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


Press Releases  Back
APRIL 2015


Thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals, local canal restoration charity, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, raised a total of over £3,000 at their recent auction held at The Angel Hotel in Chippenham.

The event was held to raise funds to support the promotion and restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal, particularly as local branch, the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne Branch, has recently stepped up its restoration efforts. As well restoring a collapsed 200 year old culvert, volunteers have started work on the immense task of rebuilding the first of the three locks at Pewsham near Chippenham.

Jeff Daws, auction organiser said: “We were amazed at how generous people were both by donating brilliant items and experiences, and also by bidding for them on the night – either in person, or via commission bids. We would like to thank everyone: the donors, the bidders, the Angel Hotel, and Strakers Estate Agents.”

“Gordon Brockman from Chippenham Auction Rooms was our brilliant auctioneer. He worked incredibly hard during the evening; he had over 80 lots to sell, and had to persuade buyers to part with their hard-earned cash. He did this with humour and professionalism, entertaining an audience of about 100, most of whom went home very pleased to have secured a bargain.”

“Thanks to everyone’s fantastic support, the evening exceeded all our expectations.”

“All money raised will be used locally to help restore and promote the Wilts & Berks Canal.”

One star item of the night was the exciting opportunity to have a hands-on experience on-board the steam launch Scathtan. Scathtan is a genuine coal-fired steam launch, powered by a miniature steam engine of the type used on Titanic. Her owner, John Laverick, Vice President of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, donated this as a unique opportunity, and he was delighted that Scathtan had helped to raise such a fantastic amount for this exciting, community restoration project.

Their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall donated a Highgrove Garden Tour and Champagne Tea for two people. The lucky winning bidders were Jack and Gail Richmond, who said “We are very pleased to have supported the work of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust by successfully bidding for a visit to Highgrove House gardens with a champagne tea - we hope the plants will talk to us on the day!”

HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, is patron of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, and has previously supported the Trust by opening the restored Double Bridge, naming the Trust’s trip boat Dragonfly, and turning the first sod for the new Melksham Link, which is currently awaiting planning permission.

Malcolm Hitchinson (Chair of MCC Branch Events Committee) said: “We were thrilled to be given this splendid item for our auction, and are sure that the winning bidders will have a wonderful experience at Highgrove. John Laverick has also been a tremendous advocate and ambassador for the Trust for many, many years, and we would like to thank him for donating his time and sharing his beautiful heritage steam vessel Scathtan.”

Other very popular lots were: tickets for the Chippenham Folk Festival, golf at the Bowood Course (donated by Lord Lansdowne), and a tour of the Royal Navy Historic Flight Hangar at Yeovilton. This is not normally open to the public, and generated an enthusiastic bidding war by several auction-goers keen to get a close view of the historic Swordfish, Sea Fury, Sea Hawk and Chipmunk.

Members of the public are warmly invited to join the MCC Branch on their annual Sponsored Walk to Lacock at 10:00am on Sunday May 10th, when members will be on hand to explain plans and progress, especially at Pewsham Locks

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