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Thursday 2 June

Today's news from the web

  • Noah's Ark 'could arrive in London for Olympics' telegraph.co.uk

    A giant recreation of Noah's Ark could be moored in the River Thames during the London 2012 Olympics. Johan Huibers, an eccentric Dutch Christian, has spent around £1 million building the "Ark" after dreaming about a great flood sweeping Holland. He saw the dream as a signal to spread God's message. The vessel is 450ft long and 75ft wide and will be stuffed with pairs of model animals, while an aviary with free-flying live birds will take up most of the enormous deck house....

  • Value of Britain’s trees and waterways calculated in 'ground-breaking' study telegraph.co.uk

    The UK National Ecosystems Assessment (NEA) puts a price on the economic, health and social benefits provided by the natural world. Its authors believe such benefits are usually taken for granted and are therefore making the case for protecting nature in financial terms. The study shows that the health benefits of living with a view of green space are worth up to £300 per person per year while living close to rivers, lakes or the coast is worth up to £1.3 billion annually to the UK....

Wednesday 1 June

BW appoints professional fundraiser

After announcing last week the eight 'transition' trustees who are going to oversee its move to becoming the new waterways charity, British Waterways has announced its next key appointment - a professional fundraiser.

Ruth Ruderham comes from Christian Aid, where she is said to have helped them grow their income to beyond £100m for the first time in their history. She also previously worked at Friends of the Earth and Crisis. In 2005 she was named Professional Fundraiser of the Year for her work at Crisis.

Simon Salem, director of marketing at BW, said that voluntary fundraising will be a vital part of the new organisation and that they had sought a fundraiser with an outstanding record in fundraising growth, strategy and income.

"She will lead the waterways charity into a new era of voluntary giving. It’s one of the most exciting fundraising challenges around right now.”

Ruth Ruderham said : “It is an incredible privilege to be the first fundraiser the new charity will ever employ. The plans that British Waterways have already developed are really exciting and I can't wait to start recruiting supporters of this unique and important cause.”

Ruth will be responsible for further developing a fundraising strategy initially devised with the help of charity fundraising consultants Think Consulting.

Ruth Ruderham 

Ruth Ruderham was a speaker at last year's International Fundraising Conference, speaking on behalf of Christian Aid.  Here she gives a 30sec overview of what a fundraiser's role now is: 

"We know that our job as fundraisers isn't just to raise money any more, it's about engaging people in the brand, whether they want to give time or money, whether they want to campaign with you."  

Andrew Denny  | 11.22am

Monday 30 May

Today's news from the web

  • Crick Boat Show pulls in the crowds again northamptonchron.co.uk

    Thousands of people flocked to the annual Crick Boat Show and Waterways Festival, held at Crick Marina over the weekend. The event, the country’s largest inland waterways show, included more than 200 stalls, craft and food marques, children’s activities, musical entertainment and the chance to climb aboard a variety of boats on display....

  • Setback for Llangollen Canal Whitchurch Arm canal restoration plans shropshirestar.com

    The Whitchurch Waterway Trust wants to extend the canal and create a new basin with moorings in the town. But at last night’s annual meeting of Whitchurch Town Council members rejected a bid for funding from the trust. Councillors said they had already given the trust money in the past and had not had any evidence of what it had been used for. ...

Sunday 29 May

Today's news from the web

  • Canal could get a £1m upgrade to draw more visitors halifaxcourier.co.uk

    About £1 million could be spent making the Rochdale Canal more useful and attractive to visitors. The council has been asked to support a bid for lottery funding by Pennine Prospects and the Waterways Trust, which owns the canal. The money could help pay for upgrading displays at the canal visitor centre in Hebden Bridge, improving access, putting up new signs and interpretation boards and expanding educational and promotional work....

Tuesday 24 May

New trustees announced to take the waterways into the Third Sector

Defra has announced the names of the eight founding trustees appointed for the new waterways charity that will take over the running of British Waterways’ canals, rivers and docks in England and Wales from April 2012.  

Tony Hales, current BW chairman, will continue as chair of the new charity’s trustee directors, following recommendations to waterways minister Richard Benyon by the independent Advisory Panel on First Appointments and Transition.  

The other founding trustees recommended by the Advisory Panel include two existing BW directors: 
John Bridgeman, British Waterways vice chairman and leading expert in competition and fair trading.
Nigel Hugill, British Waterways board member and property expert. 

There are five new trustees, not previously associated with the BW board: 

Lynne Berry, boat owner and chief executive of WRVS.
Jane Cotton, change management expert and a deputy chief executive and HR director of Oxfam.
John Dodwell, long-term waterways campaigner and former chair of the Commercial Boat Operators Association.
Tom Franklin, leading advisor on open spaces and chief executive of the Ramblers.
Simon Thurley, historian and chief executive of English Heritage.
The trustees will work closely with British Waterways’ Board until the new charity takes control in April 2012.  The eight trustees were selected for their ‘wealth of senior level experience of managing heritage, volunteering, leisure, boating and commercial interests.’
Tony Hales spoke for the new trustees immediately the news was announced, saying: “We have championed a ‘national trust’ for the waterways for some time and I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to chair the new charity.

“It is the right route to protect and develop the waterways and will give communities a greater role in managing their local canal or river.  The change will help ensure a more sustainable future for this important national treasure.
“The calibre of trustees that have been attracted to give their time and expertise is testament to the high regard given to the nation’s precious waterways.  

A mix of five new trustees and three from British Waterways’ existing board will inject new energy and ideas as we set up the new waterways charity, and will ensure a smooth transition from public ownership.”
The unpaid trustees will work alongside the existing BW board until officially taking responsibility for the waterways after April 2012.  

More immediately they will have full control over negotiating a contract with Government that will determine public funding for the waterways in England & Wales for at least the next decade. They will also be involved in the detailed design of the charity’s governance, decisions around the charity’s name, logo and brand identity, and fundraising strategy.
During the transition between public corporation and new waterways charity, the trustees will work around three to four days a month, reducing to two days thereafter.  

After the transitional period the founder trustees will then be subject to ratification by the charity’s Council of Representatives at its very first meeting after ‘vesting day’ of the new charity.  

The Council of Representatives will also in the future have responsibility for recruiting future trustees.

Andrew Denny  | 3.06pm

Monday 23 May

Today's news from the web

  • Cops vow to catch Derbyshire canal boat criminals burtonmail.co.uk

    A spate of thefts from canal boats in South Derbyshire has resulted in police increasing patrols. Derbyshire Police’s Section Inspector for Derby South, Paul Cannon A recent rise in crime on the Willington to Shardlow stretch of the canal was forced officers to take a proactive approach in the area. Items taken include several pieces of machinery and also personal belongings from the boats....

Sunday 22 May

First new boats float in Hereford in over 100 years canal

Three Wilderness boats were launched on Friday 20th May at the new Hereford and Gloucester canal trust slipway at Aylestone Park in Hereford.  The Wilderness Boat Club says that Snapdragon, Grey Owl and Tophyl were thought to be the first occupied boats to float on this stretch of the Hereford and Gloucester canal since the 1880s.  There were joined by another Wilderness boat, Olive, over the weekend after it had attended the Moira Boat Festival on the Ashby Canal.   

The boats were there to help the Hereford and Gloucester Canal Trust raise awareness of the canal in the city of Hereford at a boat gathering in Aylestone Park on Sunday 22nd May. 

While the new stretch of water may not initially be very long, the Wilderness Boat Club paid tribute to the work of the Canal Trust and the Waterway Recovery Group in creating a new trailable stretch.

Andrew Denny  | 11.51pm

Today's news from the web

  • Man seriously hurt in canal fall in Stourport-on-Severn bbc.co.uk

    A man has been seriously hurt after falling 10ft into a canal dry dock in Worcestershire. The man, aged in his 60s, suffered serious head injuries after the fall at Bridge street in Stourport-on- Severn on Saturday evening, paramedics said....

Friday 20 May

Today's news from the web

  • Rochdale canal in city centre drained to reveal 10 years of rubbish menmedia.co.uk

    Coats, hats, tables, chairs and even a blow-up doll were hauled out of the mud as a canal was drained for a clean-up. For the first time in a decade, the stretch of water running alongside bars on Deansgate Locks in Manchester – seen as a flytipping hotspot – was emptied and cleared of rubbish to protect boats and wildlife....

Thursday 19 May

Slow news week in Redditch

It's been a quiet week in Redditch if this is headline news: 

Firefighters from Redditch had an unusual call out when they received reports of a cow in a canal.Fire crews from the Redditch station were called to a canal near The Weighbridge public house in Alvechurch last night at about 7.40pm.

However before arriving the cow had managed to escape on its own.

A fire spokesman said that it was unusual but does happen from time to time and in these circumstances it's much better if the animal can get itself out.The cow is believed to be doing fine.

When you come across this situation, it's often better just to leave them be. 

Andrew Denny  | 11.35pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Tidal energy trial in Thames offers glimpse of future bbc.co.uk

    A tidal energy farm providing green energy to London could become a reality if a two-month trial proves successful. A tidal turbine is being installed in the River Thames alongside World War II ship HQS Wellington in central London. If the trial proves successful and does not adversely affect the environment, hundreds of turbines could be installed between Kent and London. Energy company Nautricity said a tidal energy farm would generate enough electricity to power 35,000 homes....

  • 'Hidden Edinburgh gem' Union Canal to get makeover news.stv.tv

    The Union Canal in Edinburgh is set for a makeover to allow more visitors and residents to enjoy the waterway. The canal is currently a quiet corridor through the city that is already enjoyed by cyclists, rowers and runners. Members of the public are being asked for their views on what should happen along the 16km of the canal....

  • From the Guardian archives, 1 January 1894: The opening of the Manchester ship canal guardian.co.uk

    1 January 1894: Opening of the Manchester ship canal Six years in the making, the world's largest navigation canal gives the city direct access to the sea ...

  • guardian.co.uk

    1 January 1894: Opening of the Manchester ship canal Six years in the making, the world's largest navigation canal gives the city direct access to the sea ...

  • Name for new canal bridge in Stroud is revealed bbc.co.uk

    Stroud's new canal bridge is to be known as Stroud Brewery Bridge. The structure carrying the A46 over the waterway in the town centre is due to be opened in June after months of delays. Its name commemorates the old Stroud Brewery which stood next to the site until its demolition in the 1970s....

Tuesday 17 May

Famous Milton Keynes mural gets refurbishment

The Wolverton Train Mural, for 25 years a striking feature of the canal through Milton Keynes, has been substantially refurbished.

However, the local IWA Milton Keynes branch, which organised the restoration, warns that its long-term future is threatened because of the decay of the underlying brick wall,  which was never designed as a mural substrate. 

The work, originally designed by Bill Billings to brighten the canal after the IWA's National festival in 1985, represented Wolverton’s past as a centre of railway history and its future as part of the Milton Keynes conurbation. It also covered up graffiti, and for a while remained free from further vandalism. 

Over the years the Mural has been looked after by IWA local volunteers, who repainted weathered and vandalised sections and regularly cut back vegetation, including a major restoration in 2005.   However, by 2010 the mural was once again the target of vandalism and needed restoration if it was to survive. Concerned with its condition, local IWA members pressured the local community to support repainting, and found strong support for the restoration.   

Support for the restoration came from a grant from the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, local employer Electrolux plc and Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council.The Milton Keynes Christian Foundation, which trains unemployed youngsters in building skills, helped to create a short section of wall to replace missing gates. 

Three Community Artists, David Fenton, Neil Keen and Ryan Billings (the son of Bill Billings, who died in 2007), have now re-painted it with the support of Community Payback offenders, and local community and IWA volunteers. The artists had already worked closely for a  number of years with Bill Billings prior to his death in 2007, and have now used more modern paints and techniques than Bill had available in the 1980s. 

The Mural now looks brighter again, but IWA Milton Keynes warns that it will become more difficult to maintain in the future, and the underlying wall on which it is painted is in danger of collapse in places.

Andrew Denny  | 7.38am

Today's news from the web

  • More patrols at St Neots to get boats to slow down cambridge-news.co.uk

    Extra river patrols are to take place to crack down on speeding boaters on the River Great Ouse. The Environment Agency patrols will focus on the stretch of river in the St Neots area. It has also installed extra 4mph signs on the stretch between St Neots and Eaton Socon lock in a bid to encourage boat users to slow down....

Monday 16 May

Waterways Festival to feature record number of historic boats

The IWA Waterways Festival, being hosted by Burton upon Trent from 29th to 31st July, is expected this year to feature a  record number of historic narrow boats

The organisers say that at least 28 historic boats will attend, the largest number ever to have gathered at the annual festival.  They will offer waterways enthusiasts, history lovers and the general public chance to see how people lived and worked on the waterways in years gone by.   

Making a guest appearance will be President, the only restored ex-Fellows Morton and Clayton steam powered narrow boat.  Now owned by The Black Country Living Museum, the boat was built over a century ago as a steamer, converted to diesel power in 1925, and, following restoration in 1974, returned to steam.   

David Pullen, Waterspace Director for IWA Festivals said: “All of the boats have been beautifully restored to their former glory and their owners will explain how the boats were worked, in a very tough industrial environment. We hope the festival goers enjoy looking at the boats and learning about the importance of them to our social and industrial history.”    

To find out more about The Waterways Festival, or to book advance tickets visit www.thewaterwaysfestival.co.uk or call 01474 783 453 (ext 602 or 603)

President at Burton in 2004, the last time the Waterways Festival was held there. 

Andrew Denny  | 4.12pm

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