Archived Branch News

Support IWA in Uttoxeter supermarkets - January/February 2018

Calling on all waterway supporters in the Uttoxeter area, and those who pass by on the A50. Please vote for us if you do any shopping at either of the Tescos stores in Uttoxeter (the Tesco Superstore and the Tesco Express on New Road). Our project for the Tesco Bags of Help blue token scheme until the end of February is a WRG Family Camp on the Uttoxeter Canal (following the success of last year's), to be hosted by Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust in June.


2016 Living Waterways Awards

Our IWA branch was “Commended” in the “Community & Volunteering” category at the 2016 Living Waterways Awards ceremony, held at Birmingham Town Hall on 14th September.

Although a relatively new and small group, since 2012 our IWA Branch has completed a massive amount of work, raising 162 work parties to carry out a wide range of improvement projects, with 1,217 volunteer days and over 200 volunteers involved. Work parties are open to anyone and are widely advertised in local communities. They take place at a variety of locations. A central store for equipment has been set up and a good network has been established with other organisations willing to help.

The work carried out has included: painting lock gates, lock furniture, railings and fences; pulling submerged rubbish out of the canal; litter picking towpaths and removing waterborne floating rubbish; hedge planting and hedge laying; vegetation clearance and weeding; clearing historic cobbles and lock quadrants of weeds and soil; painting historic mileposts; painting a cast iron historic Listed junction bridge and laying a replacement stone surface on it; soft bank protection; and clearing invasive plants.

Alison Smedley, Campaigns Officer for The Inland Waterways Association, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award, which recognises the dedication and commitment of all our volunteers in our North Staffordshire & South Cheshire branch, who have completed a staggering amount of work on their local waterways in the last four years.

“The wide range of work parties being organised by this one IWA branch demonstrates a commitment to the maintenance, regeneration and restoration of the local inland waterways. From the beginning it has been very much about working in partnership – with the Canal & River Trust as the navigation authority for most of the work party sites, and with local canal societies and local community groups.”



Himalayan Balsam 2016


A series of Himalayan Balsam work parties, to help control this invasive non-native plant which is a problem in the Staffordshire Moorlands, took place on the Caldon Canal again in 2016. The work parties were jointly organised by our IWA branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust. These work parties contributed to the final year of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership’s Big Pull Project, as well as nationally to IWA’s invasive species campaign.

On Monday 27th June an evening session with half a dozen people saw all the Himalayan balsam on the towpath between Denford and Cheddleton removed, along with quite a lot from the other bank, courtesy of the use of a locally based day hire boat to access the offside.

On Thursday 30th June volunteers met at Consall Lime Kilns to work upstream on the river section, and on this occasion were grateful to have the help of Barry from CRT, and also of CRT’s trailable aluminium work boat to access the offside bank.

On Monday 11th July the young people from Cheddleton’s Light Seekers youth group enjoyed their annual outing to pull up Himalayan balsam along the canal in Cheddleton.

On Saturday 16th July a family volunteering day saw all the Himalayan balsam along the towpath between Stockton Brook and Endon cleared, along with much of what was growing on the John Emery Land near Endon.

And finally, on Sunday 17th July, a group of half a dozen volunteers took time out from enjoying the successful Froghall Canals Fun Day to clear Himalayan balsam between the basin and the tunnel.

In all locations an improvement on previous years was noted. As the Himalayan balsam is late in developing its seeds this year, July/early-August is not too late for it to be pulled. All walkers, anglers, boaters and anyone else using the waterways are encouraged to pull it up, where safe to do so.



Froghall Fun Day


The Froghall Canals Fun Day, held on Sunday 17th July 2016, was a successful event with a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. It was a good opportunity for us to make contact with the local community, and there were many useful conversations during the day. Julie Arnold was the organiser with the Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust (CUCT) the lead organisation, and our IWA branch supporting the event. There were two gazebos side by side, housing the IWA and CUCT displays, including the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership photographic exhibition, celebrating the 4 year Heritage Lottery funded project in pictures.

