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Thursday 9 May

Today's news from the web

  • Pensioner’s dramatic Lancaster canal rescue ordeal lancasterguardian.co.uk

    An 86-year-old great-grandfather had a miraculous escape when he fell from his bicycle into the canal. Jack Earl was rescued by six passers-by as he struggled to get himself free. He lost consciousness and was eventually dragged out after 20 minutes in the freezing water. The pensioner was lucky to escape with hardly a scratch on him to show for his ordeal....

Sunday 5 May

Today's news from the web

  • A unique send-off for former seaman mirfieldreporter.co.uk

    A former seaman who dedicated himself to a Mirfield charity was given a uniquely fitting send-off at his funeral. Robert Boothroyd, who died after a battle with cancer, volunteered and fixed boats for the Safe Anchor Trust. More than 200 people who attended his funeral saw his coffin carried down his favourite canal in a floating cortege. Safe Anchor Trust Founder Les Moss said: “It was a very unusual funeral and if you didn’t know Robert and heard about it out of context then it would sound very odd indeed....

Friday 3 May

Former rail executive is new head of Canal & River Trust

Richard Parry, currently a director of the First Group rail operator and for many years a senior executive of London Underground, is to be the new chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, succeeding Robin Evans, who steps down shortly. 

Richard Parry had spent 19 years with the London tube network in various senior roles, including revenue and strategy - culminating as deputy managing director for TfL Rail and Underground. 

He moved to First Group in January last year to take charge of its bid for the West Coast rail franchise, which it won from Virgin last August. However, when this was overturned by the government in October after a legal challenge he was moved to run the much smaller Hull Trains company in December 2012.

He is also a trustee of People 1st – the council which was set up to improve skills in the hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism industries, particularly in the areas of management and leadership, customer service and craft/technical skills.
CRT chairman Tony Hales said Parry’s rail experience had given him “fantastic experience of managing complex  infrastructure – something which is crucial for our network of lock flights, embankments, soaring aqueducts and other engineering feats of the industrial age.” 

Hales praised Parry’s “strong record of leading organisations through change,” and said he was “very pleased that Richard is moving from rail to water, recognising the renaissance that has seen our canals and rivers come to life and the opportunity we have to give them a bright future.”

Parry himself said “I have bags of enthusiasm for the waterways and have seen first-hand the shot in the arm that canals provide to the communities they flow through.” 
Richard Parry is 46 and married with two teenage daughters, and lives in the West Midlands.

Andrew Denny  | 10.30am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • The art of spending a year on the water birminghampost.net

    When the lease ended on the flat that artist Rob Pointon was sharing with his girlfriend, photographer and animator Karen Sayle, the couple decided to embark on a house hunt. However, they didn’t start trawling through estate agents particulars looking for a des res. The unconventional couple bought a narrowboat, fitted it out as a floating studio, and then spent a year traversing the man-built and natural waterways of the UK, with Rob painting as they went. ...

Tuesday 30 April

Today's news from the web

  • Telegraph profiles the 'angel' of the Droitwich Canals telegraph.co.uk

    The Daily Telegraph today profiles Max Sinclair, the veteran canal campaigner who began the Droitwich Canals restoration in 1959 and was lucky enough to see it completed 42 years later. 

    Max is held up as one of the first winners of the English Heritage Angels Awards scheme, aimed at honouring 'volunteers and craftsmen who have distinguished themselves in the rescue of a site or building under threat.'  

    We are used to quick results in this 24/7 age. Max Sinclair understands the value of patience, however. It took him more than 40 years to achieve his goal, overcoming obstacles physical and bureaucratic. Now, at the age of 82, he sits on the bench by the lock at Mildenham Mill and surveys the object of his ambition, the rejuvenated Droitwich Barge Canal.

    “We dredged 300,000 tons of soil and mud out of here,” says Max of the volunteers, many of whom he never knew, responsible for bringing this tranquil waterway back to life. “We laugh at David Cameron and his Big Society, but this really was the Big Society: people making a contribution, playing their part for no reward other than the pleasure of being with other people and doing something worthwhile.” 

