14 Charters in 2012
Boat Trips News
Thursday, 30 August 2012 13:27

Peace 2_be_in_your_house_1000The Dragonfly team have always been willing to take the boat out on days other than the regular Sundays for special parties.

This year there have been 14 charters to date.  They vary between office outings, birthday parties (both planned and surprise), the Ukelele club playing under New bridge, child-minder groups, a group of singers from The Royal Opera House, Covent garden and of course the  children from Chernobyl. We even have a BBQ + Boat trip booked for May 2013Gemma Thank_You_1000

If you would like to take a special trip on Dragonfly, any day providing that a skipper is available, please contact us at boats@wbct,

A couple of the Thank-you tokens from the children's parties are shown.

West Vale work-party with RWE npower
West Vale News
Thursday, 30 August 2012 00:00

August, 2012

West Vale were pleased to have a mid-week work-party with two dozen volunteers from RWE npower. They got stuck in to clearing the towpath from Station Road, Shrivenham to Steppingstone Lane Bridge. 

For some time the permissive footpath along this section has been on the south side of the canal where the ground is sort of level after the dredgings were deposited there some years ago. However, this path is subject to flooding and the original towpath was to the north of the canal, so we took advantage of this large band of helpers to start clearing the northern bank.

By the end of a long, hot day it was possible to traverse the full 300m from Station Road to our bridge at Steppingstone Lane.

Looking west from Station Road Bridge   Where to towpath should be!  Approaching Steppingstone Bridge 

Much further work is required before we can open this section to the public, but thanks to the staff of RWE npower a great start has been made.


Swindon Charities Work Together for Chernobyl Children
Boat Trips News
Friday, 24 August 2012 07:05

120827-chernobyl 133_1200On Monday 27 August the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust (WBCT) hosted a special boat trips for 12 children from Belarus who are making a 4 week recuperative visit to Wiltshire organised by the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line Charity.120827-chernobyl 134__1200

The children  boarded Dragonfly, WBCT’s trip-boat at 10.00 from the boarding point on the canal tow path close to Kingshill. There was two trips of about 1 hour and the children had an opportunity to steer the boat and enjoy views of the canal and local wildlife from the water along the restored section of the canal from Kingshill. 





120827-chernobyl 153-1200For the children lucky enough to come to the UK, it is a trip of a lifetime.  It is estimated that a month staying with a family here, eating nourishing food, resting from the relentless radiation and breathing clean air can add up to two years to their life expectancy, and improve their education over the next two years.





Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline:  was established in 1991.
Peace 2_be_in_your_house_1000

 There are approx 150 Links groups in the UK, with 2 in Swindon as well as West and South Wiltshire groups. 


The groups raise funds to pay for the children’s flights and arrange for them to stay with host families for 4 weeks as well as putting on a programme of activities.


The children are accompanied by a leader/interpreter and will be seen by an optician and a dentist during their holiday. Most of the work is focused in Belarus which received over 70% of the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion in April 1986. Thousands of babies and children in the area develop thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia every year.

Chernobyl Children's Life Line

See the Swindon Advertiser article

Swindon Ukelele Club
Boat Trips News
Sunday, 12 August 2012 00:00
Dragonfly was chartered to
Swindon Ukelele Club (Ukes
on the Water) on Saturday
August 11th. All went well with
much music, playing and singing
and it was discovered that
the acoustics were excellant 
under New Bridge. Everyone
had a good time and promised
to book Dragonfly for
another trip in the future.
P8110914 JPG_scaled500  P8110915 JPG_scaled1000 
P8110922.JPG.scaled10001 uke club boat trip 003  P8110927.JPG.scaled1000
Commemorate the Award to the Trust
Trust News
Thursday, 26 July 2012 07:14

Queens Award Crystal

What better way to remember the award to the Trust than by buying the splendid souvenir items that will shortly be available.Scarf

The Trust will be awarded a glass crystal, and you can obtain your own replica, engraved with the name of the Trust. In addition a pin badge will be available, showing the logo.

We will also have a tie and ladies scarf available in Trust colours with the new logo. The Trust will place a bulk order for the replica crystal, which measures 80x50x50. The cost will be between £15.00 and £30.00 plus postage of £8.50.


The exact price will depend on the number of orders we can place at the same time.Tie4Web


pin picturePlease let us know by 31st August if you would like to be part of this first bulk order. The pin badges will cost £3.50 including postage. The ties and the scarves are available at £10.00 each.

Please order your items from the Administrator, Wilts & Berks Canal Trust,  PO Box 3630 Swindon SN4 4AN  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,



Brian’s Canal Blog - Summer (?) 2012 Walks
East Vale News
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:13

THURSDAY 14th June

IMG 1844-1000First walk of the season. Already had a phone call asking whether it will be on. Replied that if pouring down then will cancel.....Walk due to start at 7.30....and at 6.30 started to chuck it down. Chris Naish and I separately drove out on the off chance that a stalwart walker would decide to turn up. Rather glad that no-one did as very wet. Went home to continue preparing for Sunday. Will rebook walk...and indeed have done so for Friday 13th July...

SATURDAY 16th June

On duty at the shop at Pendon Museum all afternoon....rather worried as have invited John Laverick, Trust Chairman and also, Fiona Roper, the deputy town mayor of Wantage, and various other people including a group from the Wantage Silver Band, a grand door opening ceremony at the Sack House in Wantage....and still not made it into the building. Barratts have lost the key and the locksmith who came out on Tuesday and promised to return...hasn’t!

