PRESS RELEASE: Early Christmas Present for Buckingham Canal Society

Issue date: 23rd December 2013

Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has handed over an early Christmas present for Buckingham Canal Society in the shape of WRG’s much-loved former JCB 803 excavator. 

Known as ‘Blue’ the machine was purchased for WRG following an appeal to celebrate The Inland Waterways Association’s 50th anniversary in 1996. 

When new, the machine was formally handed over to WRG at the World Canal Conference at Birmingham in 1996, by the then Waterways Minister Robert Jones MP.  Over the past 17 years the excavator has given sterling service to WRG and a range of waterway restoration groups around the country, to whom it has been loaned. 

Although ‘Blue’ is still going strong, it is beginning to show signs of age and WRG decided that its days of travelling around the country to different work sites should come to an end, and so WRG is looking to buy a new machine in 2014, largely utilising ‘restricted purpose funds’ that have given to IWA for Waterway Recovery Group work. 

Expressions of interest for ‘Blue’ were sought from waterway restoration groups around the country and Buckingham Canal Society put in a particularly good case for taking on the machine. 

WRG has now donated the machine, with the Society just paying transportation costs for delivery. 

The JCB excavator will now hopefully enjoy many years of productive retirement helping Buckingham Canal Society restore the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal. Currently it is being stored with the kind support of Cosgrove Marina prior to the restoration works the Society are expecting to undertake later in 2014.

ENDS

Notes for editors

Volunteering with WRG is a great experience for anyone who loves being outdoors and enjoys meeting people from different backgrounds and of different ages (18+). WRG offer volunteers a fantastic chance to learn new skills such as bricklaying; stone walling; machine operation and restoration techniques! Each week costs £56 which includes food and accommodation.

For more details go to the WRG website www.wrg.org.uk or call 01494 783 453 ext 604

Download images of excavator 'Blue' from the Flickr website

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