    The scheme is sponsored by the Daily Telegraph, hence Max's profile in the newspaper. 

    If you want to nominate someone as an English Heritage 'Angel', you have until 19th May - more details here

  • Sealine goes into administration kidderminstershuttle.co.uk

    Sealine workers are being warned to brace themselves for “significant” job losses after the Kidderminster-based luxury-boat builder entered administration. Administrators from Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery were called in to the company, based at Whitehouse Road, off Worcester Road, earlier today. Sealine employs about 300 people....

  • Shropshire Star to make a splash as narrowboat launched shropshirestar.com

    The Shropshire Star will set sail on the region’s waterways this weekend when it gives its name to a new canal boat. The 70ft narrowboat will be used to take passengers on pleasure cruises along the Shropshire Union Canal from its base at Norbury Junction, near Newport. It will be officially launched at a VIP naming ceremony on Saturday, as part of the Norbury and Shrewsbury Canal Trust’s annual bank holiday festival....

  • Police hunt man after string of K&A boat burglaries avonandsomerset.police.uk

    Bath and Wiltshire police are appealing for information to help trace a 39-year-old man, Allan Campbell. Officers want to talk to him about a number of canal boat burglaries over the past three months. He is described as white, 6ft 2ins tall, of proportionate build and with numerous tattoos on his arms, hands, chest and back. He has no fixed address and is believed to have been in the Warwickshire area recently but may have moved on. Bath police are investigating eight canal boat burglaries that they believe are linked. Three happened over the Easter holiday weekend in the Bathampton and Claverton areas. ...

Monday 29 April

Grand Union's Slough arm closed after cracks appear in bridge

On Friday 26th April CRT closed the Slough arm of the Grand Union Canal, and its towpath, after serious cracks appeared in the brick abutment of Reeds Bridge (bridge 2A), close to the junction.

Peter Walker, engineering manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “On Friday evening we noticed that one of the brick sides that supports Reeds Bridge had significantly moved so for safety reason we have had to temporarily close the canal and towpath around the bridge.  We’re not sure yet what has caused this problem and over the next few weeks we will be carrying a full and thorough investigation and we hope to have the canal and towpath back open as quickly and possible.”

Andrew Denny  | 10.36am | add a comment

Sunday 28 April

Today's news from the web

  • Max Sinclair on Independent on Sunday Happy List 2013 independent.co.uk

    Max Sinclair Canal enthusiast For half a century this man has inspired thousands of volunteers in his campaign to rescue the Droitwich canals in Wychavon, Worcestershire. Max, now 82, led helpers who bought diggers, built locks, made new towpaths, and cleared away 300,000 tonnes of mud. ...

Saturday 27 April

Today's news from the web

  • Burnley canal-plunge toddler's mother calls for fencing bbc.co.uk

    The mother of a Burnley boy rescued from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is calling for safety fencing on the canal side to prevent further accidents. Two-year-old Ayaan Shah was walking with his mother in the Colne Road area of Burnley on 15 April when he ran off. He was found face down in the canal ... His mother Nazia Khan said: "I don't want any other mothers to go through what I've gone through."...

  • Gloucester Waterways Museum in line for £1m revamp thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    The tourist attraction is developing a project to celebrate Gloucester Docks' contribution to the nation. This week it found out the Heritage Lottery Fund has given it initial support of £60,700 to help improve its visitor experience. The project, called From Birmingham to the Sea, will see the museum change its displays to tell the story of the River Severn and the canals from Sharpness to Birmingham. ...

  • Ulster Canal 'to reopen' after 80 years belfasttelegraph.co.uk

    Part of the cross-border Ulster Canal which has not been used for 80 years is to reopen, it has been revealed. The 14km route runs from Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh to Clones in Co Monaghan. New towpaths and bridges will also be created as part of the 35 million euro work which is expected to take three years....

  • Seaman’s last journey was on the Calder and Hebble Canal halifaxcourier.co.uk

    A former seaman and boat lover who died after a battle with cancer had his perfect send off in a “barge” coffin. The funeral cortege with a difference involved popular Robert Boothroyd’s family following him to his service along his favourite canal. Robert, 60, was an ex-merchant seaman and boat engineer who dedicated his time to a charity which runs canal trips for disadvantaged children and community groups....

Friday 19 April

Today's news from the web

  • Canoeist remains resolute in £4K battle for river access burtonmail.co.uk

    A CAMPAIGNING canoeist who is aiming to get free access for all on Britain’s waterways has vowed to continue his fight, despite being forced to give up a court case into the matter. Andrew Biddulph challenged Burton on Trent Mutual Angling Association and requested £4,000 compensation from the club, after he discovered there were restrictions in place for a section of the River Dove for which the club holds the fishing rights....

Thursday 18 April

Today's news from the web

  • Mirfield Boat Co completes Ziff inspection launch restoration examiner.co.uk

    The Mirfield Boat Co has completed restoration of the inspection launch owned by the erstwhile owner of the Rochdale Canal, the late Arnold Ziff. The boat is a replica of an inspection vessel used on the Rochdale Canal. The boat was last used by the Ziff family for corporate entertaining, but had fallen into disrepair. ...

Wednesday 17 April

Today's news from the web

  • Elevated Cycle Path For Regent’s Canal londonist.com

    Landscape architect Antony Nelson, a director at Design International, has drawn up a plan for a raised cycle path along the Regent’s Canal. The dedicated bike path would run between Angel and Hackney partly over the canal itself. The proposal also calls for a series of cultural hubs along the route. Nelson will be canvassing canal users later in the year, before presenting his idea to the Mayor and Transport for London. ...

Monday 15 April

Today's news from the web

  • ‘Put bikes over barges on London's Regent’s Canal to end battle of the towpath’ standard.co.uk

    An elevated bike path along the Regent’s canal has been proposed as a way of ending the growing “battle” between cyclists and pedestrians. Landscape architect Antony Nelson, 41, came up with the idea after being forced to abandon the towpath between Hackney and Islington due to increasing congestion and “fast and aggressive” cycling. He plans to consult canal users on the design, which would use lightweight steel panels to minimise costs, and hopes to win support from Transport for London. The elevated path would weave across the canal and allow boats to pass below....

Friday 5 April

Today's news from the web

  • Work starts to repair collapsed lock on the Aylesbury Arm canalrivertrust.org.uk

    Last week the wall at Buckland Lock, on the Aylesbury Arm, partially collapsed opening up a large crater along the towpath. As a result the lock, which is over 170 years old, has been closed until it can be repaired....

Wednesday 3 April

Only lock on Witham Navigable Drains upgraded

Cowbridge Lock, the only one on the the Witham Navigable Drains has just been subject to an eight-month, £70,000 upgrade.

While Anton’s Gowt Lock, under the control of CRT, gives access from the River Witham to the western drains, under the jurisdiction of the Witham Fourth District Inland Drainage Board, to access the Maud Foster and the Stonebridge drains, controlled by the Environment Agency, boats must pass through Cowbridge Lock.

A routine structural survey in 2011 of this 1940s lock revealed deterioration, largely due to metal fatigue of the superstructure and guillotine gate. 

In conjunction with Dave Carnell, IWA representative for the East Midlands, helped draw up a refurbishment programme to ensure that not only would this vital link lock continue to allow access to the Witham Navigable Drains north of Boston but it should continue to protect the Maud Foster Drain -- and thus the northern parts of Boston -- from flooding.

Work included removing and overhauling the worn lock machinery, replacing the gate counterweight, renewing upright supports, replacing cross braces, fitting a new 4.5-tonne guillotine gate, shot blasting the entire structure that was not being scrapped, and repainting. To enable these works, the lock required damming off at both ends, scaffold to be erected in and around the lock to enable dismantling and reconstruction works using a 27-tonne crane, which had to gain access across the eighth tee of the adjacent golf course.

Work is now complete and the lock is once again available to boats.

Andrew Denny  | 4.31pm | add a comment

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