History was made this week near Lechlade when the very first bricks of the Inglesham Lock restoration were laid by members of The Waterways Recovery Group.
The intention is to install a back pumping system behind the paddle culverts at a later date. When complete the lock will once again link the River Thames to the Thames & Severn Canal.
Three groups of volunteers drawn from throughout the UK and Europe have been engaged in week long work camps near the Cotswold town of Lechlade.
The volunteers have been engaged on the Inland Waterways Association’s keynote restoration scheme to assist the Cotswold Canals Trust restoration of the thirty-six mile link between the rivers Thames and Severn.
Well over one hundred bottles dating from the 1920’s & ‘30s were found buried behind the spill weir while one volunteer, who happens to have an interest in coin collecting, was delighted when a mud covered George IV coin surrendered itself to him whilst he was shovelling mud!
Who are these people?
The volunteers, (known as The Wrgies) pay £56 per week for a working holiday. They have been camping at Kempsford Village Hall and enjoying well-earned showers at a nearby recreation centre.
WRG team leader Nigel Lee explains… “Last week we had a guy from Spain and a regular 'wrgie' from Italy.
This week they came from all over the UK, and all ages too!
University students, a railway engineer, lorry drivers, a telephone engineer, a magazine editor and a whole bunch of people from the IT world.”
When asked why people subject themselves to such communal living and hard physical work Nigel went on to say,
“These working holidays appeal to anyone seeking a different experience away from their normal day to day job.
We all love the fact that we can see what we have done at the end of the day and are happy that what we have done will be there for very many years to come.
What has been really good this time is the support and enthusiasm for the canal restoration shown by the local people. So many people have thanked us and wished us well”
The Cotswold Canals Trust thanks them too!
To find out more about the Waterway Recovery Group and the Inland Waterways Association Inglesham Lock Appeal click on the icons below.