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Sir Samuel Whitbread is the new patron of the waterway his ancestor couldn’t reach

The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust (B & MK) has said that Sir Samuel Whitbread, KCVO, has agreed to become the trust’s first patron.

The news is heavy with symbolism. Last year the B & MK celebrated the 200th anniversary of the original plan to create a waterway linking the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union at Milton Keynes) with the Great Ouse at Bedford. The 1812 plan, never realised, was sponsored by the original Samuel Whitbread (the then-MP for Bedford and scion of the original Whitbread brewery business) along with the Duke of Bedford. 

Though no longer involved in brewing, the Whitbread family is still rooted in Bedfordshire, with interests in farming, forestry and the landscape. Sir Samuel, a former Lord Lieutenant of the county, said: “I very much hope that the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust will be able to complete what my ancestor supported but was unable to bring to fruition. It is indeed a very exciting project which I am glad to support.”

While fulfilment of the dream is a long way off, the B&MK Trust expects that the first stretch of the waterway will be dug this year as part of the Marston Vale Innovation Park.

Thursday 8 March  | Andrew Denny  | 1.17pm, Thursday 8 March 2012

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