There was also an octagonal gazebo beside the lock housing the WoW children’s activities – there was brass rubbing, lace plate making and a quiz which took children on a hunt for clues throughout the site. WOW activities were run all day by a small team including a family who had travelled from Hertfordshire to help at the event. The whole area was enlivened with Churnet Valley Living Landscape boards and the “Vision of the Valley” exhibition attracted much interest. Members of the public were invited to take part in the consultation process regarding future plans for the area. This was staffed by Steve Wood and Julie, supported by Simon Papprill together with Glyn Parkes from the Canal & River Trust.

NB Beatrice was kept busy all day doing boat trips through Froghall Tunnel, loading in the nose of the lock which was kept full with the top gate open unless the lock was being used.

Indeed, the highlight of the day was when Rupert Smedley brought historic narrow-boat Skylark up through the lock: it had been on display in the basin throughout the day. A good crowd watched as it worked up through the lock with the noise of its engine reverberating as the boat moved away towards the tunnel, giving a glimpse of what a working boat looked like in the heyday of the canal. The highest point on the boat was the tiller, with only a few inches between it and the tunnel roof.

 We were pleased to see Emma Atkinson, who had just taken the lease of the Froghall Wharf building. Although the building has yet to be commissioned, she brought her gazebo and mobile home and did a steady trade all day with a barbecue and other refreshments. At the end of the day, she generously donated her takings (in excess of £300) to be shared between CUCT and the Beatrice charity. It was good to see the start of this venture, and we wish her well.


Bells for Brindley

Canals, pottery, boats and bells came together on Saturday 23rd July at Middleport Pottery to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the start of work on the Trent & Mersey Canal, along with the 300th anniversary this year of the birth of James Brindley.  

“Bells for Brindley” was jointly organised by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and North Staffordshire Association of Change Ringers. Crowds gathered on the banks of the Trent & Mersey Canal for a re-enactment of the original sod cutting ceremony which had taken place in nearby Brownhills on 26th July 1766.

Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Stafford-shire Mr Ian Dudson, CBE CStJ, attended the event and told the gathered crowds how important the Trent & Mersey Canal was to the industrial revolution and the pottery industry. Local historian and actor Ray Johnson recreated the 1766 speech as Josiah Wedgwood, with Duncan Bourne taking the part of James Brindley and preparing the ground for the first sod to be cut by Josiah Wedgwood. The 50 year old ceremonial spade (kindly loaned by Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club), had originally been presented by the then Lord Wedgwood at an event in 1966 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of work starting on the canal. 

Our branch, the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust had sales and publicity stands. The North Staffordshire Association of Change Ringers gave bell ringing demonstrations throughout the day on the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry. Historian and author, Victoria Owens, had books on James Brindley for sale. Live music included local bands Steamhead, The Boat Band and the Clay Chorus. There were also four locally based historic narrow boats at the event (Lindsay & Keppel, Skylark and Sudbury).  

Crowds gathered again later in the afternoon to hear a full performance about James Brindley from Josiah Wedgwood (again with Duncan Bourne and Ray Johnson in their respective roles). The bell-ringers had also organised a wider geographical event, with bells being run for special “quarter peals” at 27 churches to mark the celebration along the whole length of the Trent & Mersey Canal during the day.

Clean for the Queen

On Saturday 5th March 2016 our branch volunteers joined forces with a community group, Middleport Matters, the Burslem Port Project and CRT volunteers to undertake a Clean for The Queen along the towpath and canal, plus the streets of Burslem Port.  CRT supplied a small boat and trained volunteers who used it to remove floating rubbish along the Trent & Mersey Canal whilst Burslem Port volunteers picked litter along the line of the Branch Canal. A group of young people from the YMCA were dispatched along the towpath and the local Boys Brigade worked outwards from Middleport Park. A total of 53 volunteers collected around 70 bags of rubbish in a very busy and successful day.

Clean for the Queen in Burslem, Saturday 5th May 2016


Going the Extra Length

The Hazelhurst Junction Bridge Project was announced as the winner of a CRT Central Shires "Going the Extra Length" award at their volunteers annual Christmas event on 4th December 2015.  This project, carried out jointly between the branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust had taken a lot of prior planning as the bridge is a Grade 2 Listed structure. A 1930's BCN Motor Boat "Ben" was used as a work boat so the underside of the bridge could be painted at the same time. The preparation was particularly time consuming as the scrapings from the old paintwork had to be prevented from dropping in the canal. Patience was also needed when wire brushing the scalloped design of the parapets. The work was completed in just over a week with 14 different volunteers totalling 26 days work.

Photo: IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire branch volunteers with their 'Going the Extra Length' award



Himalayan Balsam work parties on the Caldon Canal

The continuing campaign against Himalayan Balsam in the Churnet Valley took place again in the summer of 2015, with a total of 6 work parties taking place during June and July on the Caldon Canal (as well as several on the Uttoxeter Canal at Bridge 70).

The work parties, which are jointly organised by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, contribute to the Churnet Valley Living Landscape’s “Big Pull” Project, as well as the national IWA Himalayan Balsam campaign.

Work started in June with a summer evening’s work party between Froghall and Cherry Eye bridge.  This was followed by a week day work party with twenty-three volunteers working on the stretch between Consall Station and Flint Mill Lock, in partnership with the Churnet Valley Railway and with assistance from the Personnel and Payroll Department of Michelin, who are based in Stoke on Trent.
On this occasion volunteers worked on both sides of the canal as well as from an aluminium work boat provided by CRT.  A Sunday session, again using CRT’s aluminium boat, saw the canal below Cheddleton Locks cleared of the plant. 

A further evening work party saw the Himalayan Balsam between Denford and Cheddleton tackled, while a family volunteering day in the first week of the school holidays had young people as well as older volunteers joining forces to clear the plant on the river section of the Caldon Canal upstream from Consall Lime Kilns.  A further evening session, this time for the young people of Cheddleton’s Light Seekers Youth Group, saw the Leek Arm cleared of Balsam between Hazelhurst Junction and Horse Bridge. 


Photo: IWA Himalayan Balsam work party at Consall on the Caldon Canal, working in partnership with volunteers from the Churnet Valley Railway


Photo: IWA Himalayan Balsam work party on the Leek Arm with local Light Seekers youth group






Hazelhurst Junction Bridge Project


Photo: Hazelhurst Junction Bridge painting project day 1 (photo by Alison Smedley)


A week of fine weather in June saw the iconic cast iron bridge at Hazelhurst Junction on the Caldon Canal finally looking pristine in a new coat of black and white paint. The project had been quite a long time in the finishing, with a start having been made over a year ago on the IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust joint monthly work parties, but after being rained off a couple of times, and then having to move resources elsewhere due to other priorities (Himalayan Balsam and then Cheddleton Top Lock in readiness for the Caldon 40 celebrations), the bridge remained less than a quarter painted!  

Therefore, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch decided to put aside a whole week for the project, and to arrange a work boat so that the underside of the bridge could be painted at the same time. The week commencing Monday 8th June was agreed with CRT, and it turned out to be a very good choice with gloriously sunny weather and just a few splashes of rain at the end of the day on Friday.  

Planning, of course, had started some weeks earlier, with a site meeting with Mark Clifford, CRT’s Heritage Adviser, who advised about preparation methods and paint types, with the bridge being a Grade 2 Listed structure. A project plan, including method statements, risk assessments and other essential information was then drawn up and approved by CRT.  

The preparation of the metalwork took a surprising amount of time, with careful scraping of the underside of the bridge (and collecting the scrapings so they did not end up in the canal) and wire brushing of the scalloped design of the parapets both being particularly time consuming. The first two days were spent in preparing surfaces and by day three, a start was made on the painting.  Firstly a zinc rich primer was applied where bare metal had been exposed, followed by white or black Hammerite, depending on which bit of the bridge was being painted.  As it is a Listed structure, all the paint had to be like-for-like according to the previous colour scheme, although it was interesting to note historic photographs showing it painted all white, and all black, and numerous variations of black and white, over the years.




Canal Clean up in Stoke-on-Trent


Thick fog and an iced-over canal didn’t deter people from turning out to clean up the Trent & Mersey Canal through Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday 8th February 2015.



The event this year was hosted by Middleport Pottery, with the canalside wharf outside their café being used as the meeting point.

There's links to larger size image files and more info. here.


Help us bag £4,000 from Tesco for family volunteering weekend

The branch, in partnership with Waterway Recovery Group, have managed to get through to the in-store voting stage of the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ programme. We applied for funding towards the cost of a WRG Family Canal Camp which will be held on the Uttoxeter Canal and hosted by Caldon and Uttoxeter Canal Trust. It is the first time WRG have held a camp of this kind, which will enable families with children aged 8 – 14 to take part in a weekend of canal activities in a fun and safe way.

