Issue date: 3rd April 2013
For many boaters, a trip through Wardle Lock on the Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union Canal was enhanced by meeting Maureen Shaw, a former working boat woman who was always pleased to chat and offer tips on boat handling.
When Maureen died in 2012, IWA Chester & District Branch fronted an Appeal for an interpretation panel which would commemorate the lives of the working boaters as well as celebrating Maureen’s life. The panel contains stories in Maureen’s own words about the routes they worked and the cargoes carried. From being a young girl and living with the Jinks family on a Thomas Clayton gas oil boat, driving the horse, to her marriage to Jack, the Captain of a Fellows, Morton & Clayton boat.
The unveiling of the panel took place on 23rd March on a bitterly cold day but despite the weather the event was extremely well attended. With an opening speech by Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton and IWA’s current Parliamentarian of the Year, and an emotional unveiling by Sharron Underwood, Maureen’s daughter, the occasion went off without a hitch.
The panel was installed by one of CRT’s Small Task Team volunteer groups and many individuals and associations willingly donated to the Appeal which had been launched the previous June. The organisers would like to thank all those people who contributed and made this commemoration possible.