Go home..load up the car with housebreaking equipment...return to Sack house. Pathetically try to smash small pane of glass on only window without bars...only to find they put in toughened glass when they did the exterior renovation..strange looks from residents in nearby flats.  Gain entry by removing putty....and removing lock from inside. My accomplice takes various pictures to prove it happened....should have worn my classic striped jumper....Lock up premises using top and bottom screw in locks...return home. ( Building now secure again)

Queen's Award Press Release
Trust News
Friday, 08 June 2012 05:58

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2012.

Volunteers working to protect, conserve and improve the route of the Wilts & Berks and North Wilts Canals for the benefit of local communities and the environment were delighted to learn though an announcement in the London Gazette this Diamond Jubilee weekend that 'Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to confer Her award in 2012 upon The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust in recognition of its outstanding voluntary work in the community.'

Volunteers of the group come from a wide age range and include professional men and women of many disciplines, craftsmen and women in the fields of engineering, building and environmental conservation. Many have been involved for a long period with new people coming on board all the time. The professionalism and care that they bring to a myriad of tasks ensures that the finished excellence of their work brings benefit to the environment and to local communities right across Wiltshire, Swindon and Oxfordshire.

From qualified colleagues, volunteers can learn skills such as hedge laying, the operation of construction plant and the safe use of hand tools. Once trained, nationally recognised certification is awarded. External courses are provided in the use of chain saws, fund raising and in many other required skills. Support and guidance is provided on the ground by appropriately qualified volunteer team leaders and from a backroom group of volunteer professional advisors. Health and safety procedures, overseen by a volunteer H&S Director, are understood and respected by all operational volunteers. Full public liability insurance is carried as is professional indemnity insurance for those professionally qualified volunteers working in design and other fields.

Feedback from individuals is encouraged and good ideas are adopted thus fostering a culture of ownership. Contribution is recognised by appropriate levels of exposure and credit in the Trust magazine and by annual awards to the individual contributing the most volunteer hours and to the team recruiting the most new members.

Communities and wildlife benefit immediately from newly opened lengths of towpath and waterway providing access for all and the creation of much needed [nationally] new standing water habitat. The volunteers, whether in the field or at a desk, benefit from participating in a worthwhile and stimulating project which is widely recognised as positively influencing the social, economic and environmental climate of local communities.

Socially by bringing together the diverse interests of walkers, cyclists, horse riders, canoeists, anglers, groups of school children and boaters. A greater understanding of local history and identity has emerged as research undertaken by some of the volunteers can now explain more clearly the part that rural Wiltshire and Berkshire played in the development of the industrial revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Economic improvements and opportunities that the waterway will bring to communities such as the market town of Melksham and the former railway town of Swindon are being recognised by the Chambers of Commerce in both communities.

By completing the restoration of the waterway from end to end, across Wiltshire, Swindon and Oxfordshire an exciting new wildlife trail will have been created providing linkage between areas of existing habitat and new routes of migration for creatures who might become endangered by the consequences of climate change.

As a lead project towards full restoration it is hoped that within the next five years a continuous footpath and wild flower trail will be opened between Abingdon on the River Thames and Semington on the Kennet & Avon Canal thus creating a new long distance off-road footpath between the cities of Oxford and Bath.

Although the work of the group is widely recognised by its peer organisations across the country as the most ambitious waterway restoration project yet undertaken, time is always made available to consult on issues both large and small. People raising observations are listened to and their comments, where possible, are built into finalised proposals. Illustrated presentations are regularly given to special interest organisations and at public exhibitions. Whilst all of the volunteers may be described as being enthusiasts for what they are striving to achieve, among the leaders are people who have successfully delivered similar projects, and won national prizes in the process.

It is this combination of seeking the wider view, listening to what is being said and the professionalism of those carrying out the task that has earned the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust  a very wide level of good will and respect both from local communities, riparian Members of Parliament, local and national businesses, educational establishments, central government departments, recreational bodies such as Sustrans and the British Canoe Union and all of the local government organisations along the line of the waterway including Parish, Town, District and County Councils.

The Wilts & Berks Canal was formally closed by an Act of Abandonment in 1914 when land over which the waterway was constructed was ceded to riparian owners. Although various lengths are already in the ownership of Partners who actively support the project, the remainder are vested in a wide range of private landowners. Persuading these landowners to join in with this very worthwhile community project is the principal challenge facing the Trust. Landowner views range from “how soon can you make it happen, so that the benefit of diversification might be gained” to “I would rather the canal take a different route and not cross my property”. This apparent obstacle is being tackled by persuasion and the strength of argument of the wider benefits to all of creating a new twenty first century leisure resource and wildlife trail.

John Laverick
CEng. FICE. FCMI. MIStructE.
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust
Registered Charity No 299595

Stroud On water Spring 2012 Pictures
Boat Trips News
Thursday, 07 June 2012 00:00

7365057326 972195e4c5-500



nb Dragonfly visited Stroud for the 2012 IWA National Trailboat Festival over the Jubilee weekend 2nd to 4th June 

The Trust's Event team provided information to the visitors


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Stroud 7365076570 6e7e046bac_b 7365077406 b7bc8e66fb_k
7365218190 57bcc189a7_k dragonfly ryeford_3jun2012_1 dragonfly ryeford_3jun2012_2
Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2012
Trust News
Saturday, 02 June 2012 06:16

Time to share the fantastic news, as the London Gazette today confirms, 'Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to confer Her awards in 2012 upon the following groups in recognition of their outstanding voluntary work in the community.'

The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust - The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2012.

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

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'.

John Laverick's Press Release 7th June 2012

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