The Melksham, Calne and Chippenham Branch
of the
 Wilts & Berks Canal Trust
 

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October 2013

TRUST VOLUNTEER FEATURED IN NATIONAL CAMPAIGN



A Chippenham volunteer is about to be featured in a national campaign to inspire more people to give up their time for good causes.

Dave Maloney was invited to share his experiences of working with the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.

The 59-year-old is a volunteer with the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the charity which is restoring the former waterway through the local countryside.

His blog is being used by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) in support of their Make A Difference Get Inspired campaign which runs throughout October.

It will be featured next week when it can be viewed at www.csv.org.uk/difference

Dave, pictured centre with fellow Trust members at Pewsham Locks, said: I didnt know much about the restoration of the canal until I came across a group of volunteers working on the edge of Chippenham.

I started talking to them and realised the waterway had been an important trade route during the 19th century before being abandoned in the early 20th century. However, many of the structures were still visible and capable of being restored.

This compared with my hometown of Middlesbrough which sadly lost most of its industrial heritage with the closure and demolition of the steelworks.

The volunteers were trying to safeguard their own local history and this was what inspired me to join them.

Dave added: Its completely different from my daytime job as an IT manager in a local comprehensive school.

The range of activities has been immense from fundraising and public speaking to bricklaying and tree-felling.

Ive helped to restore boats, bridges and locks, built bird boxes and batboxes and Ive even been a skipper.

Ive also been trained in new skills such as driving diggers and dumper trucks, operating chainsaws and managing volunteers.

Its been really rewarding to watch the changes from one year to the next as we steadily see more and more of the canal being brought back to life.

Weve dredged several hundred metres of canal and refilled it with water.  Weve raised and widened the towpath, installed benches and helped local youth groups to plant trees.

Its now become a haven for local wildlife and a popular spot for local walkers and cyclists.

Its incredibly rewarding to know that were leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

For more information about the local Branch of the Trust you can visit their Web site www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk

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