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


Press Releases  Back
March 2015



Members of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust are delighted to have been given a very special ‘lot’ for their auction next Thursday, March 26th.  The office of the Royal Household of Prince Charles, has donated a Highgrove Garden Tour, followed by Champagne Tea for two people. The lucky winning bidders will enjoy a two hour guided tour, as part of a group of 16, through the extraordinary series of gardens including The Stumpery, the stunning Wildflower Meadow and the impressive Kitchen Garden. At the end of the tour, a Champagne Tea, including organic produce, will be served in the Orchard Restaurant as the visitors are entertained by the resident pianist. The Champagne Tea Garden Tour is available on selected dates from May to August.

Malcolm Hitchinson, who had the idea of trying for this special experience, said: “We are thrilled to have been given this splendid item for our auction. HRH Duchess of Cornwall, is the patron of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, and this is another example of the wonderful support she has given the Trust over the years.

“We are sure that this will be a very popular lot at the auction; we will be thrilled if it achieves £150 - £200, and hopefully Gordon, our brilliant auctioneer, will manage to contain the enthusiasm!”

There will be free entry to the auction, which is being held at 7:00pm at The Angel Hotel Chippenham on Thursday 26th March. The event will be hosted by entertaining auctioneer Gordon Brockman of Chippenham Auction Rooms.

Jeff Daws, auction organiser said: “We have over 80 lots, including tickets to the Yeovilton Air Day, a ‘hands-on’ experience on a vintage steam launch, rounds of golf, a brewery tour, a trip to Beaulieu, a charter trip on the Trust’s own narrow boat Dragonfly, weekend passes to the Village Pump Folk Festival, and many more exciting excursions.

“As well as experiences, we also have many other items including original watercolours from local artists, hampers, wine, beer, sports equipment, microscopes and musical instruments, including a valuable alto saxophone.

“I could fill this page with examples of the lots that individuals and companies have generously donated, but the easiest way to see our complete list, is to visit our website click on Auction and then List.

“We hope plenty of people will attend the auction – we do have a fantastic variety for Gordon to auction. We would like to invite everyone to come along to The Angel next Thursday, enjoy the fun of an auction, and get hold of some bargains in the process.

All money raised will be used to help in the restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal.”
Bids can be taken in advance for those unable to attend.
Call 01373 859207 or email

The picture shows HRH The Duchess of Cornwall steering Nb Dragonfly under the watchful eye of (l to r) John Laverick Chairman Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, John Bridgeman, Vice-Chairman British Waterways and Tim Pyatt Boats Director WBCT.

A charter trip on Dragonfly is also one of the lots, as is a trip on the vintage steam launch Scathtan, owned by John Laverick.


The aim of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is to restore the former waterway from the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon.
Significant stretches have already been restored near Lacock, Calne, Dauntsey, Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon, Shrivenham and Wantage.

Anyone interesting in finding out more about the canal trust, or in volunteering, please visit the website

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