IWA Announces National Award Winners

IWA Announces National Award Winners

29 September 2015

The winners of IWA’s National Annual Awards for 2015 were presented at the Association’s Annual General Meeting, held at Salwarpe Village Hall beside the Droitwich Canal, on Saturday 26th September.  

The Cyril Styring Trophy, the Association’s premier award which is awarded to an IWA member who has made an outstanding contribution to the Association’s campaign, has been awarded to Phil Sharpe for his campaigning work for IWA over thirty years, and particularly for his work on the current HS2 Campaign.  Phil has spent many hours on the HS2 Campaign, working with others in IWA, and attending and negotiating with local authorities at County Council, District Council and Parish Council level.  Phil originally identified the route which would avoid the proposed multiple canal crossings in the Fradley area which has now been adopted by the House of Commons Select Committee.  Twenty years ago, Phil also led the combined IWA and Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust teams at the second M6 Toll Road (Birmingham Northern Relief Road) Public Inquiry to fight successfully for navigable crossings for the Lichfield and Hatherton canals.

The John Heap Salver, the Association’s major fund raising award, has been awarded to Waterway Recovery Group North West for their fund-raising activities over the last 30 years.  As well as providing volunteers to work on restoration projects on their regular weekend digs, WRG North West also carry out two fundraising activities which support their restoration activities.  Anyone who has attended a waterway festival will recognise the WRG North West stall with its bric-a-brac and second hand books.  They also run a paper recycling scheme known as the Paper Chase, which involves driving around Greater Manchester once a month collecting vast quantities of newspaper to be sold to the recycling industry.  WRG North West has built up a proud tradition of funding their own activities and being able to donate substantial amounts to WRG national appeals for replacement diggers and vans over the years.  They have also been generous in their support of appeals by waterway restoration groups.

The Christopher Power Prize is awarded to a person, society or trust that has made a significant contribution to the restoration of an amenity waterway, and has been awarded to Michael Limbrey of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust.  Michael was instrumental in setting up the Trust, whose role is to act as a lead co-ordinating bridge between waterway organisations, local authorities and other public agencies in the campaigning for and restoration of the Montgomery Canal.  Michael also set up a membership organisation within MWRT – the Friends of the Montgomery Canal - which is specifically aimed at locally-based supporters.  Michael, through both these organisations, was actively involved in the recent ‘Making Waves’ series of events which were held over the summer to raise the profile of the use of the restored central section of this key waterway.

Richard Bird Medals are awarded to members whose efforts and support are considered to have brought significant benefit to the Association over a sustained period of time.  This year, Richard Bird medals were awarded to:  

Madeline Dean of Lancashire & Cumbria Branch, for the work she has done for IWA nationally and for the branch since she joined IWA in 1980.  For 17 years she was Sales Officer for the branch and has also served as chairman, vice chairman, and contributed significantly to the Trailboat and Campaign festivals held on the Lancaster Canal.  Madeline has also been very active at a national level in IWA, on national committees and with sales and recruiting, and carrying out the catering for various festival related events.  

Derek Bradley, for his work during his time as Cambridge Branch chairman, and later as Eastern Region chairman.  Derek was Chairman of Cambridge (now Great Ouse) Branch for 8 years, and continues as an active committee member.  During his time as Eastern Region Chairman he supported all the branches in the region, which covers a wide geographical area, and built good relationships with the navigation authorities in the area.  Derek has also been an enthusiastic volunteer at many of IWA’s festivals.

Roger Evans, for his volunteering activities with WRG and IWA over many years.  As well as editing North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s magazine, Roger is also actively involved in the branch’s Cheshire Locks Project, which is a joint project with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society, of which he is also currently Chairman.  Roger is a familiar figure at IWA festivals where he will help with the set up and take down as well as working on the sales stand during the event.  Roger is also actively involved in all the activities of WRG North West.

David Lowe, for his many years of campaigning as an IWA member for the retention and promotion of the northern waterway network.  David has operated many commercial boats over the years, including passenger boats, restaurant boats, hire boats and freight carrying craft.  David currently advises the industry and navigation authorities about freight carriage, and has been secretary and is currently chairman of the Commercial Boat Operators Association.  David is particularly active in promoting proposals to explore potential market demand for freight carriage, looking at how and where water can offer some competitive advantage and to modernize and present waterborne freight as a serious mode of transport.

The Branch Achievement Award, awarded annually to an IWA branch that has made the greatest progress and achievement in promoting the Association’s aims and objectives during the past year, was awarded to Lichfield Branch.  Among many other activities, such as responding to a staggering number of planning applications every year, this busy branch has this year completed towpath improvements in Rugeley alongside the new visitor moorings created by the branch.  

Readers of Bulletin are reminded that nominations for national awards can be made by individual members and branch and region committees. See full details of the awards and how to nominate an individual or waterway organisation.
Nominations should be submitted by 31st March each year. 

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