Invitation to Members to apply to join the new Executive Committee
Trust News
Friday, 08 January 2016 20:17

At its last meeting the Board of Trustees approved the organisation of the new Executive Committee, which it has set up to manage the day-to-day business of the Trust. The role of the Board of Trustees remains to set strategy and to oversee its implementation. Allow me to quote from the Q&As on our website.

Q. What will the Board of Trustees do?
A. Its role will be to safeguard the ethos and charitable status of the Trust. It will also appoint the Chief Executive, and set the strategy to follow. The Trustees are expected to focus their time and efforts on governance and strategy, as opposed to executive or 'delivery' work.

Q. What is the role of the Executive?
A. To implement the strategy laid down by the Board of Trustees, to manage the operations of the Trust, and to oversee the operations of the Trading and Projects subsidiaries.

Members of the Executive Committee are called Directors and are to be supported by teams and by support staff. Directors will determine how their teams and support staff will be set up and staffed. The CEO will also undertake the role of one of the other Directors as well as providing leadership to the Committee as a whole.

The overall structure including the teams and support staff that I would expect will be supporting the Executive are set out in the chart below. Some of the teams (the Land Team and the Engineering Team) already exist as such; others will be set up from scratch or will be crafted out of other existing bodies (the Projects Board and the Restoration Committee). Further below you will find the roles envisaged for individual Directors.


Jon till-enhance

We are looking for applicants for:

• Voting members of the Executive Committee (Directors)
• Members and heads of teams, and support staff for consideration at a later stage. We will presume that those in existing roles here will wish to continue with these roles unless we hear to the contrary.

Members may apply for more than one position – indeed we would welcome it knowing that we are a voluntary organisation that relies on the support of its Members.

Please send your application directly to me at Jonathan Till by e-mail or by post to the Trust's offices addressed to myself and marking the envelope "APPLICATION – PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL". Applications should reach me by Sunday 31st January.

During early February a committee made up of Rod Bluh (our Chairman), Colin Fletcher (a senior Member of the Trust) and myself will review the applications for the Executive Committee and as needed will invite individuals to interview. We are working towards having the Executive Committee membership decided in time for an EGM currently planned for early March.

In your application:

• Please state which position or positions are of interest to you.
• Give a brief description of your suitability for the position.
• Attach a cv.
• Make sure we have your correct contact details!

And if you have any questions or ideas about the new structure or about how you might help, then please write to me or call me using the details at the end of this message.

Outline roles for the Executive Committee members (Directors):

Projects Director
Strategy Document: route, projects, costing
Restoration policy, engineering design
Land acquisition policy, acquisition
Canal restoration organisations
Project preparation, authorisation by Executive
Construction contracts preparation, commitment and control
Preparation of annual report (projects)
Wilts & Berks Canal (Projects) Ltd

PR & Communications, IT Director
Website, social media, blog
Membership, members database
"Dragonfly" magazine
Publication of annual report and accounts
Events management
Servers, data policy and security
Internal file sharing, archiving
Internal e-mail
External PR & communications
Data Protection Officer

Volunteers, Property, Commercial Operations Director
Maintenance policy, implementation
Health & safety policy, implementation
Branch policy and support
Volunteers co-ordination (maintenance, project participation etc)
Management of Trust's property, plant and equipment (real estate, vehicles, boats etc)
Commercial operations, shop management
Boats management
Preparation of annual report (volunteers, operations)
Wilts & Berks Canal (Trading) Ltd

Fundraising, Sponsorship Director
Major donor and grant funding organisations
Entrust funds
Legacy fundraising
Project summaries for funding and communications purposes
Grant fund applications
Preparation of annual report (funding, sponsorship)
Sponsorship of canal restoration through joint venture projects including enabling development

Finance, Legal, Administration Director
Trust accounting, project & funding accounting including recording of larger commitments (contractual payment obligations and funding commitments)
Budgeting, financial control and reporting
Preparation, audit/examination of annual accounts
Company secretary role
Membership fees, donations collection, gift aid collection
Leases database, lease payments
Assets database, associated payments
Short term (bridge) finance overdraft facilities
Taxation, tax payment
Risk register

Let me take this opportunity of thanking you for your support

Jonathan Till

JONATHAN TILL Chief Executive Officer

+44 7444 432441


Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Reorganisation
Trust News
Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00



Our Chairman and Company Secretary have been  doing the rounds of branch meetings to consult on the changes being planned to the management of the Trust, and there have also been non-branch events to try to include as many members as possible.   

We encourage as many of you as possible to view the diagrams of the proposals, and to read the Explanatory Note and Frequently Asked Questions document, and respond if you have thoughts/comments on what is being suggested.  All feedback will be considered and changes made if appropriate before bringing the final proposals to the Annual General Meeting on 17th October. 

