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Wessex Waterways

Restoration Trust

Just another Little Job!

It all started on Sun 17 Feb when two of the many walkers that abound on our newly re-built towing path at Foxham said they had encountered a fallen tree and did we know of it? Well, it came as a surprise to us so we (Carsten Drew, Gordon Williams, George Schmidt and myself) bimbled, tooled-up, down the towing path to see what we could see. Just about half way down and between the Kinch's accommodation bridge and their access stile lay a fallen 8 metre by 3 metre willow that had had the chutzpah to plop itself completely across the canal and towing path with its topmost branches straddling the hedge line and into the adjoining fields!

For us, safety is paramount and so is the safety of the general public. As it stood (or rather, as it didn't stand) the tree was neatly blocking pedestrian access to the permissive walkway (or towing path if you prefer) with people squeezing themselves through the myriad of tangled branches as best they could. We endeavoured to clear a route through and shift the debris to one side giving people a clear run. The tree was left propping itself up on its larger boughs and all protrusions removed so no-one could be poked in the eye unless they really tried!

Now, Carsten, who you may know, is the Chair of the Trust; and immediately went into Trustee Mode and declared this a suitable job for another time but only once a suitable Risk Assessment and associated task Method Statement (or RAMS) is prepared and submitted through the correct channels (Sigh!). He's correct of course so I have made a mental note and will get 'a round tuit'.

This job is going to need Stuff. Stuff comprises of a chain saw complete with a willing, competent operator, a Tirfor Jack and pulley, cables and a bloke or two with muscles (other genders are available). If we can, we'll have the 3 Ton digger on hand in case the trunk needs a bit of encouragement. Finally, hand tools and a trailer to load the resultant logs onto.

Finally, I should say that throughout, because we work with the landowners and maintain an excellent relationship with them, we thank them from the heart of our bottoms.  They allow us to not only work on their property but also to process the lumber for sale to the public and help raise funds to purchase and maintain the 'Stuff' that we depend upon.

Yours Aye, Larry

Lawrence Finnegan

Press Release

March 12th 2019

Wessex Waterways Restoration Trust is proud to announce that we have received an award from the National Lottery of £10,000.  As a new Trust we are still establishing ourselves within the canal restoration movement and this award will allow us to purchase publicity material (marquee, banners etc.) and extra equipment such as strimmers and mowers, as well as a substantial road trailer.

Our raison d’être is to enhance the work already being carried out on the old Wilts & Berks canal by working on lengths of towpath and canal which are currently inaccessible and, with landowner support and permission, to open them up to the public.  We will also undertake minor rebuild and repair work on structures such as accommodation bridges and locks.  These are tasks that can be undertaken at relatively low cost, and completed within a fixed time-frame.

To achieve this we need to recruit members from all the relevant disciplines – planners, engineers, fund raisers etc. – the list goes on, but at the heart of it all will always be the ‘navvy’.  We are still in the process of negotiating for work sites and, very importantly, recruiting members.  When forming the Trust we were very well aware that there was a growing need for ‘hands on’ work for enthusiastic canal volunteers, and this is what we will provide.

   New Board of Trustees
The AGM of the Trust on the 9th of February was well attended.  As per the Charity Commission rules all existing Trustees had to stand down, and nominations for the new board would be taken and voted upon.
    WWRT constitution allows for up to 20 Trustees.
    Eight people put themselves forward, including one of the previous board, and all were elected unanimously.
Carsten Drew                            Chair & Membership
Sue Paine                                   Treasurer
Vaughan Welch
Andrew Chapman
Janet Flanagan
Rachael Banyard
John Minns
Doug Small
   Over the next few weeks various roles will be assigned to the Trustees.  In the meantime, the main focus will be on increasing the membership.
      Everyone can help with this; membership forms can be downloaded from the website.