David Venn - Volunteer of the Month August 2016
David has been involved with IWA for over 20 years and is a highly active member of the organisation, being both Chairman of IWA's Peterborough Branch and a member of the Events Committee. Having served 32 years in the fire service, he often provides safety advice for public events and he is part of the team currently organising the Festival of Water that is coming to Pelsall this bank holiday weekend.
How did you first become interested in inland waterways?
Having had a holiday on the Grand Union canal in the late eighties it was an interest I wanted to pursue further.
How and when did you get involved in volunteering for IWA?
Being a member of IWA Guildford and Reading branch in the early 1990s, I was elected to their committee and subsequently asked to run the social events. After retiring from work and having moved to East Anglia I volunteered to become safety officer for the events team at St Ives, a role in which I am still active.
Why do you think our waterways are so important?
They are a part of our heritage and played an important role in the industrial revolution. In modern times the waterways have become large recreational area, available to many people all over the UK. If managed correctly parts of the system can be used for the transportation of commercial goods.
You are Chairman for IWA Peterborough branch – what does this role entail?
Our committee meets monthly to discuss on going issues, and the way forward for the branch. Currently we are endeavouring to have a meaningful discussion with the EA over their closure of Welches Dam Lock and Horseways channel. The branch is part of a consortium of waterway users “Project Hereward A New Dawn” which also meets monthly and is raising funds to enable this route to be reinstated.
IWA has an on-going campaign to transfer EA’s waterways to CRT – why is this so important?
Having experienced first hand the result of the lack of funding on EA waters, I believe it is imperative, before there is any further deterioration of the Anglian waterways, that the navigation management is transferred to CRT.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering for IWA
Meeting and working with people who have similar ideals and being able to see the result of the teams endeavours at the end of the day.
You have a number of work parties coming up later in the year – what would you say to someone thinking about coming along for the first time?
Come along and give it a try it really is a fun day out. Choccie biscuits come as standard!
Find out more about IWA Peterborough Branch work parties and what's going on at IWA Festival of Water, Pelsall.
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