The Inland Waterways Association’s 60th Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 28th September, 2019 in Stoke-on-Trent. The meeting was hosted by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch who helped make a weekend of the event, arranging visits to a local pottery, and the planned restoration of the Burslem Branch Canal, plus an evening supper of pie and peas accompanied by an illustrated talk on the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal.
The AGM was attended by over 100 members who were treated to a number of different presentations, including one by Jonathan Mosse who is one of Navigation Committee’s Scottish representatives, which looked at the campaigning being supported by IWA to improve navigation on Scotland’s canals, including the campaign for additional funding from Scottish Government which enabled the Forth & Clyde Canal to be reopened to through traffic earlier this year.
One of the themes that ran through all the presentations was the importance of Planning, and it was interesting to hear from Bob Dewey, one of our expert planning team, about how IWA volunteers and Branches can get involved in shaping local planning policy. This is something that, as an organisation, IWA will be focusing on more and more in coming years.
Next up, it was the annual IWA Awards ceremony. These awards celebrate worthy individuals and Branches who are working to help the Association improve the waterways. A full list of all award winners can be found in the right hand column.
The formal AGM began with a short speech by national chairman, Ivor Caplan, followed by the presentation of the annual report and financial statements by chief executive, Neil Edwards. This year, members had an opportunity to ask questions to Trustees and this led to a lively debate and raised a number of important issues for further consideration.
To finish up the AGM, Alison Smedley, Policy & Campaigns Officer at IWA, presented an update on some of the campaigns that have been running over the past year.
Lunch was served and then members headed off to the various afternoon activities arranged.
Commenting on the AGM, Ivor Caplan said, “It was great to see so many of our members at the AGM. It was a good opportunity for members to hear about the Association’s achievements in 2018/19 and its ambitious plans in the pipeline for the next 12 months. I very much enjoyed hearing from our members in the Q&A section of the meeting and am recommending that we keep this in the agenda for future AGM meetings. I am very grateful to IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch for arranging all the afternoon and evening activities, which were enjoyed by a large number of attendees. I would also like to thank everyone who came along and those who were involved in the organisation of the event.”
Richard Bird Medals – awarded to individuals who have brought significant benefits to the IWA over a sustained period of time. There were seven recipients of the Richard Bird medals this year:
Christopher Power Prize – awarded to an individual, society or trust that has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway. This prize was awarded to Roger Leishman of the Wendover Arm Trust, who has been instrumental in the restoration of this seven mile channel. Roger recently announced his retirement from active involvement but still retains a great interest in the project. The prize includes a cheque for £1,000 made payable to the Wendover Arm Trust.
John Heap Salver – awarded to an IWA member who has made an outstanding contribution to raising funds for the Association. This award was awarded to Mike Snaith from IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch for his regular and effective fundraising efforts.
Cyril Styring Trophy – this is the Association’s premier award, given to an individual IWA member who has made an outstanding contribution to furthering IWA campaigns. This was awarded to John Gale from IWA Chelmsford Branch and Essex Waterways. John was celebrated for over 40 years work with IWA Chelmsford Branch, including the restoration of Springfield Basin, work for Waterway Recovery Group nationally and locally and much more.
IWA Branch Achievement Award – this award is given to the Branch which has made the greatest progress in promoting IWA’s aims and objectives over the past year. The deserving recipient of this award was IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch. Particular recognition was given to the Branch’s role in protecting an at-risk heritage bridge which has now been restored like-for-like.
Photo: Mike Snaith accepting the John Heap Salver from Ivor Caplan