The project could receive one of three grants - £1,000, £2,000 or £4,000.  The voting will run throughout May and June, in two Tesco stores in Uttoxeter; every customer making a purchase in these stores will receive a token to vote for their favourite project. The projects with the most votes will receive the most funding, so we would encourage all local members and volunteers to head in store and get involved!

The Tescos stores taking part in the scheme are:  Tesco Superstore, Brookside Rd, Uttoxeter ST14 8AU and Tesco Express, New Road, Uttoxeter, ST14 7DH.

Work Party Volunteers From Branch Join C.U.C.T For  Storage Project.

Volunteers from the Branch have joined with the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust in a project to help with the storage of of both organisations' equipment by preparing for and constructing a shed.

Over a period, a foundation was prepared and a shed put together on it to aid in the storage of items long held in, for example, committee officers' homes.

Click here for more images and detail on how it was done!

Gold Medal For Congleton

In the recent Royal Horticultural Society Britain In Bloom awards, Congleton struck gold in the 'Large Town' category.

Hearty congratulations were in order for all those whose efforts have been rewarded, and for those helping with the work done beside the Macclesfield Canal in the Congleton Station area by work party volunteers.

These canal work parties are a collaborative effort involving IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire, CRT, Congleton Town Council, Congleton Sustainability Group, Cheshire East Council and Northern Rail.

You can see what has been achieved here and the RHS results can be viewed using this link:

Stone Food and Drink Festival Cheers Up

On Saturday 4th October, branch members 'set up shop' in the High Street in Stone for the day.

Styling itself 'The Canal Town', Stone has historic significance for the Trent & Mersey Canal which 'locks up' through the town on its route northwards, providing loads of boating facilities and a successful marina nearby at Aston.

Stone enjoys a Farmers Market on the first Saturday of each month but October's coincides wih the annual festival and the branch were represented by its well situated stall outside one of the town's banks.

To begin with, the weather was quite poor but, earlier than forecast, the weather relented and the citizens of Stone came out with the sun, resulting in a better than expected day with the Nail Game once again proving supremely popular.

Presidential Medals Honour Heroes

The North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch were honoured to be welcoming IWA's National AGM in Leek recently.

2014 National AGM Prize Winners.

During the proceedings the announcement was made that both the branch's President and its Vice President were to receive long deserved prestigious Richard Bird Medals, an IWA award presented to both Chris Skelhorne and Roger Savage.

Branch President, Chris Skelhorne has been active in undertaking a wide variety of roles since the 1970s. He was the first Secretary of Stoke-on-Trent Branch becoming the chairman in 1977.

He was one of the main organisers working with members of the Trent & Mersey Canal Society organising the very successful Trent and Mersey Bicentenary Celebrations.

He has also led a series of projects improving the waterways in the area surrounding Stoke.

Branch Vice President, Roger Savage has been the driving force behind the Cheshire Locks Project, having a plaque in memory of Pat & Millie Osborne on one of the new A500 road bridges and organising a Staffordshire Waterways Marquee at IWA festivals.

He also and initiated the Staffordshire Waterways Group, bringing together navigation authorities, local authorities and waterway groups on the Staffordshire area. He was a major force behind the Burslem Port project.

Click this link for more:[0]=news/list

Macclesfield Canal Selected To Pilot Major 'Green Flag' Project

Branch chair, Bob Luscombe, reports hearing that the Canal & River Trust Manchester & Pennines region are planning to pilot a major environmental project working with groups such as 'Keep Britain Tidy’ to hopefully secure 'Green Flag' status across the canal system.
He reports that the Macclesfield Canal has been selected as the pilot for this important project and I will advise you of further information with regard to this in due course.
We hope you will agree that this is great opportunity for what many of us believe to one of the most attractive if not the most attractive canal in England.
If you would like any further information about our Macclesfield Canal joint work parties or want to let me know that you will be coming along to any of them, please contact Bob on 07710 054848 or by email at


Joint Response Agreed With Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust For Leek Plans

Whilst IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust are pleased to see that the canal has been included in the proposals for the former Hughes Concrete site in Leek, we are disappointed that the proposals do not go any further than a marina immediately over the currently infilled Churnet Aqueduct.  We would prefer to see the plans incorporate Route Option 2 identified by the 2006 feasibility study (carried out by IWA, CUCT and BW). In particular, we consider that any new terminus of the canal should link in with current proposals for extending the railway line into Leek.

