Bev Williams - Volunteer of the Month

Created on 19/02/2018

Bev Williams has been a volunteer for IWA's Waterway Recovery Group since 2015 and loves getting knee deep in mud and hands deep in cake mix. We asked Bev why she dual volunteers as both a cook and a modern day navvy.

Why did you decide to volunteer with us?   

I enjoy being in the countryside, meeting new people, learning new skills and having fun.  My first Canal Camp volunteer holiday was on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in August 2015.

What has been your favourite restoration site?

My favourite site is the Stover canal in Devon, which is a little more unusual because of the Haytor Granite Tramway and the Graving Dock south of Ventiford Basin (see photo-top).

What do you most enjoy about volunteering with Waterway Recovery Group?

The camaraderie of like minded people as we work together as a team.

What is your proudest moment?

When my brickwork was commended for being very precise on the Grantham Canal.  Apparently it only varied by a few millimetres along the length of the wall I had worked on (although I think it was a fluke as I have produced some some shocking work since then!).

Cooks are often considered the most important people on a Canal Camps, what made you decide to give it a go?

I was asked to make a vegan birthday cake on my second Camp which did not turn out as intended. When I opened the oven door my heart sunk lower than the cake but I had to produce something. I decided to serve it as a flan with custard and strawberries inside. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it gave me a buzz seeing everyone clearing their plates. I had only cooked for five people before that but knew I was ready for a new challenge. My problem now is that I enjoy both cooking and working on site and I'm torn between the two.

On the subject of food, what do you find is the best dish to quell the hunger of 18 volunteers?

  • Main Course - Pulled Pork
  • Dessert - Sticky Toffee Pudding

Do you have any tips for any volunteers looking to give cooking a go?

  1. Have a menu plan. It will always change slightly as the week progresses but it is a good base to work from.
  2. A slow cooker and pressure cooker make life a lot easier.
  3. Staying within the budget can be challenging on times and it calls for some clever shopping but never scrimp on meat, the savings can me made elsewhere.

Inspired? Take a look at the ways you can get involved as a volunteer with IWA or find out more about Canal Camps

Tags: Volunteer of the Month, Restoration