Branches Melksham Calne & Chippenham News
May bank Holiday Sponsored Walk
Sunday, 09 September 2012 00:00

SPONSORED WALK PAVES THE WAY

FOR NEXT STAGE OF CANAL RESTORATION

WBCTSponsoredWalkChequePpresentationFUNDRAISERS have been delighted by the success of their annual sponsored walk which raised hundreds of pounds towards the restoration of a former waterway.

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust collected £800 from the event earlier this year which traced part of the towpath between Chippenham and Melksham. Supporters followed a four-mile route to Lacock and also watched the official opening of the latest stretch to be restored. The canal has been extended a further 160 metres to the foot of Pewsham Locks where the wharf has also been rebuilt, in addition to 1,500 metres which were brought back to life the previous year. The last of the sponsorship money has now been received so event organiser Peter Williams presented it to Derek Flexer, chairman of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch, during a recent workparty. The money will help  to fund preparations leading towards the restoration of Bottom Lock, the first of a flight of locks which once lifted the canal on its journey from Melksham to Chippenham.

Peter said: “We are sincerely grateful to everyone who took part in the walk or helped behind the scenes.

“Next year will be the tenth anniversary of the event so we’ll be looking at ways in which we can make it extra special.We’ve already picked the date – Bank Holiday Monday, May 6 – so we hope people will put it in their diaries and join us to celebrate the ongoing restoration of this wonderful waterway.”

Derek said: “The sponsored walk is one of the branch’s most popular fundraising events and plays an important part in funding our local workparties.Aside from the obvious importance of the money collected, it is also a wonderful opportunity to raise the profile of the charity.People are continually surprised by the pace of progress from one year to the next.”

The latest restoration was largely funded by a £5,774 grant from the Gannett Foundation which paid for the provision of diggers, dumper trucks and drivers to dredge the waterway.

The charity’s next big fundraising event is an auction at The Lansdowne Hall in Derry Hill on Saturday October 13 from 7pm, where lots include a footplate experience on a steam locomotive, plus theatre tickets, boatrides, meals and free entry to local attractions.