A unique opportunity exists to create an attractive new destination in Leek that would include a canal basin, railway station and visitor facilities including a pub, and this chance should not be missed.
There has been overwhelming public support for a new basin at Leek which has been demonstrated at various local consultations in recent years.

The 2006 feasibility study can be seen on the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust’s website.


We are greatly saddened to learn of the death of waterway stalwarts

Mino Wyatt

Mino Wyatt of the Canal Cruising Company died in Stone, Staffordshire, on Friday 1st November at the age of 94.

The Canal Cruising Company is the oldest continuously family-owned firm on the canals, currently celebrating its 65th year in business.

Founder Rendel Wyatt obtained a lease on its base - the original Trent & Mersey Canal Company’s docks in Stone - just before the nationalisation of the waterways.
His son David, who died seven years ago, and David’s wife Mino took over the running of the company in 1955.

They were friends with early waterways campaigners such as IWA founder Tom Rolt.

At the recent IWA AGM, in a slight departure from original practice, the Association’s prestigious Richard Bird Medal was awarded to Mino, Karen and Peter Wyatt and The Canal Cruising Company, Stone for their long-term (65 years) commitment to and promotion of the inland waterways and support for The Inland Waterways Association.

More detail can be viewed in the IWA Bulletin issued in November 2013 here.

Barbara Rees

We are very sad to learn that a former Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent Branch for many years, Barbara Rees, has died peacefully in her sleep aged 91.

Barbara joined the IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch Committee in 1983 and was the Branch's Chair from 1988 until 2002.

Her long commitment to the IWA was recognised by the award of the IWA's Richard Bird Medal in 2001.


Wheelock Wharf Waterway Community Event 2013

Wheelock 2013 Saturn Image Small North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the crew of the historic fly-boat Saturn hosted three days of activities in the June sunshine on the wharf at Wheelock, at the foot of Cheshire Locks.

We were extremely fortunate in being given access to the historic stables on the wharf, which remain in almost exactly the same condition as when last used by working boat horses over 50 years ago.

These have not been opened up to the public for over a decade but owners CRT gave us permission to use them for this special event.

Wheelock Event 2013 IWA Nth Staffs & Sth Cheshire

On Thursday and Friday around 90 children from the local primary school came in groups to undertake a range of activities on the wharf, in the stables and on board Saturn.

They learned about canal carrying, horse-boating and life afloat for children of boating families a century ago.

A film about horse-boating made in 2002 and largely shot in and around the stables was also shown.

A Waterways Community Day was held on Saturday, with Branch members this time talking to local people about the Cheshire Locks Project and other branch activities in our area.

Wheelock Event 2013 IWA Nth Staffs & Sth Cheshire

We were joined by the Trent & Mersey Canal Society who had their own displays and by one of their members selling honey produced from his hives just a mile down the canal.

Saturn was open to the public and an impromptu gathering of a number of working boats en route between festivals at Etruria and Middlewich also took place.

All agreed that it had been a very successful and enjoyable three days.


John Sutton

Photo of the late John Thomas Sutton of  IWA & Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club. 

IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch is very saddened to learn of the death of John Sutton.
John was a founder member of the Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club, a Life Member, Past Commodore and Vice President, as well as a Trustee.

He served on the Boat Club committee in various roles until recently.

He also was a keen and active member of the IWA, serving on the committee of the local branch, Stoke on Trent as it then was.

The waterways, boating and the boat club were John’s life.

Having trained and worked all his life as an engineer – except for serving in the Forces, John did much of the fitting out of his four boats himself, to an extremely high standard.

The parish church at Hanford in Stoke on Trent was packed at his funeral service, many of the congregation being club members and others connected with the waterways.

His wife Pauline and daughters Tina and Jackie are all members of Stoke on Trent Boat Club, where friends and family gathered afterwards to say farewell to a boater who was much loved and highly respected by all who met him.