Feel free to email Roderick Bluh or Chris Coyle 

    WBCT -7-1-1000  
 WBCT -7-2-1000  WBCT -7-3-1000  WBCT -7-4-1000  WBCT -7-5-1000



During the last year there has been considerable discussion within the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust (WBCT) about changes to the structure and organisation of the Trust. This discussion was prompted by the need to find a new Chairman, by concerns over the burden placed on that post, and by a sense that the current structure might not be robust enough for an organisation seeking to deliver many major projects within a defined timescale.

The discussions so far have focused on the Trust and its internal structure, and how this could and should be changed.

The appointment of a new Trust Chairman and discussions with the Trust's Masterplanner about a different approach to the restoration, and the proposal to set up Trust companies for trading and project delivery, have brought a further dimension to the debate.

There can be no doubt that the outside world has a pre-conception about the Trust and its (lack of) ability to deliver. This perception arises where projects are started but not completed, or take a very long time to complete. This impression can be reinforced when projects are completed but are then not maintained in good condition

The current workload on the shoulders of a few is clearly unsustainable.

The ambition to restore a further 60 miles of canal requiring the management of a budget cost of £300m over 10 plus years sets a target of five to six miles/£30m per year. Continuing at the current rate of restoration it will take at least another generation or more to complete the project.

In line with Government policy, it is clear that much of this finance will need to come from 'commercial' sources. Private Finance is available for regenerative schemes but the challenge is to deliver public benefit schemes like the canal from such sources.

This proposal considers a fundamental reorganisation of the structure of the Trust to enable it to deliver the canal in a more effective and efficient manner.

The purpose of this paper is therefore to set out the proposals for reorganisation, and to identify some of the very many questions that will need to be answered if the proposal is to be taken forward.


We have set up a trading company (WBC (Trading) Ltd) [WBCTL] with the purpose of it being the primary vehicle to capitalise on building a WBCT brand, and from that brand receiving income from all manner of trading activities, including trip boats. merchandising, procurement, production and related IP rights for franchising of the Wilts & Berks Canal brand.

We have separately also set up a delivery authority (WBC (Projects) Ltd) [WBCPL], with the purpose of being the primary vehicle for the delivery of major projects within the restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal. It will focus on physical construction, in partnership with other organisations; we would expect these projects to be carried out by major contracting companies. This company will be used to deliver large project opportunities identified as part of the Masterplanning of the canal.

As a part of the reorganisation the purposes of WBCT will alter in some ways. WBCT will no longer be seen as the primary delivery vehicle for major projects. However it will continue to set the strategy and to deliver physical restoration of many parts of the canal. Its many other roles would continue, and these are discussed below.


Set out below are some of the many questions which would need to be answered.

The Purpose of the Reorganisation

Q. What is the overall purpose of the reorganisation – why is it felt to be necessary?
A. There is general agreement that our current structure is unwieldy. Council of Management is too large. It also has to carry out a number of different roles; it is the body responsible for our strategy and for safeguarding our charitable status, but at the same time is the executive body responsible for decision-making, sometimes at detailed level.

The proposed changes separate these functions more clearly. At the same time the roles of the Board of Trustees and the Executive are clarified.

The Proposed Structure

Q. What will the proposed structure look like?
A. See charts above.

The impacts on WBCT

Q. Will the WBCT continue to exist?
A. Yes

Q. What will be its role?
A. Much as it is at the moment. It will continue to have custodianship of charity ethos; strategy; delivery of physical restoration projects not covered by WBC (Projects) Ltd; community engagement; volunteer management; social activities; local restoration; fundraising; canal and property maintenance; trading activities; boating. Although it will not deliver major projects directly, it will have control of them through its wholly-owned subsidiary, WBCPL.

Q. Who will WBCT be answerable to?
A. It will continue to be answerable to its members.

Q. Will it continue to be a registered charity?
A. Yes. There is no intention to change the status of the Trust.

Q. What staff will it have, either as volunteers or paid?
A. Given the change of role of the Executive, it may be appropriate at some time in the future to consider whether some posts will be paid. However it should be emphasised that the vast majority will continue to be Volunteers working within WBCT.

Q. How will it be funded?
A. Initially in the same way as it is funded at the moment – by grants, donations, membership subscriptions. In the longer term it may also be funded by advance payment on development gains from the Melksham Link and other projects, and from Third party sources (may be different for revenue or capital). It will also receive the profits from the Trading Company.

Q. What will be its primary working relationships? Local Authorities? WBCPL? Contractors?
A. It will continue to have all the working relationships it has at present, including Local Authorities, the Wiltshire Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership, funding bodies, Canal and River Trust, Inland Waterways Association, etc

Q. What will be its relationship with the Wiltshire Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership?
A. WBCT and the Partnership will continue to have a relationship, but at a number of levels. We will be inviting the Partnership to nominate a representative on the Board of Trustees, so it will have an input into strategy. It will also be in attendance at meetings of the Executive, so will have a working relationship as at present. In addition there will be working relationship between WBCPL and the Partnership.

