Members of the Thursday team did some useful work clearing off-side vegetation during 2017 and 2018 using our 12-person passenger boats as working boats. This year, because our boats were in dry dock or having new engines, we asked Canal and River Trust if we could borrow one of their work boat (flats). A boat became available on 18th Feb leaving precious little time before the birds started nesting. An appeal was sent out asking for help and there was an excellent response from over 30 volunteers. Our venture became an official Canal & River Trust project and we gained the valuable help and advice of Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Summerbell. We managed to clear a large amount of overhanging vegetation from three and a half miles of the canal. This included fallen willow boughs, many of which had taken root. We took care to stack the vegetation in an environmentally friendly way. We also cleared rubbish which had accumulated near weirs which was well appreciated by many canal-side residents and boat owners.
Each year, the Canal & River Trust celebrates the great work that is undertaken by individuals and groups throughout England & Wales through their Living Waterways Awards. For our sterling work, Laura Summerbell nominated Wexp for one of these awards and we made it through the local judging to become a national winner.
Paddy Flavin, Christine Thomson, Dave Lee and Frank Stimpson attended the award ceremony in Birmingham on July 4th where they were presented with an impressive trophy by Canal & River Trust CEO, Richard Parry.
Since making the award, Canal and River Trust has accepted our application to “adopt” the section of the canal from The Fisheries to Hunton Bridge. This will enable us to work with them and other local organisations to keep the canal attractive for the benefit of boaters and local residents. A meeting has been arranged at the base on Tuesday 3rd September 2019 11:00 am to discuss ideas and plans for this autumn and winter. We will invite representatives from local businesses and voluntary organisations who have said that they are interested in helping. Please let firstname.lastname@example.org know if you would like to attend, have any suggestions for work to be included, and if you’re in touch with other local bodies who might be interested in joining us.