April 2014 Volunteer Work Parties
Photo: WRG volunteers clear Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals during Easter Camp (photo by Daniel Krebs)
April is the month when many branches carry out a good spring-clean of their local waterways. This was certainly the case for IWA Milton Keynes Branch, who made a profitable discovery on its two-day clean-up, IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch, who featured on local radio and the many volunteers that helped out at the annual BCN clean-up. As well as these larger events, regular branch work parties continued and IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) held its annual Easter Camp.
Excellent Achievement for IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch
Photo: Volunteers prepare service block for a fresh coat of paint
IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch was out in full force for its regular monthly work party on Saturday 5th April. During the day volunteers began to prepare the service block for repainting, a big task that the branch had planned to continue at the next monthly work party in May. However, the volunteers were reluctant to wait this long and an additional work party to continue the task was held on 16th April.
IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch has now amassed a total of over 200 volunteer hours on the Dee Arm of the Shropshire Union since starting regular work parties at the site in September 2013.
40 Tonnes of Rubbish Collected on BCN Clean-up
Photo: Volunteers with tyres and bikes pulled from the navigation (photo by Chris Morgan)
The annual BCN Clean-up was once again a huge success, with over 100 volunteers from across the country at the event on the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) over the weekend of 5th April. Staff and volunteers from IWA, WRG, Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, Dudley Canal Trust and Canal & River Trust (CRT) used grappling hooks and other tools to remove over forty tonnes of rubbish from the canal around the Ashted Flight, Typhoo Wharf and Camp Hill Locks – filling four skips in the process. Work boats, provided by CRT, were also on hand to take away rubbish, which included three goal posts and a Lancashire boiler shovel. It is hoped that this annual clean-up will encourage navigation of the less well-used stretches of the BCN by keeping them free of underwater obstacles.
Painting at Hazelhurst Bridge Continues
Photo: Cast iron bridge at Hazelhurst Junction
Last Autumn volunteers with IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canal Trust, began work on the cast iron bridge at Hazelhurst Junction on the Caldon Canal. Volunteers planned to remove the old flaky paint before re-painting the bridge. Unfortunately, the job was not finished last Autumn as the weather turned and prevented painting, The work began again on Thursday 10th April, when the weather fortunately remained dry allowing volunteers to work on the project throughout the day.
IWA Milton Keynes Branch Spring Cleans the Grand Union
Photo: CRT dredger removes scooter from Grand Union Canal on IWA Milton Keynes Branch clean-up (photo by David King)
On 11th and 12th April IWA Milton Keynes Branch held its annual spring clean-up on the Grand Union Canal sponsored by The Wyvern Shipping Company and supported by CRT. Volunteers began at Fenny Lock and over the two days worked north to Bridge 68 at Old Wolverton. Sixty-one volunteers, including fourteen scouts, turned out to help as well as a number of CRT staff, two of which operated a dredger on the Friday. The dredger was of great help pulling larger items from the canal that volunteers with grappling hooks alone could not manage, this included a motor scooter.
Other interesting items found over the two days included three motorbikes, a circular saw, an overhead projector, a rubber duck and a security cash box, which was handed to the police. It later came to light that the security cash box had been stolen in 2009. The security company that owned the box has given the branch a £100 reward for safe return of the box.
IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch Work Party Features on BBC Radio
IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch and Abbeydale Rotary Club’s annual spring clean-up on Sunday 13th April at Tinsley Marina on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal attracted a lot of attention. Not only did thirty volunteers attend but BBC Radio Sheffield were also aware of the work party and featured the event in its Sunday morning Treasure Hunt programme.
The event itself went well with about fifty bags of rubbish were collected. Volunteers then enjoyed pie and peas at Tinsley Boat Club to celebrate the end of another successful clean-up.
Easter Volunteering on the Cotswolds
WRG held its annual Easter camp this April on the Cotswold Canals. From the 12th-21st April over twenty-five volunteers spent nine days working on two different sites, Weymoor Bridge and Bowbridge Lock. Volunteers at Weymoor Bridge began work to rebuild the bridge, which was largely demolished in the 1950s. Work progressed well and by the end of the week volunteers had installed the steel arch, which will be used to support the brick arch during the construction phase.
At Bowbridge Lock volunteers removed vegetation and cleared silt and mud from the lock chamber as well as lowering water levels with a pump. This was in preparation for restoration works planned for the summer.
View photos of the volunteers in action.
Saturday 15th April – Cheshire Locks Work Party
Volunteers with IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the Trent & Mersey Canal Society spent a lovely day working at Malkins Bank on the Cheshire Locks flight of the Trent & Mersey Canal. Lock 64 had most of the metalwork painted, Lock 62 had the wood started, and the towpath bridge over the side-arm was tidied and painted as well.
Report on Wardle Lock Work Party, 30th April 2014
Photo: Lock painting at Wardle Lock (photo by Alison Smedley)
Two branches, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales, have joined together to work on Wardle Lock on the Wardle Canal at Middlewich. On 30th April the first of three work parties to improve the area was held, at which twenty volunteers helped out. The location attracted many of these from both the local area and further afield as Wardle Lock Cottage is the former home of the late Maureen Shaw, a lady who was known and respected by many boaters.
The team worked hard scraping down the old paintwork on both the gates and railings as well as clearing vegetation from the steps on the offside below the lock. A fresh coat of paint was put on to the locks and at the end of the day the improvement was great to see.
April was definitely a busy month for IWA volunteers with the above just a few highlights of the events taking place across the country. IWA volunteers also attended work parties on the River Gipping near Ipswich, at Hatton and Lapworth on the Grand Union Canal, on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union and on Beverley Beck.
Interested in getting involved as a volunteer with IWA? Take a look at IWA’s information on volunteering or get in touch with Stefanie Preston.