Q. What will be WBCT's relationship with the two new companies – WBC (Trading) Ltd and WBC (Projects) Ltd?
A. They will be wholly-owned subsidiaries, and therefore under the control of WBCT. All profits will be passed up to WBCT.

Q. Will WBCT lose momentum?
A. No, far from it – there has never been any lack of ambition by the Trust, but it is hampered by lack of resource to deliver. It will be able to focus on activities and projects it can deliver, by passing responsibility for the larger scale projects involving mostly or exclusively professional contractors to its subsidiary. The Trust will then be able to put more management effort into identifying and supporting project opportunities which fit with the skills and aspirations of the branch teams, and to supporting those projects through to completion

Q. What will WBCT volunteers do?
A. There will be an enormous amount for volunteers to do. They will continue to do physical work not covered by WBCPL, such as smaller, non time-dependent projects. There may also be contracted work from WBCPL on some projects. In addition, there will be a whole range of non-physical activities needed to promote the canal restoration, including, increasing membership, fundraising, retail and mail order merchandising, shops and office management, PR, community engagement, and of course social activities and WBCT events.

Q. Will the functions of WBCT change?
A. WBCT will have to maintain all current functions if it is to deliver non-WBCPL projects. These are proposals for streamlining the organisation structure of WBCT, not for diminishing them.

Q. Will WBCT cease to be a member of the Partnership?
A. No

Q. Will the WBCT still contribute financially or in effort to the Partnership?
A. Yes.

Q. Will WBCT provide the expertise of its members (eg Engineers, Project Managers) to WBCPL?
A. Yes, as required and appropriate.

Q. Will the Navigation Authority sit within WBCPL or WBCT?
A. WBCT, although it is to be expected that some activities may fall within the trading company.

Q. Who will be responsible for maintenance of the restored sections?
A. WBCT. This activity must cover all restored sections of the canal, and will be carried in accordance with the Trust's Maintenance Policy, under the direction of the Executive Director responsible for operations and maintenance. Branch teams are expected to maintain all sites within their area – if additional helps is needed this should be sought from other branches.

Q. Where does the Wiltshire Council Countryside Officer fit?
A. He continues to be within the Partnership, working with both WBCT and WBCPL as appropriate.

Q. Will WBCT own the assets, such as trip boats, and the Peterborough Arms?
A. Yes. The intention is for all assets to be held by the charity, WBCT. This is to safeguard the charity's assets. The intention is to pass any operational risk down to the subsidiaries so that the charity is protected.

Q. Why not just leave well alone?
A. Leaving things as they are will not deliver the canal for a considerable time, if at all.

WBCT – Reorganisation

Some Questions – The Board of Trustees and the Executive

The Board of Trustees

Q. How many will be on the Board?
A. It is proposed that there should be a maximum of about nine or ten. They will be:
Trust Chairman, Vice-Chairman, one elected Member representative elected by the membership, one Branch Chairman chosen by the branch chairs, one representative each from the WSO Canal Partnership, CRT and IWA, and two or three co-opted directors – the equivalent of Non-Executive Directors. The intention is that they should be experienced professionals, in, for example, the charity, canal restoration, and commercial sectors.

Q, Will every branch chairman be a Trustee?
A. No. It is proposed that they will be represented by one of their number.

Q. How will they be chosen?
A. Could be in rotation, or by election among them, with no one Chairman able to serve more than (say) one term in three.

Q. What will the Board of Trustees do?
A. Its role will be to safeguard the ethos and charitable status of the Trust. It will also appoint the Chief Executive, and set the strategy to follow.

The Trustees are expected to focus their time and efforts on governance and strategy, as opposed to executive or 'delivery' work.

Key tasks to be undertaken by the Trustees include (but are not limited to):
• Maintain relationships with the Royal Patron, President and Vice-Presidents
• Ensure Companies House and Charity Commission reporting requirements are complied with
• Produce an Annual Report for the Trust
• Endorse the strategy for the Trust, revising it from time to time as required
• Monitor the implementation of the strategy, by the Executive group
• Appoint the Chief Executive
• Represent the Trust at WSO Partnership meetings
• Implement changes to the organisation as necessary to ensure it continues play a leading role in the restoration and operation of the canal

Q. How often will it meet?
A. Probably every other month, as at present, although it might have to meet more frequently in the early stages.

Q. Who else will be present?
A. The Board of Trustees would decide that. However it would be normal for some or all of the Executive to be present for at least part of the meeting, to answer questions and clarify issues. A representative of the Partnership could equally be there for some of the time. It may well be that a representative of the Masterplanning team would also be present for at least some of the time. There would be a minute taker.

The Executive

Q. What is the role of the Executive?
A. To implement the strategy laid down by the Board of Trustees, to manage the operations of the Trust, and to oversee the operations of the Trading and Projects subsidiaries.

