THE RESTORATION of a local waterway will be driven by a fresh focus on
attracting a new generation of volunteers. Dave Maloney has just
been elected as the new chairman of the Melksham, Chippenham &
Calne branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. He was the
deputy chairman for the last three years and closely involved in some
of the charity’s most important local projects.
Now he hopes to lead a new effort to recruit younger volunteers who can play an active part in workparties and fundraising.
Dave brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is the Trust’s
technical operations director but also leads the branch fundraising
team and is on the steering group preparing for the reopening of The
Peterborough Arms, the former canalside pub at Dauntsey Lock.
He has also been leading the restoration of hundreds of metres of canal
alongside the A4 between Chippenham and Calne in conjunction with a
habitat management plan to repair hedgerows and encourage native flora
Dave, an IT manager, said: “I am very proud to be leading such a
dedicated group of volunteers and plan to swell their number by
attracting a new generation of supporters so that we can bring more of
the canal back to life.
“It’s vitally important that we recruit a greater number of younger
volunteers, aged 18 and above, who can get involved in any aspect of
the restoration – from workparties and fundraising to event management
and a host of other activities.
“Teenagers in particular will find it’s a useful and unusual addition
to their CV, while others will find it’s an excellent way to keep fit
“Every member, whatever their background and interests, will receive a
warm welcome. Even the ‘armchair’ supporters will still be helping us
to raise awareness and funds.”
The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has proposed the creation of a
‘Melksham Link’ which would bring the canal across the fields from the
Kennet & Avon near Semington and through the centre of the town via
the River Avon.
The local branch is supporting this plan by restoring the historic line
from Pewsham towards Melksham so that the two sections will ultimately
Dave added: “Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, and the
generous co-operation of landowners, the local community now realises
that the reopening of the Wilts & Berks Canal is no longer just the
pipe dream of a small group of enthusiasts.
“The evidence is plain to see along the stretches which have already
been restored where we’ve rebuilt towpaths, bridges, culverts,
spillweirs and other structures and provided a popular amenity for
walkers, runners and cyclists.
“Now we need to make even more people aware of its existence and benefits.”
New members and volunteers
are always welcome; see more information on the websites: