IWA Bulletin Mid-September 2015

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David Suchet Proud to honour Robert Aickman in Central London

Photo: Les Etheridge and David Suchet at the unveiling of the blue plaque commemorating the life and work of Robert Aickman

On 10th September, IWA unveiled a blue plaque commemorating the life and work of its co-founder and first chairman, Robert Aickman, at his home and workplace at 11 Gower Street, London.
Aickman, a pivotal figure in the struggle to save Britain’s inland waterways from decades of institutionalised neglect and destruction has finally secured public recognition for his efforts, 101 years after his birth.

Well known actor and TV presenter David Suchet CBE, much loved for his portrayal of Agatha Christie’s iconic detective Hercule Poirot, revealed the plaque in a ceremony at the central London location.

Speaking in the very room where IWA’s first meeting was held the actor, now a vice-president of IWA, disclosed how he was inspired to purchase his first boat aptly named “Prima Donna” when playing at the theatre in Stratford on Avon.  The very next year he was again in Stratford with his new narrowboat when he heard a commotion outside the theatre.  He was lucky enough to witness HM The Queen Mother alongside Robert Aickman at the re-opening of the Stratford and Avon Canal as a navigable waterway in 1974.
Les Etheridge, IWA’s chairman, told those gathered that “Robert Aickman’s vision is maintained today where IWA’s on-going mission remains vital to the future of our waterways.  The Association is determined to make the waterways better and continues to promote top-level political interest by providing the secretariat at Westminster for the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways.  We work closely with navigation authorities to protect and improve the now 3,600 miles of navigable waterways and we continue to drive the now thriving restoration movement, supporting local restoration societies with practical help through our specialist Waterway Recovery Group - bringing back stretches of waterways that have been derelict for years.”

Robert Aickman lived and worked at 11 Gower Street between 1943 and 1973. The inaugural meeting of The Inland Waterways Association was held in February 1946 in the large living room of Aickman’s two-floor apartment. Over the following five years this room, which became known as the ‘Waterways Room’, was the office for IWA.  The building is currently the headquarters of the UK Warehousing Association who’s Chief Executive, Peter Ward, joined the celebrations.

David Suchet referred to the inspiration that Robert Aickman was to him.  He mentioned that since 1974, both he and his wife Sheila have “never been without a boat, so my personal thanks to Robert Aickman, my personal thanks to the IWA and aren’t we proud to be vice-presidents of the very association he founded.”

IWA News

Major steps towards restoring and re-watering the Newport Canal at Forton

Photo: Restoration on the Newport Canal

IWA is playing a major role in supporting the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust (SNCT) and its canal restoration plan from Norbury Junction to Newport.  The “Destination Newport” project also has the support of the Norbury to Newport CIC and Newport Town Council.

Most of the work is being paid for by a restoration grant of £3000 from IWA's Restoration Grant Fund.

Over the week of 22-29 August 2015, a group from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) got the project started with the first restoration of a length of the canal at Forton, just east of Newport, Shropshire. In six days, with the help of heavy plant, nineteen WRGies plus volunteers from the SNCT, re-profiled a section of the canal and laid a Bentonite waterproof lining in preparation for the re-watering. SNCT will continue this work over the winter and WRG is scheduling further weekend work camps to support this. It is planned to re-water the 100m length between Forton Skew Bridge and Forton Aqueduct by summer 2016. Both the aqueduct and bridge are listed structures.

The WRG and SNCT volunteers went through a rapid learning curve to find the best way to excavate the correct profile and re-construct the towpath using 3 tonne and 5 tonne diggers, then how to safely and accurately handle, unroll and cut the 1 tonne rolls of Bentonite and correctly join them. The first couple of lengths took quite a long time to lay and joint but work progressed faster as the team gained experience. SNCT now expects that the rest of the section can be completed quite quickly as long as dry weather continues.

This is the first work done to restore the bed of the canal since it was officially abandoned in 1944 and mostly sold off to local landowners in the 1960s. Fortunately this 100m length is still owned by Canal & River Trust, which gave its blessing and support to the project. The Bentonite, surplus stock from a former WRG project on the Montgomery Canal, was donated to SNCT and its transfer to the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals was initiated and facilitated by IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch. When this section is complete SNCT plans to move on to work on other sections which can then be gradually joined up to make “Destination Newport” a reality.