Many boaters will unknowingly have a memento of John, as he was responsible for the manufacture, and often design of hundreds – indeed thousands – of the brass rally plaques which decorate our boats.
Pauline, Tina and Jackie have asked that any donations be made to Help for Heroes, care of the Undertakers, Harold H Leese, St Peters Close, Stoke on Trent ST4 1LP, or direct to Help for Heroes, 14 Parkers Close, Downton Business Cetre, Downton, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3RB.

(Picture, courtesy of Marie Condliffe, Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club, of John T Sutton at the helm of his narrowboat Thomas.)


Branch Name Change - A New Name and a Warm Welcome.

In order to reflect wider aim, at the Annual General Meeting on the 8th March this year, Branch IWA members endorsed a change of name for our branch.

We are now the IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch. The branch was previously known as IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch.

Our press release announcing the name change can be viewed here.


Roger Savage Appointed Branch Vice President

At the same AGM, Roger Savage was appointed as a Vice President of the Branch, in recognition of his long-standing commitment to the IWA and waterways issues.

Roger has worked tirelessly over the past four years as branch chairman, instigating the on-going Cheshire Locks Project on the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Staffordshire Waterways Group, and as a prime mover in the on-going Burslem Port project.

But his involvement as an active member, along with his wife Pauline, goes back to the 1960s when, as Membership Secretary of the Caldon Canal Society, Roger played a leading role in the successful campaign to restore the beautiful Caldon Canal.


Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership - Works Begin

Work is about to start on major towpath improvements “Linking the Heritage” between the historic Flint Mill and the Railway Station at Cheddleton – a CVLLP project being delivered by CRT and contractors over the next few months.

This popular length will have extra mooring facilities and a surface enabling wheelchair access, thanks to additional funding provided by the Communities Mean Business LEADER programme (part of the Rural Development Programme for England), the Canal & River Trust itself and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

This project has also benefitted from significant involvement by CUCT volunteers including: initial bid submissions, practical surveying, community consultation and photo presentations to the funders and, this month, encouraging CRT to communicate to the community, do PR and put mooring rings at 3m intervals as a trial facilitated by volunteer campaigning (John Rider and CS Partnership).


Maureen Shaw Panel Unveiled

(IWA Chester & District Branch)

The panel was unveiled at 2:00pm on the afternoon of Saturday the 23rd March 2013 at Wardle Lock in Middlewich in the presence of IWA's Parliamentarian Of The Year, Fiona Bruce MP, and Maureen's daughter, Sharron Underwood, who flew in from Thailand.

The press Release announcing the unveiling can be viewed here.


Stoke-on-Trent Rail and Canal Campaigner honoured!

Jon Honeysett, Inland Waterways Association Stoke-on-Trent branch Navigation Officer, has been made an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his services to Rail in Kidsgrove where he also promotes canal initiatives.

Jon is passionate about the importance of good transport links and the role they play in the attractiveness of an area. A keen boater, he has also forged links between IWA and Kidsgrove Town Council, to focus on the area to the north of Harecastle Tunnel and around the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Macclesfield.

More here.


Did You 'Join Us In June' in 2012?

Did you 'Join us in June' for the three wonderful festivals last year?

The Etruria Jubilee Canals Festival was held on the 2nd and 3rd June 2012 (some pictures here, a web site here, more here and there was a pre-event press release here).

Cheshire Locks Awareness Day took place on Saturday 9th June, 10am - 4pm at Lock 51 of the Trent and Mersey Canal. See our Programme of Events page, here, or for more about the event click here.

Much fun and entertainment was also had at the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival (web site here) on 16th and 17th June.

The following weekend, the 23rd & 24th, it was the Northwich River Weaver Festival (IWA Chester & District Branch)? More information here and IWA Chester's web page is here.

A commemorative ceramics run was done, with a mug commissioned and transported by boat and on sale at all the events from Lindsay and Keppel.

Permission was also been obtained from Moorcroft to do, as a group project by Ripping Yarns, a rag rug and silk painting of the design of the vase that was last years prize.


NB President went to see the Queen! Staffordshire's Steam Narrow Boat 'steamed' to London for the Diamond Jubilee.

History was created as the 100 year old narrow boat made an amazing journey from Staffordshire to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Steam narrow boat ‘President’, commissioned to take part in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, made three canal side stops in the county before embarking on her three week, 300 mile route to London . The route is being funded exclusively by sponsorship from major Staffordshire businesses including JCB, Michelin, Wedgwood and St. Modwen.

