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Presentation of Queen's Award 21st September
Saturday, 22 September 2012 00:00

QUEEN’S AWARD PRESENTED TO CANAL CAMPAIGNERS

WBCTQueenAwardKath HattonA PRESTIGIOUS award was presented to hardworking volunteers today, in recognition of their successful campaign to breathe new life into a former waterway.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire. The award has an equivalent status to that of the single MBE.

In the last year alone, the charity has arranged dozens of workparties along the length of the route. Volunteers have donated thousands of hours to clear rubbish and restore a wide range of original structures including towpaths, culverts, bridges and wharfs. Their aim is to create a new wildlife corridor linking the Kennet & Avon Canal near Melksham to the Thames & Severn Canal near Cricklade and the River Thames near Abingdon, protecting our industrial heritage while providing a multi-million pound boost to local tourism and employment.

Kath Hatton, vice-chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, received the domed glass crystal award from the Lord Lieutenant Mrs Sarah Troughton. The presentation took place alongside a restored stretch of the canal in Swindon before guests enjoy a short trip aboard the narrowboat Dragonfly .

Kath said: “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is regarded as the highest award for charities, and therefore we are delighted and honoured to receive this royal recognition. The Wilts & Berks Canal played an important role in the industrial revolution before it was abandoned in the early twentieth century, and our first volunteers simply tried to protect what was left of the route. Then, the charity had a small membership and very few people outside of the organisation had any idea that the waterway had ever existed. It was in danger of being lost forever. However, today there is growing recognition of the ways in which canals transform the fortunes of local towns through increased tourism and employment, as well as providing important new habitats for wildlife. Membership is steadily increasing and there is now clear public support for the Wilts & Berks to be brought back to life.”

Mrs Troughton said: “I am delighted when groups are recognised for the unique services they provide to their communities. The Trust has done much to restore and promote canals within Wiltshire. The dedication, commitment and hard work of officers and other volunteers is to be commended and the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is justly deserved.”

Kath added: “We are under no illusions about the scale of the task, especially in the current economic climate, but we only have to look at the Kennet & Avon Canal to see what can be achieved by volunteers working with the community. The Trust already enjoys the strong backing of local councils and residents and we hope the Queen’s Award will help to raise our profile even higher Working together, we can breathe new life into this wonderful waterway.”

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Swindon Advertiser

Saturday September 22

The Presentation

Advert13Sept

Programme of the afternoon's events

Swindon Advertiser Sept 13 2012

 

The Award

All of the details can be accessed through the following links:

www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_188059

Swindon Advertiser Sunday 17th June 2012

Congratulations to everybody for your input that has allowed the Trust to achieve what is rated as, 'the highest award given to volunteer groups across the country for outstanding work', 'an award for groups of people doing voluntary work that is a social, economic or [and] environmental service to the community'.

Queen's Award Press release

Commemorate the Award with a Souvenir