IWA Annual Members' Meeting 2015

Photo: Droitwich Canal, boat turning (by Chris Handscombe)

IWA's Annual Members' Meeting 2015 will be held at Salwarpe Village Hall, near Droitwich, on Saturday 26th September starting at 10.30 a.m.

The theme of two short presentations at the meeting is “IWA initiatives on non-CRT Waterways” to be followed by the AGM.
The formal Annual General meeting will be held as part of the proceedings at 11.30 a.m.
After lunch, there will be opportunity to discuss members' topics with Trustees followed by the National Awards Ceremony.  See detailed programme information on the AGM page.

Join IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade Team

IWA is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join the team which organises one of the most successful and best attended inland waterways events in the country.

IWA Canalway Cavalcade, now in its 34th year, is held annually over the three days of the May Day Bank Holiday in the heart of London at Little Venice.

We are looking for volunteers in the following areas:

  • Work Camp Organiser
  • Entertainments Manager & Assistant
  • Site Services Manager & Assistant
  • Trade Show Manager & Assistant

For more information and to apply please contact:Jerry Sanders, Commercial Director
Email: jerry.sanders@waterways.org.uk or telephone: 07788 204442

IWA’s Chiltern Branch Presents Trailer to Wendover Arm Trust

Photo: IWA Chiltern Branch events and fundraising manager, John Brice (right) presents a purpose built trailer to Wendover Arm Trust chairman, Chris Sargeant (Photo by Jenny Brice)

At the Wendover Arm Trust's recent open day at Drayton Beauchamp, IWA’s Chiltern Branch presented Wendover Arm Trust with a purpose built publicity box trailer. The trailer, with dynamic and striking graphics, will enable the Trust to operate more efficiently at the many events it attends, as well as promoting a more professional image. IWA Chiltern Branch events and fundraising manager John Brice, is seen below presenting the trailer to Trust chairman, Chris Sargeant, who thanked  Chiltern Branch for the trailer and IWA’s continued support for the restoration.

Grant Funding

Many organisations and charities offer free funding opportunities in the form of grants which can be applied for by going through their specific application process.

To view the list of all the grants currently on IWA’s website please visit Available Grants.

This month the following grants have been added to the website and are open to applications:
•    Postcode Dream Fund
•    The Charles & Elsie Sykes Trust

Other News

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute approves the Waterways Ombudsman Scheme

The Waterways Ombudsman has announced that the service has been approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute as a Consumer ADR body under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.

The new legislation, which came into force on 9 July 2015, means that all dispute resolution providers must be certified by a government approved Competent Authority to operate within the sectors they serve.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme provides an impartial and independent dispute resolution service for unresolved complaints about the Canal & River Trust which have already been considered under the Trust’s own complaints process.

IWA & WRG Work Party Reports

This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group. IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its Canal Camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work the group has been undertaking.

Successful Litter Pick in Chester

Photo: Volunteers from IWA’s Chester & Merseyside Branch at their August work party

IWA Chester and Merseyside Branch had a successful day in Chester at their August work party. A total of 9 volunteers attended (including two very eager youngsters). The volunteers litter pick covered Deva Aqueduct, Tower Wharf, Northgate Locks and Dee branch and they collected 16 bags of litter and various other detritus including  traffic cones.  The work party attracted plenty of positive feedback from local people.

Lock Painting Completed

Photo: Stourport narrow lock four

Monthly work parties at IWA’s  Birmingham, Black Country and Worcestershire Branch have been well supported and volunteers have worked in a number of locations along the Staffs & Worcs Canal as well as in Stourport Basins.

Activities have ranged from lock gate and paddle gear painting, (including lock ladders and bridge rails), through balsam bashing and clearing vegetation.  As well as the ever necessary litter picking.

In August the work party met at Caunsall and walked up to the moorings on the county border where volunteers removed overgrowth from around the mooring rings, cut back vegetation and overhanging branches and painted posts and fencing.  A stroll up to Whittington lock and more rings were exposed.

September found the work party preparing and painting the four narrow locks leading from the River Severn into the basins.  Numbers were enhanced by CRT volunteers and with favourable weather, the volunteers managed to complete all four locks and lost count of the numbers of boats they helped through.

Take a seat!

