PRESS RELEASE: IWA & ANT Celebrate Aickman Centenary

Issue date: 27th June 2014

Today, 27th June 2014, The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) and Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) celebrated the centenary of the birth of Robert Aickman, one of IWA's founders, who led the campaign to reopen the Upper Avon.

At 2.30p.m., a small group including representatives from IWA and ANT gathered at Aickman Lock to mark the centenary.

The area has recently been improved by IWA Warwickshire Branch who refurbished the memorial and repainted the lock, railings, bridge and gantry. The monument to Robert Aickman was originally built alongside the lock at Harvington in 1983 to celebrate his contribution to the local waterways.

After reading Tom Rolt's book Narrow Boat, Robert Aickman was inspired to take action to save the declining waterway network, and subsequently founded IWA with Rolt in 1946. Aickman led the campaign to reopen the Upper Avon and Southern Stratford Canal in the 50s and 60s, and was credited with saving the British waterways network almost in its entirety.

Richard Sanders, Chairman, IWA Warwickshire Branch said "The monument to Robert Aickman was built alongside the lock at Harvington which was the final lock in the restoration of navigation of the Warwickshire Avon between Stratford upon Avon and Evesham.

IWA Warwickshire Branch members thought it fitting to repair the effects of numerous floods over the last 30 years. The monument has been cleaned and damaged bricks replaced and the bronze portrait of Robert Aickman burnished. In addition, over 200 volunteer hours have been spent at the lock, which bears his name, cleaning and re-painting the lock gates and the two associated bridges."

Clive Matthews, General Manager of ANT said "We are very grateful to IWA Warwickshire Branch for the splendid work they have carried out in the refurbishment of the Robert Aickman Memorial and Lock. The Avon Navigation has a 375 year history and the Avon was one of the first rivers to be made navigable in the country.

The restoration of the Lower Avon navigation dates back 65 years and was the first restoration supported by IWA and the first of its kind in the country. The River Avon owes a great deal to Robert Aickman and the support of the IWA."

Further celebrations will be taking place at Stratford River Festival over the weekend 5th and 6th July 2014.


Notes for Editors:
About IWA

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Avon Navigation Trust: Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) is the independent charitable navigation authority that has run the River Avon Navigation from Alveston Weir above Stratford upon Avon to where the Avon meets the River Severn at Tewkesbury for the last 65 years. The Navigation has a 375 year history and ANTs objectives are to administer, maintain and improve the navigation.
Telephone: 01386 552517  

About Stratford River Festival: The Stratford River Festival will be held over the weekend 5th - 6th July 2014 at the Recreation Ground, Swans Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon.

IWA Warwickshire Branch will have a large marquee on the river front of the recreation field showcasing its activities in Warwickshire on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July. A larger IWA marquee, situated alongside Bancroft Gardens, will be exhibiting and also showing film of the restorations on Friday 4th July through to Sunday 6th July.
Friday afternoon will be dedicated to a re-enactment in Bancroft Basin of the re-opening of the Southern Stratford Canal and the River Avon by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the unveiling of commemorative plaques.

IWA campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.
About IWA
Volunteers restoring the waterways. The Waterway Recovery Group is part of IWA.
About WRG

Attendees at Harvington Lock, River Avon to celebrate the centenary of
Robert Aickman's birth
Left to right - Richard Sanders, Clive Matthews, Walter Thomson, Les Etheridge, Clive Henderson and Roger Clay
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