Crowds Celebrate Waterway Restoration at Stratford10 July 2014
IWA joined celebrations for the restoration of Warwickshire waterways at Stratford River Festival over the weekend 4th to 6th July.
Crowds descended on the 6th annual river festival which this year highlighted anniversaries for the restoration of the Southern Stratford-upon-Avon Canal and the Upper Avon Navigation, which were reopened 50 years ago and 40 years ago respectively.
Tributes included a re-enactment of the re-opening of the two waterways by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and the unveiling of commemorative plaques.
Visitors could find out about the restoration projects in an exhibition organised by IWA with The Stratford upon Avon Canal Society and Canal & River Trust which featured archive photographs and historic film footage from the 1960 and 70s.
Children and adults tried their hand at bricklaying with volunteers from IWA's Waterway Recovery Group, who were promoting the restoration work that they carry out on canals and river navigations throughout the UK.
IWA Warwickshire Branch showcased the work they have done to improve the local waterways recently, fundraising for waterway projects and a branch initiative to digitise 20,000 slides, depicting UK canals and rivers in the 60s, 70s and 80s, which belonged to Warwickshire resident, the late Rhodes Thomas. Additionally the branch stand featured children's activities from IWA's Wild Over Waterways.
As well as celebrating past successes on waterways in the local area, the event looked towards the future. Local groups are campaigning for an extension of the Warwickshire Avon to Warwick, to create a new cruising loop that would benefit villages and businesses all along the river. Supported by IWA, the Avon Navigation Trust, Canal & River Trust and Stratford & Warwick Waterways Trust are conducting a feasibility study for the extension.
Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, said "this was a fantastic event celebrating the reopening of local waterways which benefitted from IWA campaigning and work parties in the fifties and sixties. IWA strongly supports the Avon Extension and the creation of a new cruising ring."