Branches Melksham Calne & Chippenham News
MCC Canal's cash boost on waterway walk
Monday, 13 May 2013 06:19

 The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has raised at least £640 with its tenth annual sponsored walk celebrating the ongoing canal restoration between Chippenham and Lacock.

About 120 people enjoyed a stroll in the hot sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday (May 6th) on a widened towpath alongside the recently-restored wharf where narrowboats once waited to enter the flight of locks.

Walkers included pupils from St Paul's and Redlands primary schools, Hardenhuish School, Chippenham Sea Cadets and the Scouts. They were waved off from The Buttercross in Chippenham Market Place by mayor Andy Phillips.

The four-mile walk showcased the achievements of volunteers, who dredged several hundred metres of canal and refilled it with water.

Valerie Laverick, walking with husband John, who has just retired as chairman of the trust, said: “It’s nice to see more and more improvements each time we come.”

Read Gazette & Herald report 12 May 2013

Read Swindon Advertizer report 11 May 2013 

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Event organiser Peter Williams is a member of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch of the charity, and has been involved from the beginning.  
He said: "A stretch of the original towpath was used for the new cycle route to Lacock and it was the first time in a century that people could easily follow this part of the canal. But it was quite an isolated spot so I wanted to encourage more people to discover this wonderful asset. Just a few dozen supporters took part in the first event in 2004 but the numbers have steadily grown - sometimes, depending on the weather, we've had almost 200 coming along. People don't have to be sponsored, they can simply just pay the entry fee and enjoy the walk, but we also invite local youth groups to 'walk a boat and back' where they work as a team to carry canoes, dinghies and other craft. It all adds to the sense of fun."
 
Peter added: "People can see the progress being made from one year to the next, and they're amazed by the changes. In the beginning we walked alongside an empty canalbed but the charity has restored hundreds of metres of waterway and turned it into a haven for all sorts of wildlife, including swans and kingfishers. We've raised £8,500 since we started but I'd really like us to go beyond £10,000 in our tenth year. All of the money supports our volunteers who are working hard to breathe new life into this important piece of local history."