Q. How many on the Executive?
A. If it is to avoid the problems of the current Council of Management, it should not be too big. It will be up to the Chief Executive to choose his/her team, but the current suggestion is:
Chief Executive, Finance Director; Fundraising Director, Operations Director; Volunteer Co-ordinator / HR, PR and Communications, Engineering/Technical, Programme /Projects.

Q. What will be the role of an Executive Director?
A. Each Executive Director will be responsible for a defined aspect of the operations of the Trust. Each will have a job description and terms of reference. Key functions might be as outlined above, but it will be for the Chief Executive to build the team.

Q. Who will report to the Executive?
A. As part of their role of managing operations and activities, each Executive Director will be expected to build the necessary support team, drawn from volunteers within the Trust. These support teams will include in some form:
Land acquisition, Administration, IT, Membership, Health and Safety,
Maintenance, Ecology, Environment.

Q. How often will it meet?
A. Formally, once a month, but there will probably be informal meetings more often than that.

Q. Will anybody else be there?
A. Normally the Trust Chairman would be there, and a representative of the Partnership and the Masterplanning team.
It would open to the Executive to invite others for all or part of the meeting. It is the current intention that branch chairmen will be invited to attend and contribute, and provide a channel of communication with the branches.


Q. Will there still be branches?
A. Yes. They are a very important and valuable part of our structure.

Q. What will be their role?
A. To carry out projects of scale within their capabilities, and to promote the Trust by their activities. The branch Constitution sets it out as to being:
• To further the charitable objectives of the Trust.
• To raise the profile of the project to restore the Canal within the locality of operation of the Branch – informing local residents, businesses and, where applicable, landowners of the merits of the project.
• If the Branch is established for a local area which includes a section of the Canal, the branch is also expected to initiate and complete, including the ongoing maintenance thereof, restoration projects on that section of the Canal. Such projects may include clearance/formation of the canal channel, repair/reconstruction of the historic structures, and construction of additional structures necessary for the restored Canal

Q. How many will there be?
A. That is open for debate. There is some feeling at the moment that we have too many branches, resulting in resources being thinly spread, but that is for discussion. In some ways it might be better to amalgamate some to make stronger units all round. However given the volume of work to be done, there could be more branches, provided that they have sufficient members and resources to be viable.

Projects Board

Q. What is the role of the Projects Board?
A. We have found over time that we need to ensure that projects are managed and controlled if we are to avoid some of the issues that have come up in the past. So, the Projects Board has been set to approve any project before it is started, and to monitor their progress. We have set a threshold of £5,000 for this, to give scope for branches to initiate and complete projects on their own.

Existing Committees

Q. What will happen to existing committees such as FinCom, ResCom, and Engcom?
A. Our new Chairman, Roderick Bluh, has made clear his view that this project cannot be delivered by committee, but needs clear lines of responsibility for individuals within the Trust.

The only decision-making bodies will be the Board of Trustees, the Executive, and the Projects Board. The existing committees provide an obvious start for some of the support teams mentioned above.

FinCom will disappear; it was set up to speed decision-making between the two-monthly meetings of Council of Management, but since the Executive will be meeting monthly, its functions will be taken over by the Executive (for delivery) and the Board of Trustees (for governance).

ResCom will continue to provide the meeting point for Work Party Organisers and a forum for sharing their experience and expertise, as well as forming the core of a support team for the Programme / Projects Director

Similarly, EngCom will provide the core for the support to the Engineering Director.

Studley Grange canal construction update
Trust News
Friday, 04 December 2015 12:32

Studley Grange canal construction now due to be completed in the New Year and tow path planting will take place in the Spring.

Image SG-1000The restoration of the 1.2km stretch of canal at Studley Grange has  been an active project now for some years but it was only in the  last year that WBCT managed to complete the environmental impact study around the adjacent landfill site, and also conclude the discussions with BIFFA  Waste Ltd who own the route and who have been most supportive. BIFFA have agreed to lease the canal route to the Trust at a token rent for the foreseeable future.

The subsequent construction tendering process resulted in Land and Water Services(LAWS) starting work in June, with a completion date of 9th November 2015.  Despite ecology studies and a pre-commencement walk over the site   the unexpected discovery of a Great Crested Newt resulted in the requirement for further ecologist input and investigation prior to undertaking site clearance and excavation. 

LAWS were back at work in July but since then two additional issues have emerged:

First, land slippage may require an element of re-design following discussions between WYG and Land and Water. Second, LAWS have determined that the site conditions have had an impact on the construction process and they have therefore taken the decision to postpone further works until the winter weather has passed.

The WBCT project team  is frustrated  that this work could not be completed this year but if you visit Bincknoll Lane you will see what looks like a completed canal. Unfortunately as the towpath works have yet to be completed it is not yet possible to access this section of canal. 

Next year: The new stretch will  be completed as early as possible in 2016  and  it is hoped that work will re-commence in April/May, the exact date dependent on how wet this winter is. The towpath surfacing will be one of the first jobs and that will allow the planting of the banks, marginal areas and hedgerow infilling to be done. Kate Jones, our project leader for the Wildlife Trail, is organising some brilliant interpretation boards and leaflets with local students doing a lot of the illustrations. 

2015 Santa Photos
Boat Trips News
Saturday, 21 November 2015 00:00

 Pictures of 2015 "Find Santa on the Wilts & Berks Canal"

Beccy 2 Wednesday 23 December  
Beccy 4 Santa on_the_Canal-9532 Santa on_the_Canal-9548
Santa on_the_Canal-9550 Santa on_the_Canal-9559  sof12sq
sof8sq sof20-1000
 "Once again, a massive thank you
to you and the Dragonfly team
for making this such an
enjoyable experience.
We all had a great time again!
Please pass our thanks
to everyone involved".
"And the only Santa with a real beard!!"
Tuesday 22nd December
 "Thank you, we had a lovely time, the boys throughly
enjoyed themselves.  Very well organised and fabulous gifts".

IMG 20151222_144028-1000
IMG 20151222_144551-1000 IMG 20151222_144820-2-1000
IMG 20151222_144835-1000 IMG 20151222_145643-2-1000 IMG 20151222_151528-1000
Monday 21 December
"We had a fantastic time seeing Santa
yesterday - the best ever Santa visit
we have done. Max absolutely loved it
and I cannot praise Santa 
and the other chaps on the boat
highly enough for the jolly time
they gave us all.
Well done to all of you."
Atkins 1-1200
IMG 4341-1000

 Atkins 2

IMG 4344-1000

Sunday 20 December

"Many thanks to Captain Sally,
Helen and the rest of the crew for an
enjoyable afternoon.
The gifts were amazing!"
IMG 9979 IMG 9984


west2cropped IMG 0368

IMG 20151220_111117376_HDRsq 

 IMG 20151220_111157955_HDRsq IMG-20151220-WA0002
Photos December 13, 16 and 19  Photos December 5, 6 and 12  Photos November 21, 22 & 28  
West Vale - Nationwide Returns
West Vale News
Thursday, 29 October 2015 18:02

27th October, 2015

The West Vale Branch is very grateful to the Nationwide Building Society for their continued supprt on 'our patch'.
On the 14th & 28th October more eager bands of Nationwide volunteers got stuck into 'hard graft' in and around the  Shrivenham Canalside Park.

The first group completed laying the surface to a new path around the eastern end of the park and cleared the scrub from the banks of the canal within the park.
The second, trimmed the hedge and cleared scrub on a section towards Station Road.
It seems everyone loves a bonfire, especially after another good lunch at the local pub!


27 10 2015 NW01  27 10 2015 NW02  27 10 2015 NW03 
 27 10 2015 NW04  27 10 2015 NW05  27 10 2015 NW06

Latest Dragonfly Boat News.
Boat Trips News
Thursday, 01 October 2015 00:00


 The last scaffolding has been removed

and the crews of nb Dragonfly celebrate

by taking her down to the 

Kingshill Landing Stage

 20151107 123340-1000  20151106 140223-1000
Sunday 8th November    
068-1000 082-1000 085-1000
 Saturday 7th November  20151107 121254-1000  20151107 121500-1000
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Cyan reports

Wednesday 4th  November

Down to the last level of scaffolding at 4pm today. 
The scaffolder i spoke to seems fairly confident
that they will finish tomorrow.  
He did add that council would need to clean up the towpath
so that might be a little longer before it re-opens.
ATT 1446654588126_20151104_153955-1000

Monday 2nd November

I walked along the towpath at lunchtime today and the scaffolding at the Skew Bridge
is coming down.  I spoke to one of the scaffolders and he said that it would
all be done by the end of the week. I'll check it out again later in the week but with luck
we should be back to running the full trip down to Kingshill at the weekend.  
20151102 142419-1000 20151102 142649-1000 20151102 142916-1000

Sunday 11th October

Just another beautiful day on Dragonfly on the Wilts & Berks Canal in Swindon


On Sunday,September 20th,  Carsten and Andrew extended the trips
by reversing up to the bund as far as possible.
 It is much better reversing as the propeller clears the silt first and then,
if/when the boat gets stuck, powering forwards (with large side to side
swings) allows the boat to break free from the suction.
In addition to clearing the weeds and silt, this seemed to be well received
 and some of the passengers commented that they thought it the
highlight of the trip.  The photograph(right) was from the last trip but one.
For the last trip they managed to get a few feet closer. 
 Up to_the_Bund

 Saturday 5th September  - Work being carried out on Skew Bridge

20150905 135237-1000b 20150905 135316-1000b Scaffolding-1000b
Swans _skew-1000b IMG 20150905_150743705_1000b 20150905 140819-1000b
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Despite Skew bring closed for repairs Dragonfly is still running on Saturdays and Sundays

 20150904 171558_1000  20150904 171851_1000  WP 20150902_004-1000
DSC03405-1000 DSC03409-1000 IMG 20150815_143237928-1000
Henry is always there Happy Charter Flotilla outside Waitrose Store

IMGP4075-1000HRH The Duchess of Cornwall inaugurates Landing Stage

The Dragonfly Boat Team worked  hard  to produce a faultless performance for Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall. Cleaning, painting, filling up with diesel and water and all the tasks that made Dragonfly look wonderful.  Then Annie and Wendy who practised hard and produced a first class journey for the distinguished guests.

 See all the pictures




rain water_2-1000

Waitrose Landing Stage  

Yay, rain water coming into the canal at Skew 5th July 2015

 Pictures of the Building of the Landing Stage



Gifts & Souvenirs of your visit to nb Dragonfly


On Sunday, Carsten and I extended the trips by reversing up to the bund as far as possible. It is much better reversing as the propeller clears the silt first and then, if/when the boat gets stuck, powering forwards (with large side to side swings) allows the boat to break free from the suction.


In addition to clearing the weeds and silt, this seemed to be well received  and some of the passengers commented that they thought it the highlight of the trip.


The photograph attached was from the last trip but one. For the last trip I managed to get a few feet closer.



Trust 2015 AGM
Trust News
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 00:00

AGM at memorial Hall Royal Wootton Bassett Sat 17th October

Close to 150 members of the Trust attended the Annual General Meeting where new Chairman, Roderick Bluh and the Chief Executive outlined an ambitious programme for the next 12 months.
Following presentations by Ken Oliver & Jock Mackenzie, Chris Coyle described a number of changes that were proposed to amend the management of the Trust. This was an ongoing process and the members would be consulted again in the new year as plans are implemented.

The formal business of the meeting was followed by a number of annual awards.  

John Laverick made a presentation for the Pick of the Branches.

The Branch with the largest percentage increase in membership.

This was won by MCC.

The Branch the highest recorded
volunteer hours was won by MCC Branch
JT RB-445
The Tony Davey Rose Bowl for the
most volunteer hours was taken by Chris Coyle
Boat Team-445
The largest increase in recorded hours was achieved
by the Dragonfly Boat Team
We look forward to seeing all members
again at the 2016 AGM, if not before!

Annual General Meeting 17th October 2015

10.00am Visits and Displays, 2.00pm AGM

Wootton Bassett Branch is hosting this year's AGM of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, at Memorial Hall, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts, SN4 8EN. Everyone is welcome to hear about all the exciting developments concerning the restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal. Car parking is available.

The  Annual Report for the Trust:-               PDF FileAnnual Report 2014 - 2015

The  Annual Financial Report for the Trust:-  PDF FileAnnual Report and Accounts for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2015



10:00am Arrivals and refreshments. Slideshow displays will be presented during the morning.

10:30am Minibus available to the local canal sites; Templars Firs to Chaddington and Studley Grange to be confirmed.

12:30pm Lunch.

2:00pm AGM commences at the Main Hall, followed by the Open Forum.

4:00pm Close.

Meal Selections: Pay on the day arrangement is in place for 65 meals on a first-come-first-served

Shepherd’s Pie 

Chicken Curry & Rice 

Vegetable Chilli con Carne & Rice 



Notice is hereby given that the twenty seventh Annual General Meeting of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust (company number 2267719) will take place at:
Wootton Bassett Memorial Hall, Station Rd, Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon SN4 8EN, (Grid Ref Explorer 169 SU 069824) on Saturday, 17th October 2015 at 2.00 pm.



1. To receive any apologies for absence.

2. To approve the Minutes of the twenty sixth AGM held on 18th October 2014 and to consider any matters arising.

3. To approve the Directors' Annual Report for the year ended 31st March 2015.

4. To approve the Trust's accounts for the year ended 31st March 2015.

5. To elect Members to Council:
a. In accordance with Articles 41 and 42 of the Articles of Association Ray Aldridge, Chris Coyle, Brian Stovold and Jenny Stratton retire from Council in rotation. All offer themselves for re-election.
b. In accordance with Article 36 of the Articles of Association Roderick BLUH offers himself for re-election having been co-opted by Council since the last AGM.
c. In accordance with Article 44 any other nominations to Council should be notified to the Company Secretary at the Trust's offices at Spittleborough House, Swindon Road, Wootton Bassett SN4 8ET in writing to arrive no later than Friday 11th September 2015, in order to enable the Trust to inform members of nominations. Nominations should be signed by the Proposer and by the person nominated, both of whom must be full members of the Trust. A pen picture of the nominee and his/her interests and ideas towards the furtherance of the Trust's aims should be included, and this will be made available at the meeting for the benefit of Members during voting. [Note: to facilitate running of the meeting a form for the nomination of directors is obtainable from the Company Secretary.]

6. To approve the reappointment of Messrs Morris Owen as accountants of the Trust at a remuneration to be determined by Council.



7. The following changes to the Memorandum and Articles of Association are proposed.

Motion 1. To amend the current Memorandum and Articles of Association throughout to refer to the 'Board of Trustees' instead of 'Council of Management'.

Explanatory Note: This is a consequence of the proposal to re-organise the structure of the Trust to separate the governance functions of the Board of Trustees from the executive functions to be managed by an Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Motion 2. To amend Clause 3 of the Articles of Association as follows by deleting the underlined text:
3. The subscribers to the Memorandum of Association and such other persons as the Board shall admit to membership in accordance with the Articles shall be members of the Association. No person shall be admitted as a member of the Association unless he is approved by the Council. Every person who wishes to become a member shall deliver to the Association an application for membership in such form as the Board requires executed by him. In no case shall the Board be obliged to give any reason for the rejection of an application.

Explanatory Note: Currently new members have to be approved by Council. As membership grows this is becoming cumbersome, and members of Council do not have sufficient knowledge of individual applicants to make an informed judgement. The Articles already contain powers in clause 5 to discontinue membership and expel members, if there is need.

Motion 3. To amend clauses 30 and 31 by insertion of 'Administrative'
before 'Office'

Explanatory Note: This is referring to the Office of the Trust at which notices of proxies for general meetings and other notices may be lodged. The change is to allow notices to be given to the normal main Administrative Office (as defined) rather than the Registered Office.

Motion 4. To amend clause 33 to reduce the maximum number of Trustees from the current thirty to fifteen.

33. The Board shall consist of ordinary members and nominee members and until otherwise determined by a General Meeting, the total number of the members of the Board shall not be less than six nor more than  fifteen.

Explanatory Note: The maximum number of members of the Council of Management was high, to allow for the many portfolios and functions included in the Council of Management when it covered both Governance and executive roles. Such a high number will not be necessary following the proposed split of these functions.

Motion 5. To amend clause 34 to allow the Association to invite representatives of Canal and River Trust and the Wiltshire Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership to nominate representatives as Trustees by inserting the text in italics.

34. (b) The nominee members shall be such persons appointed each year by the Nominating Bodies specified hereunder or determined from time to time by General Meeting. Each Nominating Body shall nominate one person who need not be a member of the Association to be its nominee. The first Nominating Body shall be The Inland Waterways Association. The second and third Nominating Bodies shall be Canal and River Trust and the Wiltshire Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership.

Explanatory Note: From its beginning the Trust has had the power to invite other organisation to nominate a representative to the Council of Management / Board of Trustees. The Trust wishes to deepen its connections with and benefit from the experience of Canal and River Trust and the Wiltshire Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership by inviting them to nominate a representative.

Motion 6. To amend clause 55 to allow non-Trustees to participate in sub-committees set up by the Board of Trustees by inserting the text in italics.
55. The Board may delegate any of its powers to committees consisting of such members of the Board and other members of the Association as it thinks fit, and any committee so formed shall, in the exercise of the powers so delegated, conform to any regulations imposed on it by the Board. The meetings and proceedings of any such committee shall be governed by the provisions of the Articles for regulating the meetings and proceedings of the Board so far as applicable and so far as the same shall not be superseded by any regulations made by the Board.

Explanatory Note: As currently drafted sub-committees can consist only of Trustees; the amendment is to allow other Trust members to participate. The committees remain subject to Board control, and membership has to be approved by the Board.

Motion 7. To amend clause 67 to confirm the current position, that the members of the Trust do not require an audit to be carried out, by inserting the text in italics.

67 In accordance with the provisions of the Act once at least in every year the accounts of the Association shall be examined and the correctness of the income and expenditure account and balance sheet ascertained by one or more properly qualified Auditor or Auditors. As provided in the Act the Association may claim exemption from the requirement to carry out an audit unless the members in General Meeting resolve that an audit should be carried out.

Explanatory Note: The Companies Act allows the vast majority of small companies to claim exemption from the requirement for a full, formal audit, on the grounds of excessive cost. The Trust has for many years claimed this exemption, but every year commissions a review of its accounts by independent accountants. The amendment formalises this position.

8. Any Other Business.

By order of Council

C D Coyle
Company Secretary.


1. As a member of the Trust you are invited to attend the AGM. A member entitled to be present and vote at the AGM may appoint a proxy to attend, speak and vote on his or her behalf in the event of a poll being demanded on a resolution or a ballot being held for the elections to Council. A proxy MUST be a member of the Trust. An instrument of proxy may be obtained from the Company Secretary, to whom it must be returned not later than forty-eight hours before the start of the meeting.

2. A Member may propose a resolution at the meeting. Such a resolution will be Special Business, requiring a majority of 75% of the votes cast at the meeting. To assist in the orderly conduct of the meeting it would be helpful if members (or their duly appointed proxy) wishing to propose a resolution would indicate their intention to do so by informing the Company Secretary either in advance of the meeting or at the venue on the day of the meeting.

3. After the formal business of the AGM there will be an Open Forum Session at which members may put questions from the floor to the Directors on any matter relating to the canal or the Trust's activities.




West Vale Canalside Park Work-party
West Vale News
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 15:32

9th September, 2015

Nationwide Building Society returned to the Canalside Park in Shrivenham for their first team visit to us of this year.

September '15


This time, the Branch mid-week work-party was joined by 11 people from the IT Department. These energetic volunteers shifted 15 tons of stone to lay a further 50 metres of path around the park. All agreed it was a great day out in a lovely location with mild weather and a nice pub lunch.

With just about 30 metres to go to complete this new path we hope some of their colleagues, due next month, will be able to finish the job!

Two Festivals Combine with Stunning Success
Melksham Calne and Chippenham News
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 14:18

 logo 2015  boat trips  Chilli eating
 Damselfly  food stall-1000  food stall2
Frankie-1000 Michelle D-1000  royal family
 Last year, on the River Avon in Melksham Wiltshire, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust held a River Festival to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the canal’s closure in 1914. This was planned as a stand-alone, one-off event, but was so successful, that the Trust was frequently asked when the next one was planned!

For the last six years, Melksham has also held a very popular Food and Drink Festival in the centre of the town. When this location was no longer available for 2015, Pam Wiltshire, previous chair of the Food and Drink Festival, suggested it would be a good idea to combine the two events for Melksham’s first Food and River Festival, an idea which proved to be a winning combination.

The Festival was organised over two days: Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September. 
Saturday’s event, Littlefest, was a mini ‘regatta’ styled food festival including live music, a series of delicious tasters from Waitrose (the event’s main sponsors), ice cream or sorbet lemonade at CJ’s Café, plus a number of competitions and stalls by other local traders.

Chris Smith Branch Manager of Waitrose Melksham said: "We pride ourselves on how we can get involved with the local communities we do business in, and the Food and River Festival is an excellent example how these events can create a great community spirit. The Partners from the Melksham branch and local suppliers are very proud to show off what great products we sell.”

On the river, the Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch (MCC) of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust organised boat trips, and the Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club (WYCC) offered try canoeing sessions. Lisa Davis from WYCC said: “We were pleased to be asked to join in the Festival again this year. We had 70 people try canoeing and, out of that number, 30 of them said they were interested in attending club sessions. We are already looking forward to next year’s event.”

The boat trips proved a great success, with more people wanting them than spaces available on the Sunday, although there was spare capacity on the Saturday. Brian De’Ath, the Chair of the MCC River Team who organised the river displays and activities said: “It was a lot of hard work, but the outcome on the days exceeded all our expectations. It is an important event for the Trust as well as the Branch as it gives us a chance to show the public just how much work, much of it unseen, is going on to deliver a canal for Melksham.”

MCC also provided a very popular display stand with detailed information on the Melksham Link Project, which caused huge local interest, and Frankie, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s honorary canal horse, made a guest appearance.

Michelle Donelan, the MP for Melksham and Chippenham, visited the event and helped to present a cheque for £430 to the Food & River Festival. She then went on to crew the trip boat Damselfly for a special cruise, when MCC Branch hosted the Melksham Carnival ‘Royal Family’. They were accompanied on the trip by the press, as befits any Royal Family.

Sunday, the main event day, saw the arrival of nearly 60 stalls, selling a variety of great food and drink and offering cooking demonstrations; there was also face painting and a fun fair for the children.

One highlight of this year’s festival saw brave competitors with a passion for pungent peppers, test the strength of their taste buds by eating chillies of increasing intensity, all of which were provided by the Wiltshire Chilli Farm.

Thomas Chiad was crowned winner and won a £150 voucher for the local pub the Milk Churn for his attempt at eating a reaper chilli which exceeds 1.5M on the Scoville scale!

On the river, in addition to the boat trips and canoeing, there was a display by the Bradford-on-Avon Sub Aqua Club, and a cruise past of visiting wilderness boats and steam launches.

The sun shone, the river sparkled, music played, much food and drink was consumed and enjoyed, and a great time was had by all, thanks to the efforts by the event organisers, MCC & Trust volunteers and Melksham Council.

Adrienne Westbrook, the Chair of the Organising Committee said: “The weather was out of this world, and the festival was incredibly well received by the people of Melksham and surrounding areas who came out in force to support the day – we estimate over 6,000 people attended. It has taken a year to plan and obviously it has been hard work but the biggest worry for us was the weather. We were so happy that it was beautifully sunny and the day went without a glitch from the time the traders were setting up to the balloon release at the end of the day.

“We are so pleased with the success of the event that the Committee have agreed to run it again next year. It is too early to at this stage give more details of the event format, but the date has been fixed for the 4th September 2016”. 

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