President is one of the world’s only remaining steam powered vessels and was part built in Staffordshire; this was a fantastic opportunity to see her in all her glory as she steamed through Staffordshire and south to London. She departed from Etruria Industrial Museum, Stoke-on-Trent on Friday 20th April, stopping at Star Lock, Stone on 21 April and Fradley Junction on 22 April. She was recently greeted back to Staffordshire at Staffordshire Boat Club.

Approximate timings for President’s route through Staffordshire and on to London can be found here.

Visitors to events and those spotting NB President along the route, had the opportunity to see an exclusive onboard ‘Staffordshire cargo’ supplied by President’s principal sponsors and showcasing the diversity of industry the county has on offer. It included a JCB digger, a steel swan, created by St Modwen, a Michelin tyre and a hand crafted Diamond Jubilee Commemorative set from Wedgwood.


Maureen Shaw

Branch Chair, Roger Savage, attended the funeral of Maureen Shaw whose death was announced recently. Over 100 people followed her coffin which was placed on NB Tay, a sister boat to the Spey, on which Maureen spent much of her working life, to take her from her home at Wardle Lock to the Town Wharf in Middlewich.

Several hundred people attended the service in St. Michael and All Angels church. It was a moving procession and ceremony. The boat was steered by Jim Taylor, BW, assisted by John Watson. Gillian and John were thanked by the family for going to great lengths to make this happen. As Gillian said afterwards, “Maureen would have loved it.” A fitting send off to a feisty boating lady.


Branch Corporate IWA Members, Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, rejoice at HLF bid win!

The Trust are one of the partners in the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership The Partnership has just won a £1.89m bid for funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and their partners have issued a press release which can be viewed here.


Charlotte Atkins to be Chair of the Central Shires Waterways Partnership of CRT

The picture here shows the branch welcolming Charlotte Atkins at it's A. G. M. on the 9th March 2012, and a press release welcoming the former MP and recognising her long support for waterways can be found by clicking here.


Branch Member Is IWA Parliamentarian Of The Year

We are proud that branch member, Fiona Bruce MP (Congleton) is this year's IWA Parliamentarian of The Year. For more please follow the link here.


Fiona Bruce MP Visits Cheshire Locks

Congleton MP, Fiona Bruce took tea at Church Lawton with the branch recently after hearing of efforts to initiate restoration the cheshre locks flight. More here.


Enjoyment of Staffordshire Canals at The Waterways Festival - Burton on Trent 2011

The establishment of a Destination Staffordshire marquee helped people discover more about all the canals in Staffordshire, and the world of possibilities the county holds for holidays and great days out! The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) Stoke-on-Trent branch joined forces with Staffordshire County Council and arranged for local waterways organisations to exhibit in one marquee supported by the Destination Staffordshire tourism team.

There were displays by the groups campaigning for the: Burslem Port branch, Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals, Lichfield & Hatherton Canals, Stafford Riverway, Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, and Trent & Mersey Canal, plus the IWA branches for: Lichfield, Stoke-on-Trent and Shrewsbury & North Wales, plus the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal campaigners – yes, that waterway joins the Shropshire Union Canal in Staffordshire!

More here


Waterway Welcome to Stoke-on-Trent

Welcome signs have been installed marking where the Trent & Mersey and Caldon Canals enter Stoke-on-Trent by the City’s Canals Partnership. The signs celebrate the rich waterways’ heritage of the Potteries with a striking 21st century design and incorporate a map for those on the towpath and a tourist information leaflet box – accessible to canal users via a British Waterways facilities key.

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Waterway Community Day

A taste of holidays & life afloat – board a boat at Stone Food & Drink Festival

On Saturday 2 October last year, invitations were open to visit the Canal Cruising Co  - the boatyard at the heart of canal town Stone – to explore taking a holiday afloat, life on board a working narrow boat and restoring the lost canals of Staffordshire with volunteers from Stoke-on-Trent branch.

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Harry Arnold MBE

Journalist, author, photographer and campaigner for the inland waterways

IWA Stoke on Trent branch member,  Harry Arnold has been awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for the significant role he has played in Britain’s inland waterways scene for almost 50 years.

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Alison Smedley MBE

IWA Stoke on Trent branch secretary, former branch chairman and former IWA trustee, was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year's Honours list for her contribution to the inland waterways.