blinding (base layer of concrete) has now been cast for the second mooring bay, whilst work has started again on the bay at Bridge 4A so as not to interfere with the progress of the pipe capping. Paraphrased from WAT Newsletter, Autumn 2010.


tel: 01908 672672

Modern full-service marina in the heart of Milton Keynes

10 & 15 year

Leasehold moorings available at discounts


15 miles of lock free cruising

Brokerage New and used boats for sale

Onsite facilities Chandlery and full services Brokerage Workshop, slipway Secure carparking Pub with all day carvery Indian and Chinese takeaway

For Moorings Availability and Prices, visit us at Page 13


A first draft of the possible charitable objectives for the New Waterways Charity (NWC) was presented at the British Waterways Annual Meeting on 2 December 2010. Charitable objectives are the legal definition of what the charity is about and what it will do. In the draft, the purposes of the NWC are stated as: To own operate and manage Inland Waterways in the UK for public benefit . . . for navigation, for recreation or other leisure-time pursuits of the public in the interests of social welfare with a view to improving their conditions of life, and for the improvement of commerce and industry generally. To protect and conserve sites, objects and buildings of archaeological, architectural, engineering or historic interest on, by or associated with the Inland Waterways of the UK. To further the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the Inland Waterways and the conservation of flora, fauna and geological or physiographical features of special interest on, by or associated with the Inland Waterways. To promote encourage undertake and assist in the restoration of the Inland Waterways (whether or not owned managed or operated by it) for the public benefit. To educate the public about the Inland Waterways, their history, development, use and operation by all appropriate means including the provision of museums. The cause of the proposed charity is stated as: NWC exists to protect and promote our inland waterway network and to ensure that our unique waterway heritage will always be a valued part of local landscapes and communities. BRANCH TO ATTEND IWA SEMINAR: On 22 January, IWA Promotions and Communications Committee will host a seminar in Stoke-onTrent to discuss the Association’s response to BW’s proposals for charitable st atu s . Thr ee Br anch Committee members (Peter Caswell, Martin Banks and Les Franklin) plan to attend.

BW explained at December’s meeting that further development work, including the naming of the New Waterways Charity is being done, and proposals will be included in the Defra consultation. BW can be contacted at to give them your ideas, views and questions.

The agenda includes a briefing by National Chairman Clive Henderson, how the Association must adapt, an over haul for the WoW campaign, and new initiatives to recruit and retain members.

At a recent meeting of IWA's trustees, the objectives and new organisation of the NWC were discussed in detail. IWA trustees agreed that for the immediate and forseeable future, IWA's role would be to become a "critical friend" of the NWC and to ensure that boaters' and other users' interests are properly represented.

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IWA was particularly pleased to see that the objectives are to follow many of IWA's own which have been core values of the Association for over 60 years. IWA was specifically pleased to see that as a result of continued lobbying by the Association, the NWC would now be including restoration as a key objective of the new organisation.

IWA Head Office Bulletin, December 2010.

Editor’s Page

You know the fantasy. The pilot and co-pilot are ill with foodpoisoning, and the call goes out for anyone with flying experience. No-one has, but you volunteer to go up front and see what you can do. One of my Christmas presents was “How to land an A330 Airbus (and other vital skills for the modern man)”, by James May of Top Gear fame. The “other vital skills” include delivering twins, driving the new A1 Tornado steam loco, defusing a bomb, and playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata!

