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Naming and Cutting by the Duchess of Cornwall - to Celebrate 200 years
Thursday, 09 September 2010 00:00

Duchess of Cornwall naming DragonflyThe Duchess of Cornwall came to Semington to lead the celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Wilts & Berks Canal.

The event on Wednesday 8 September 2010 was designed to mark two forward-looking projects that will increase the Trust's momentum in restoring the canal. Firstly, the Trust's brand new trip boat will raise the Trust's profile in Swindon and will be an incentive to open a route to the new canal constructed in Wichelstowe, and secondly, the ambitious Melksham Link has strong local backing and is being seen as important in economic regeneration.

Boat Naming and Cutting Symbolic First Sod
Thursday, 26 August 2010 12:04

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the opening of the Wilts & Berks Canal:
Boat Naming and Cutting Symbolic First Sod
by the Trust Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall,
Wednesday 8th September 2010

The Trustees of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust are pleased to announce that the Patron of the Trust, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, will be invited to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the canal by travelling on, and officially naming, the canal's first purpose-built Trip Boat for visitors, and by digging the first symbolic sod of the new Melksham Link on 8th September.ExampleBoat2_250

The Event Programme will commence when Her Royal Highness will be met at Hilperton Marina by County and Civic dignitaries and introduced to the Chairman of the Trust Mr John Laverick.

Her Royal Highness will be escorted aboard the new trip boat and embark on a journey along the canal to Semington Bridge. On the journey The Duchess will meet key funders and supporters of WBCT's projects, local MPs and a representative of British Waterways. The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust's trip boat the Barbara McLellan will follow in convoy carrying members of the WBCT Partnership, Trust directors, landowners and local officials.

On arrival at Semington, Her Royal Highness will be greeted by music from the Royal British Legion Youth Band and after disembarking The Duchess will be introduced to the boat builders before officially naming the new trip boat. Her Royal Highness will then turn the first symbolic sod in the proposed Melksham Link Project and be introduced to local landowners and Trust volunteers.

Chairman John Laverick said "The Trustees are delighted that The Duchess of Cornwall has been able to help us mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the canal. It is a wonderful way for us to thank key supporters as well as marking the milestone of commissioning our first trip boat which will give a real sense of what a fully-restored waterway will bring to local communities. We are steadily making progress on restoring the canal and its linkages which in addition will provide a significant wildlife corridor, cycleway and long distance footpath through Wiltshire, Swindon and Oxfordshire".

The event will take place late morning.

Click here for more information on the proposed Melksham Link project

Trust Office Move
Sunday, 21 March 2010 10:08

Spittleborough FarmAs of 8th March 2010 the office for the Wilts & Berks Trust has moved to a new location.

The Office is now located at Spittleborough Farm on the A3102 between Wootton Bassett and Junction 16 of the M4 (see map below).

The postal address has also changed to:

PO Box 3630,

Waterways World March 2010
Sunday, 07 February 2010 13:01

waterways_World_March_2010_2_cropped_600The March 2010 edition of Waterways World contains a 4 page article on the restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal.

Entitled 'The Big One' it describes "Britain's longest restoration of 67 miles of rural narrow canal. An impossible dream? Perhaps not, as Richard Fairhurst finds"

The full article can be found in Newspaper Archives section of the website.

Further details about Waterways World can be found from their website: www.waterwaysworld.com

IWA 2009 National Waterways Festival
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 00:00

IWA FLagIt was with some trepidation that we approached the IWA 2009 National Waterways Festival, held this year at Ratcliffe-on-Soar.

After the mud at St. Ives in 2007 and the terrible ground conditions at Autherley (2008) we hoped that the law of averages would come into play and bless us with a dry Bank Holiday weekend. And it did, either that or the organisers did a lot of praying. We arrived at the site with the displays on the Friday in order to set up and to be ready for the Saturday opening. Several of the team were already there waiting for us as they had booked into the Festival camp site earlier in the week.

