Christopher Power Prize - Roger Harding

Criteria: For a person, society or trust who has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway

Nomination: Stover Canal Society would like to recommend Roger Harding of the Stover Canal Trust/Society for the Christopher Power Prize Award.

Roger called a public meeting in 1999 to find public support for restoration of the Stover Canal near Newton Abbot in Devon. 150 attended the meeting, there was great enthusiasm, and shortly afterwards the Stover Canal Society was set up. The canal was owned by Railtrack, to become Network Rail, and ran beside a single track railway, no longer in use. We thought that it would be straightforward to persuade them to hand it over to us, as two of the locks were
Grade II listed, and they had not maintained them. Initially this was agreed, and we never thought that it would actually take 11 years before we actually obtained a lease from Network Rail, as they changed their minds so many times, each time starting negotiations again from scratch.

Members of the Stover Canal Society Committee have come and gone, support has waxed and waned, and it was only Roger's stubborn perseverance and hours and hours of his own time that enabled us to eventually achieve our aim. Since he retired from work two years ago, he has devoted up to 50 hours a week to the project, setting up and attending meetings, forging helpful liaisons, lobbying anyone who might be able to help, emailing, telephone calls, giving talks, etc. etc. His health is now suffering, and he has recently resigned as Chairman of the Stover Canal Society, although he has agreed to remain as Chairman of the Stover Canal Trust until the necessary planning application has gone through.

Diana Smurthwaite
Hon. Sec.
Stover Canal Society