Stroud's canal project wins major award
The restored waterway between Stonehouse and Bowbridge came top of the Restoration and Historic Environment Category of the 2015 Living Waterways Awards.
This prestigious national competition is run by the Canal & River Trust. The awards ceremony was held in London at The Church House Conference Centre Westminster. The first picture shows Canal Project Manager Dave Marshall taking the photo published on Twitter & Facebook during the ceremony.
Inspiring & exciting projects
Living Waterways Awards are intended to recognise the most inspiring and exciting waterway-based improvement projects across the UK. The judges, who come from the environmental, engineering, architecture and regeneration sectors, summed up the award winning restoration in the following terms:
'This £20 million restoration project has transformed a massive swathe of derelict and contaminated land back into a pleasant waterway environment which supports diverse flora and fauna. And it has embraced the involvement of the local community in all aspects of investigation, planning and physical restoration.'
Council Leader comments
Cllr Geoff Wheeler, Leader of Stroud District Council, accepted the award and said: “It is great that all the hard work to transform and revitalise this area over the last six years has been acknowledged and appreciated. Staff and volunteers have carried out sterling work to restore seven locks, build eight new bridges, open up 6km of canal channel and upgrade 9km of towpath.”
48,000 Volunter hours
Project leader Dave Marshall adds: “The £20M first phase of the canal project in Stroud was funded mainly by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Stroud District Council and the Cotswold Canals Trust – and supported by an army of volunteers who, since 2013, have given 48,000 hours to the project.”
The Cotswold Canals Trust is now leading a £15 million bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which, if successful, will lead to the next stage – restoration of the canal between Stonehouse and Saul Junction. Stroud District Council is working closely with the Trust in support of the bid. In the light of this Cotswold Canals Trust Vice Chair Jim White commented, “This nationally recognised award really could not have occurred at a better time coming, as it does, so near to the submission of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid being prepared by CCT’s Val Kirby and her team.
A volunteers view
The volunteers, so often referred to during the award ceremony, were represented by Cotswold Canals Trust member Judith Basham. Judith is often seen engaged in a range of activities including lock repairs, channel maintenance and crewing the work boats and trip boats. (See the third image)
Asked to share her thoughts on the awards ceremony Judith said: “It was a great experience in a beautiful setting. I was very pleased to have been invited to the Living Waterways Awards ceremony as a representative of the volunteers; then to hear and share the marvellous news that we had won our category. If only we could all have been there. But what a boost this is for the restoration project.”