IWA’s Chiltern Branch has replaced a decayed hexagonal bench, circling a tree at Marsworth bottom lock, with a brand new bench.  The bench built from long lasting Iroko wood, provides visitors to this beautiful area with a welcome place to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Volunteers from the branch built and installed the attractive hexagonal bench.  Branch Chairman, Dave Chapman constructed the seat with John Brice, Eddie Evans, Jack Fisher and Brian Ing completing the installation on site.  CRT were supportive of the project and offered practical assistance. The bench was commissioned by IWA Chiltern Chairman Dave Chapman on Saturday 18th July and is dedicated to the memory of Geoff Leonard, an IWA volunteer who spent much of his leisure time at Marsworth.

Busy Work Parties Continue to Tackle Balsam

Photo: Volunteers pulling-up Himalayan Balsam on the Uttoxeter Canal

IWA’s North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch’s work party in mid-August saw volunteers back in the vicinity of Crumpwood flood lock on the Uttoxeter Canal. Volunteers split into two groups, both of which were kept busy once again tackling Himalayan Balsam. The first group worked ‘downstream’ from the flood lock (this section of the canal is dry) with the now legendary Caldon Canal Society Slashers, dispatching a very large area of Himalayan Balsam. Working between the flood lock and the footbridge over the river Churnet, the second group hand-pulled the balsam that was growing amongst the desirable native species on site. Suitably equipped with life jackets they worked right down to the water’s edge and in the absence of a work-boat improvised with rakes to reach the balsam that grew out from the bank.  One of the volunteers also spent time removing regrowth of the ivy growing on the weir abutment.

On Saturday 29th August, after a lack of volunteers on July’s Saturday work party, the group was pleased to welcome two new volunteers.  One of them was not only new to the Uttoxeter Canal but had not been on a canal work party anywhere before. Although late in August volunteers were pleasantly surprised that the Himalayan Balsam was not yet setting seed. The work party completed the removal of balsam from the section between the flood lock and footbridge that they started on the previous work party. The only patch of Himalayan Balsam they could not access was growing on a tree which must have fallen into the river some time ago and become lodged against the weir. It is planned that Waterways Recovery Group will remove this tree, along with a more recently fallen silver birch, from the weir during their annual ‘Bonfire Bash’ reunion camp in early November.

IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.

IWA Branch and Region Magazines

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
East Yorkshire - Wolds Waters

South Yorkshire - Keels and Cuckoos

Chester and Merseyside - Chester Flyer

Lancs and Cumbria – Towing Path Topics

Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2015

20th September 2015 - Waterways Triathlon, Essex
26th September 2015 - Annual Members' Meeting, Droitwich

Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.

See IWA's Events Calendar for a full list of waterway events. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.

Upcoming Volunteer/Cleanup Events

17th September Work Party - Trent & Mersey, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
19th September Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
22nd September Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
25th September Work Party - Congleton (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th September Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th September Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
27th September Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
27th September Work Party - Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch (IWA Nottingham Branch)
30th September Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

3rd October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
3rd October Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (Supported by IWA N. Staffs & S. Cheshire Branch)
7th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)   
8th October Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA N. Staffs & S. Cheshire Branch)  
11th October Work Party - Hatton (Supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
11th October Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
13th October Work Party - Northampton (Supported by IWA Northampton Branch)
14th October Work Party - River Gipping  (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
14th October Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (Supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcs.Branch)
15th October Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
17th October Work Party - Greater Manchester (Supported by IWA Manchester Branch)
21st October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
23rd October Work Party - Congleton  (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
24th October Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
25th October Work Party - Northampton (Supported by IWA Northampton Branch)
27th October Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (Supported by IWA N. Staffs & S. Cheshire Branch)
28th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar

Upcoming Towpath Walks

20th September Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

4th October Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)    
11th October Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
18th October Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

  • ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount
  • Airedale Cruising - 10% discount off skippered day cruises
  • Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Canal Boat Magazine - Annual subscription for just £15
  • CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
  • Forge Studio - 10% discount
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • I Love Meet and Greet Ltd - 15% discount
  • King's Lock Chandlery - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Marine Megastore Ltd. - 15% discount
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Middlewich Narrowboats - 25% discount on hire of classic boat Willow
  • Paper Wizard - 15% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - Up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • The Three Locks Pub, Grand Union Canal nr. Milton Keynes - 10% discount on food
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on 1 day VHF SCR training courses
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard 
  • Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd - 10% discount on published prices
  • Zead - Free postage and accessories

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public

For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.

Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription

Boat Insurance

IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways. 

See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Katie Thomas