Events TeamAlthough it was a bit windy (the end of a trans-Atlantic hurricane) the ground was nice and dry. It was probably the largest Festival site I have ever seen. All these sites tend to be a bit unique. This one was held in a large field alongside the River Soar in the shadow of the eight looming cooling towers of the power station. The weather was good to us all weekend with just a little bit of rain on Sunday afternoon - not enough to cause any problems.

It was a very successful Festival. Look out for a full write up of the show in the next edition of Dragonfly.

For more photos of the event have a look in the Photo Galleries.

New Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Website goes Live
Saturday, 08 August 2009 00:00

I am pleased to announce that today the new Wilts & Berks Canal Trust website was launched. The address stays the same (www.wbct.org.uk) but the look and feel is all new.

The website will be the central point to find out the latest news about the Trust, all that is going on in our restoration projects and also a fantastic archive of historic information about the canal.

Over the next few months the site will be growing with new content and also some new features will be added as well to make the site more interactive. If you want to keep up to date with the latest news you can find an RSS link on the news page.

WBCT Webmaster

IWA Waterways Autumn 2009 Issue
Monday, 03 August 2009 10:32



"Against all the odds Restoring the Wilts & Berks Canal"


The IWA takes a detail look at the prospects for a waterway that runs through superb countryside and ancient market towns.

Click here to view the full article.

Braunston Historic Boat Show 27th-28th June 2009
Saturday, 18 July 2009 07:06

Braunston Historic boat show 2009It had been many years since we had last visited the Braunston Historic Boat Show, on the Grand Union Canal near the junction with the Oxford Canal. It just so happened that Tim Coghlan MD of Braunston Marina, gave a talk to the Swindon Branch last Christmas time and mentioned this fact. Struck by conscience we made application and were booked in.

Braunston historic boat show 2009

John Minns, Keith Walker, Keith Dowding & Doug Small arrived there on the Friday afternoon and were allocated a prominent spot outside the main marquee, near the beer tent, ice cream van and burger bar. The tent was soon erected and we were soon able to retire to the Mill House for a bit of lunch.

Update from the Chairman John Laverick
Monday, 01 June 2009 00:00

Another Chapter Begins

Another chapter has begun today in the restoration process of the Wilts & Berks Canal. Following three years as the Trust's energetic and successful Chief Executive, Ken Oliver today started in his new role as Canal Officer with the new Wiltshire Council.

Ken has achieved much in the last three years and I am confident that from his new seat with all the resources and back up available at County Hall he will be able to achieve many more times that amount over the next three years.

As discussed at the last three meetings of Council of Management, we are not losing Ken as a resource for restoration but some things will inevitably be done differently for example he will not be attending all the WBCT committees on the same regular basis but will be keeping in touch, subject to the direction of his new 'masters'. As Ken says it will take a few weeks for the new arrangements to settle down. Council has already discussed some possible changes and Chris Coyle is drafting a paper on contingency issues. One thing is certain, Ken will be reporting regularly to each meeting of Council of Management.

The office will continue to function under Justine and Ann's stewardship. Staff management issues for Justine will likely fall towards Chris and those for Ann towards Peter Kinsman. There will be slight changes in roles for many of us as we adapt to filling some of Ken's former functions that cannot sensibly transfer with him. We must not hurry into these changes but adapt as circumstances dictate.

Royal Visit

I would also like to comment on the tremendous success of our Patron's visit. Thank you to all of you who participated in making the event such a success. I think that Her Royal Highness genuinely enjoyed her time with us and on departure commented to me that if she could help in any way in the future then we were to contact her office. As a consequence of the day, central funds have already been boosted by the generous donation of £5000 from a personal friend of HRH who was much impressed with our restoration project. The Trust has also received letters expressing good will towards the project from some of those who attended the double event (Double Bridge and Bowood). We must not lose the momentum generated by the day and I know that this is uppermost in Ken's mind and will be part of the agenda at the next Partnership Meeting to be held next week.

John Laverick

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