James May’s real point (he also made it in a recent TV series) is that modern men are losing practical skills. This may be for several reasons: lack of a male role model in many homes, boys’ poor reading skills (so they cannot absorb other skills by book learning), modern risk-averse legislation discouraging individual initiative (get that electrical work inspected), and the fact that many gadgets are now just not repairable. Most serious of all, perhaps, is that even in this so-called “classless society”, those with manual skills, the ”doers” are still too often dismissed as unimportant by those that lack them - the “talkers”. I was lucky to have a father with many practical skills, and it was natural to me to follow suit. It took me several hours to drive my first nail - I can do better now! In workshops at school, college and in industry, I extended my skills from hand tools to machine tools. In my hireboat holiday years, it was a point of honour to be as self-reliant as possible, and I don’t ever remember calling the base for assistance. On my first holiday, I splintered the cabin top corner on an Oxford Canal lift bridge. I bought Plastic Padding and matching paint, re-assembled the splintered parts, re-painted, and made an almost invisible repair. On the Shroppie, our boat had a hand-operated diaphragm pump to transfer effluent from the toilet to the holding tank. This blocked solid. I stripped it, cleaned it out, and re-assembled it. Naughty both times, no doubt, but both jobs gave great satisfaction and sense of achievement. If you own your own boat, you are free to leave its maintenance to professionals, or do virtually all of it yourself. If you mess it up, it’s down to you. At least you won’t have to answer awkward questions (except maybe from ‘er indoors), and you have the satisfaction of knowing that the man who never made a mistake never made anything. If James May produces another edition of his book, or another TV series, perhaps he can find space for a chapter or episode on “How to service a marine diesel installation”. I might never need to know how, but I’ll read or view it with interest! Les Franklin.


Nominations for IWA's annual awards to be presented at the 2011AGM are requested. Richard Bird Medals - For members whose efforts have brought significant benefit to the Association over a sustained period; Cyril Styring Trophy - For a member who has made an outstanding contribution in furthering the Association's campaign; B r an ch A ch ieve m en t Award - For the Branch which has made the greatest progress and achievement in promoting the Association's aims and objectives during the past year; Christopher Power Prize For a person, Society or Trust who has made the most significant contribution to an inland waterway restoration; The John Heap Salver - For a member who has made an outstanding contribution towards fund- raising; Vivian Bulkely Johnson Salt Award - For the person or organisation who, upon a recommendation from IWA's Inland Waterways Freight Group, has made an outstanding contribution to the furtherance of commercial waterways transport in the United Kingdom. Nominations must be sent to and should arrive no later than 31st January 2011 for consideration by the awards panel. IWA HO Bulletin, December 2010.

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Getting in touch with MK Branch Here’s an up-to-date Branch contact list, valid until the AGM in February. Email addresses are shown in “anti-spam” form - please type “@” or “.” as appropriate with no spaces. Full Committee contact details on request from Martin Banks, our new Branch Secretary. CHAIRMAN: PETER CASWELL Email: iwamksec at caswell dot eclipse dot co dot uk VICE-CHAIRMAN AND PLANNING: JOHN HERRICK Email: johnherrick at talktalk dot net SECRETARY: MARTIN BANKS Email: martin dot banks at lian-james dot com MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: PETE BICKERS Email: pete at srekcib dot freeserve dot co dot uk TREASURER: DAVE ROBERTS Email: mk dot iwa at taid dot info SOCIAL / PUBLICITY, & B-MKWT REPORTER: RODNEY EVANS Email: rodneyevans12 at o2 dot co dot uk A DVE RTISE MENT S are welcomed to assist Branch funds. Suggested donations as below (payable to IWA Milton Keynes Branch) are requested before copy date above. Whole page Half page Qutr page Back page Inserts

Per issue: £32.50 £20.00 £12.50 £45.00 £15.00

BUCKINGHAM C.S. REPRESENTATIVE: ATHINA BECKETT Email: athinabec at aol dot com TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: JAMES GRIFFIN Email: james at canalholidays dot co dot uk MARIE DRAPER

3 issues: Email: marie239 at btinternet dot com £65.00 £40.00 ROY CLEVERLY £25.00 Email: roycleverly at mypostoffice dot co dot uk £90.00 -

DAVID KING Email: davidjsking at talktalk dot net

SUZANNE TOMKINSON Email: suzanne dot tomkinson at hotmail dot co dot uk DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Milton Keynes Branch. They are however published as being of interest to our members and readers. Get the latest waterway news at these web sites (addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 14.12.2010):

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MICHAEL WEINBERG Email: michael dot weinberg at btinternet dot com EDITOR: LES FRANKLIN Email: les at lesfranklin dot co dot uk WEBMASTER (non-Committee): VERNON DRAPER Email: vernon dot draper at btinternet dot com IWA: MK Branch: BW: (corporate); (leisure) The Waterways Trust: Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: Buckingham Canal Society: WendoverArm Trust: and Friends of the Canal Museum:

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph January 2011  

IWA MK Branch newsletter

Towpath Telegraph January 2011  

IWA MK Branch newsletter