Les Etheridge, National Chairman

Re-elected September 2009 - first elected September 2006

les_etheridgeWaterway interests: Les discovered the magic of the inland waterways from a holiday he was reluctantly persuaded to take on the Norfolk Broads in 1971.  Further holidays on the Broads led to a first trip on the canals when he hired from Morgan Giles at Aynho in early June 1976.  The Southern Oxford was closed as a result of the drought a few weeks later but the lack of water although making navigation very difficult did nothing to reduce the enjoyment of the trip.  Shortly afterwards Les read Narrow Boat by Tom Rolt and the inland waterways became part of his life.
He joined IWA in 1982 and regularly attended the national festival from Leeds in 1981.  Les bought a narrowboat in 1985 and over the years he and his family have covered as much of the system as holidays have allowed.

Les volunteered to join Finance and General Purposes Committee in 2004 and was elected to Council in September 2006.  In 2007 he was appointed a Deputy National Chairman and in 2008 became National Treasurer.  Les was elected National Chairman in 2012.

Professional Qualifications and Employment: In 1979 Les qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. Les took early retirement in June 2006 from his position as Chief Executive of a mutual life assurance company based in Tunbridge Wells having been on the board of the company since 1985. He has maintained an interest in the industry since retirement and is now a Non Executive director of a life company with over £10 billion of funds under management.

Les was a governor of his village primary school for over 25 years and chair for 16 years.  He is also President of the Kent County Table Tennis Association.  

He firmly believes that IWA is responsible for there still being the fantastic inland waterway system we are all lucky enough to enjoy and that it is essential that IWA continues its work both to protect the system and to further develop it.


Trustees can be contacted using: