Peter Duggan - Volunteer of the Month September 2015

Created on 04/09/2015

Peter has been involved with IWA since 1988 and is a life member. He has been volunteering at IWA's Head Office for the past 20 years. Over the years Peter has been a valuable member of the Head Office Team and now helps the membership department with stuffing mailings and anything else they may need a helping hand with. Peter tells us about his time at IWA and the changes he has seen over the years within the organisation.

How did you first get involved with IWA?
A friend suggested a canal holiday and in the end we visited the Northampton Arm and the River Nene. On the trip we picked up leaflets for IWA and all eight of us joined.

You’ve been volunteering at IWA head office for many years now. When did you first start and how did it come about?
It came about at a branch meeting when Roger Squires mentioned that Head Office was looking for volunteers.  I have been volunteering for almost 20 years now, at Regents Park Road, London, when the office was moved to Rickmansworth and now at Chesham.  At one time four days a week but now once a week.  

What do you do at Head Office?
I fold and stuff membership renewals, around 900 a month and also mailings of branch newsletters.  I also put together the welcome packs for new members. I've also printed and dispatched the Bulletin, the Christmas catalogue and anything else that came along.

Why do you enjoy volunteering for IWA?
The folk involved in the inland waterways are a jolly, helpful and caring bunch of people.   

What is your boating background?
From the age of 18, for 41 years, I was a member of staff at the National Maritime Museum and I became a member of the boating club at the Royal Navy base at Portsmouth, which I still am.  Eventually I found that the inland waterways were more suited to my advancing years.   

Out of all of the waterways you have boated on, which is your favourite?
The Kennet & Avon Canal has to be my favourite as it has everything to make a good cruise -   such as locks, lift bridges and the Caen Hill flight of locks. I prefer doing locks to standing on the boat!

Since being a member and volunteering for IWA what are the biggest changes you have seen within the organisation?
The staff at Head Office and officers of the regions and branches have become more professional. They have to be to keep the organisation at the cutting edge to achieve our aims. 

In your opinion what do you think the Associations greatest achievements are?
Keeping the Canal & River Trust, its predecessor (British Waterways) and successive governments up to the mark in maintaining the inland waterways and also the increasing activities of the Waterway Recovery Group.  

Looking to the future, what do you think will be IWA’s biggest challenges?
I think our biggest challenges are attracting more young people to get involved to show what a marvellous asset the inland waterways are. Our waterways are a great way of studying nature, socialising and of doing exercise without going to a gym.

Thank you to Peter for this interview. If Peter's expereinces have inspired you to get involved take a look at our many volunteer opportunities to find one that suits you.

Tags: Volunteer of the Month