HARDWORKING volunteers have been rewarded with a prestigious prize for the third year in a row.
The Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has received the Tony Davy Award.
The engraved crystal – named after the charity’s first chairman – is
presented to the branch with the highest number of hours donated by
volunteers during the previous year.
Local supporters worked on almost 130 days during 2012/13, providing almost 9,000 hours of free labour.
Branch chairman Derek Flexer received the award at the charity’s Annual General Meeting.
He said: “This latest accolade is evidence of the strength of local support for the canal restoration campaign.
“Aside from the achievements on the ground, the donated time also helps
in our bids to secure further financial support – last year’s hours had
an estimated value of almost £72,000 when used as matched-funding when
applying to other bodies.
“The award is a real tribute to the dedication and commitment of everyone involved in our local projects.”
The focus of branch activities is currently on the former stretch of
the Wilts & Berks Canal in the open countryside between Melksham
Significant stretches have already been dredged and filled with water,
and the towpath has been raised and widened to improve access.
The wharf has been restored at the bottom of Pewsham Locks to make it
easier for boats to be launched, and a planning application has been
submitted to rebuild the locks and create a visitor centre and cafe.
Other work included repairing original culverts, restoring a public
footpath over Double Bridge and installing new stiles and gateways.
Derek added: “People are constantly amazed by the pace of progress,
especially when so much of it has been achieved by volunteers who are
so generous with their time and talents.
“The charity is sincerely grateful to each and every one of them, and
we’d be delighted to welcome any new members who want to get involved
with digging, bricklaying, strimming, mowing and all of the other tasks
which are restoring this canal to its former glory.
“In addition to the physical work, we also need people who can help
with displays, marketing, fundraising, research, planning applications
and other administration.
“We always promise a warm welcome at our workparties, and the opportunity to bring a piece of local heritage back to life.”
For more information about the local Branch of the Trust you can visit their Web site www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk