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Monday 27 June

Today's news from the web

  • The magician who can walk on water dailymail.co.uk

    Most magicians are capable of unbelievable feats, after all it's their stock in trade, but how many have unbelievable feet? Dynamo, whose real name is Steve Frayne, has showed some rather nifty feet as he walked on water for his latest jaw-dropping stunt. The Bradford-born illusionist, 28, made it half way across the stretch of the river in front of the Houses of Parliament in London before he was picked up by a River Police boat. ...


Friday 24 June

Official: The Waterways Trust joins new waterways charity

The Waterways Trust is to merge with the planned new waterways charity (NWC) in England & Wales when it is set up next year, it was announced today.

The Trust says this will ensure that the NWC can draw on its ‘enormous pool of experience and expertise, in disciplines ranging from engineering and conservation to marketing, fundraising, volunteering and education’. 

In Scotland, where the waterways will stay in public ownership, The Waterways Trust’s Scottish component will stay independent.

The Waterways Trust brings into the NWC its three key English waterways museums, in Gloucester, Ellesmere Port and Stoke Bruerne, along with their collections, and the National Waterways Archive, also under its custodianship. 

Incidentally, this news gives an interesting clue as to the likely name of the new body. It has already been said that the existing name of ‘British Waterways’ would have to disappear, or at least change. It now seems likely that the words 'waterways' and 'trust' could be included without confusion, when the NWC is launched next year.   

It is also likely to see Scottish nationalist pressure to rename the Scottish elements of both BW and the WT, to remove any 'English' influence. 

Tony Hales, who was last month appointed chairman designate of the NWC, said: “This is tremendous news and will ensure that a very large part of the country’s precious waterway heritage will be held in trust for the nation.  The joining together of NWC and The Waterways Trust will give the new waterways charity an enormous boost, not just by combining the physical structures and artefacts that make the waterways so unique, but through the collective knowledge and passion that each organisation’s staff and volunteers bring with them.” 

The current chairman of the Waterways Trust, Frances Done, added: “We are delighted to be able support the new waterways charity in this way.  Over the last 12 years we have learnt many lessons which will be important for the new charity.  We have also seen success in a number of key areas including fundraising, building partnerships and attracting and working with volunteers, and look forward to building on these as part of the new waterways charity.

“We are delighted also that the work of the Trust will continue in Scotland building on our considerable achievements and focussing on the needs of Scotland’s waterways.”

The exact nature of the merger will be worked out over the coming months.  The NWC is expected to launch in April 2012, or soon afterwards, and The Waterways Trust's existing fundraising and delivery work, and its role in building partnerships in England and Wales, will continue within the new charity.

Andrew Denny  | 1.57pm


Thursday 23 June

Today's news from the web

  • Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group 'delighted' with public response maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk

    Waterways pioneers have held their final public consultation on proposals to create a network of canals through Maidenhead. Local Maidenhead MP Theresa May dropped in to view the exhibitions at the Nicholsons Centre on Saturday and gave her support to the improvement scheme....

  • Authorities in ‘Olympic Boaters’ warning pla.co.uk

    Visiting recreational boaters could be barred from using their vessels as a base in London during the 2012 Olympics if they fail to book moorings in advance. Officials on the tidal Thames are concerned that large numbers of private craft could arrive for next year’s event with nowhere to go....

  • Dutch man builds modern-day replica of Noah's Ark catholic.org

    Wealthy Dutch builder Johan Huibers is almost done with his recreation of Noah's Ark. The ark sits in a shipyard and is identical in size to the one in the Book of Genesis, 300 cubits in length, and 30 cubits high, and 50 cubits wide. Huibers says he want to float the ark down the River Thames in advance of the 2012 Olympics....


Wednesday 22 June

Today's news from the web

  • Caen Hill Locks receives Transport Trust award bbc.co.uk

    The historic Caen Hill Locks in Devizes have been given an award by the Transport Trust. The popular Wiltshire tourist attraction received a Red Wheel plaque, which recognises transport sites of historical interest....

  • Water Fest lives up to its name getreading.co.uk

    A bit too much water and some technical difficulties failed to dampen spirits at an annual celebration of Reading's waterways. Heavy showers did not stop thousands of people attending Water Fest by the River Kennet on Saturday....

  • Discovery of head and arm in town waterway thisisgrimsby.co.uk

    Following the discovery of a head and arm in the River Ancholme, near Swaby Brook, Brigg, police say they do not "anticipate any further human remains being found", but will continue looking in the area....

  • Led Zeppelin-linked Thames boathouse for sale newburytoday.co.uk

    A River Thames boathouse with connections to legendary rock band Led Zeppelin has been put up for sale, for £1.1 million. Guitarist Jimmy Page paid £6,000 for the property in 1967, which had been a boathouse with wet dock and offices belonging to Hopps of Henley from the 19th century until its 1959 conversion into a residential dwelling. ...The basement, where the wet dock once existed, now hosts a fully heated indoor swimming pool....

  • Exhibition explores the history of Droitwich's canal network droitwichadvertiser.co.uk

    An exhibition on the history of Droitwich’s canal network and its restoration is being held at the town’s Heritage and Information Centre. The exhibition at St Richard’s House, Victoria Square, is running until July 9 and is being held to help celebrate the reopening of the barge and junction canals....


Monday 20 June

Droitwich Barge canal officially opens today

Here's something you don't see every year, let alone every day: A complete waterway reopening for business. 

Today The Droitwich Barge Canal opens officially for boats.  It's the first full, historic waterway to reopen in almost nine years, since the Rochdale in 2002. 



Contractors are now racing to complete dredging of the short stretch remaining, to link it to the 1 1/2 miles of the narrow Droitwich Junction Canal in time for the official reopening ceremony on Friday 1st July. 

So by next weekend you'll have a whole new cruising 'ring' - the Mid-Worcestershire Ring - the first full ring since the 1970s. 

We've done our homework, and the July edition of Waterways World - on sale now - has a brand new pull-out 8-page cruising guide to the new ring, written by our editor Richard Fairhurst.

Andrew Denny  | 11.54am


Today's news from the web

  • Russell Newbery engine company sold russellnewbery.co.uk

    Many people dream of owning a Russell Newbery engine. However, RN enthusiasts, boatyard owners and hire fleet operators David and Deborah Bixter have gone one better - they've bought the company that makes them!

    It was announced at the annual Russell Newbery Register rally in Stourbridge this weekend that the Bixters - owners of Grantham Bridge Services at Hillmorton and the Willow Wren hire fleet in Rugby - had bought the engine manufacturer.

    "We are delighted to have been able to acquire the last truly British vintage-style marine engine manufacturer", said David Bixter.

    "We can now complete all aspects of installation, from initial engine selection through modifying existing installations to all maintenance, servicing and repairs. We also provide bespoke boatbuilding, and this is now available with RN power."


    [David and Deborah Bixter, pictured above, with Brian Jarrett's DM2-powered tug Kyle]

    As a flagship demonstration of his confidence in the Russell Newbery name, David Bixter says that one of his first acts will be to build a new DM2-equipped hire boat for his Willow Wren fleet, aimed at enthusiasts.

    Bixter said that one of his priorities was to find ways of bringing down the cost of the new engines. The price of a new DM2 has been reduced by more than £3,000 and he is exploring more ways of making it more competitive without compromising quality.

    All new Russell Newbery engines will now come with a five-year warranty, along with his own range of RN-designed accessories.

    While the Russell Newbery Register get stronger and more active each year (57 boats attended last weekend's Stourbridge rally), the engine company has been having a lean time recently, with few new DM engines sold - and none at all so far this year.

    At Hillmorton the Bixters will be setting up a showroom and demonstration facility, something that the brand lacked until now.

    The decision to sell was taken by a closed meeting of the Russell Newbery Register Property Company, jointly owned by 60 members of the Russell Newbery Register. The meeting was chaired by directors Clive Henderson, Steve Burt and Rob Davies (pictured L-R below).

    Rob Davies said that David Bixter, a former Rolls Royce apprentice, could continue in the spirit of the founders, who themselves were early Rolls Royce employees.

     

    ...

  • How to make a roof garden on a narrowboat permaculture.co.uk

    After down-shifting to live on a boat, Alice Griffin then had to decide how to grow her vegetable garden in such a small space. With a bit of cunning, she managed to make raised beds light enough to grow vegetables on ...

  • How BW can start a new funding stream thirdsector.co.uk

    Individual fundraising will be the main focus initially, says Ruderham. British Waterways will attempt to build a strong supporter base, either through membership or by asking people to give by direct debit. It also hopes to have corporate partnerships in place in time for next year's launch....

  • Frogs for Devizes still looking for home gazetteandherald.co.uk

    A frog sculpture commissioned at a cost of £13,000 for Devizes millennium celebrations 12 years ago has still not found a proper home but will go on show at an exhibition in Worton . The Ball of Frogs that was supposed to be installed by the Kennet and Avon Canal in the centre of the town has been lying in the garden of sculptor Judy Boyt at Easterton Sands ever since....

  • A breath of fresh Aire yorkshirepost.co.uk

    It was once embarrassing, but the river front in Leeds is [now] trying to become the city’s centre of gravity says Roger Ratcliffe. ...


Saturday 18 June

Today's news from the web

  • Purton Hulks still face uncertain future gazetteseries.co.uk

    The debate over the protection of the Purton Hulks remains unresolved despite attempts made to settle it by all those involved. Maritime heritage campaigner Paul Barnett said a public meeting held to discuss the future of the Purton Hulks recently was a ‘farce’....


Friday 17 June

Today's news from the web

  • Illegal moorings 'ruining' Boulters Lock in Maidenhead bbc.co.uk

    Illegally moored boats are spoiling one of the prettiest stretches of the Thames in Berkshire, according to Windsor and Maidenhead Council. The authority wants boats which blight the Boulters Lock area cleared away. The council has said it will work with the Environment Agency to remove unlicensed craft from its property....

  • Final voyage for owner of 'Chiswick' oxfordtimes.co.uk

    Canal boat lover Bob Wakely made his final journey down the river Thames yesterday. His coffin was carried from Abingdon Lock to his home village of Sutton Courtenay on the 1937 working boat ‘Chiswick’ which he had restored. Wife Esther, 64, said: “To come by boat to the church just seemed so right.”...

  • Portland reservoir urination raises few health or scientific concerns -- but it is pee oregonlive.com

    For the administrator of the Portland Water Bureau, the decision Wednesday to drain 7.8 million gallons of drinking water from a Mount Tabor reservoir comes down to six words: "Do you want to drink pee?" David Shaff asked. About 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, water officials say, a 21-year-old Molalla man was caught on camera urinating in one of Portland's uncovered reservoirs -- one that provides water to a majority of Portlanders. ...


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