Celebration of Waterways in Progress at IWA’s Annual Meeting

Celebration of Waterways in Progress at IWA’s Annual Meeting

01 October 2018

Over 160 people attended IWA's Annual Members Meeting, which took place on 29th September near Stroud in Gloucestershire.

The Member's Meeting was opened with an insightful presentation by WRG chair and IWA trustee Mike Palmer demonstrating the value of Waterways Restoration in Progress. The report seeks to spell out how well thought-out restoration initiatives can start to deliver benefits for the community right from Day One of restoration work. The presentation included a case study on Cotswold Canals Phase 1a restoration project by David Marshall, Canal Manager for Stroud District Council. Ebley Mill is one of several case studies detailed in the report, and is an area transformed as part of £115m of investment to excavate the canal, build 550 new houses and create over 770 jobs.

IWA National Chairman, Ivor Caplan, reviewed campaigns throughout the year including the underfunding of Environment Agency navigations, our Silver Propeller Challenge, IWA's Festival of Water, and the protection of waterside heritage. This presentation was followed by IWA Campaigns Officer, Alison Smedley, whose work during the past year has included seeking improvement of the quality and number of boaters' facilities, battling closures on Scottish Canals, and a campaign cruise on the Old Bedford River.

Grassroots success stories within the charity were celebrated through the annual Awards ceremony. Volunteer effort and support is recognised through the award of Richard Bird medals which this year were received by Peter Bowers, Lesley Taylor, Roger Mungham and Roger Wilkinson. The Branch Achievement Award was presented to IWA's Northampton Branch and the Association's premier award, the Cyril Styring Trophy, was presented to Audrey Smith OBE for a lifetime's support of IWA and its objectives, included a stint as national chairman. IWA's Christopher Power Prize was awarded to the Cotswold Canals Trust in recognition of considerable progress made in the restoration. Seven more members that now have more than 60 years of membership were awarded life membership of the Association.

IWA Members then got a chance to gain a more intimate insight into Ebley Mill for themselves with tours of the building including the original mill, council offices and chambers led by Stroud Town Council. Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers also took members on guided walks between Ebley Mill and Wallbridge Lock, which was reopened earlier this year by HRH Prince Charles.

Photo by Roger Stocker.

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