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Grantham celebrates 50th birthday

On 28th July the Grantham Canal Society held a 50th birthday party at its headquarters in the Woolsthorpe depot.

The society came into being as an idea of the Grantham Civic Society in 1969, and held its inaugural meeting at The Plough Inn, Hickling, overlooking Hickling Basin.

That first meeting was chaired by local architect and archaeologist Garland Grylls, who died in 2006. His daughter Jane, current treasurer and membership secretary, was present at the birthday party, along with two of the original members from 1969, Chris Tizzard and Jim Barker.

Chris and Jim represented those who, in the 1970s and early '80s, fought attempts to turn the canal into a linear rubbish dump, helped thwart the mining of the Vale of Belvoir (subsidence would have destroyed the line) and challenged the indifference and negativity of British Waterways at the time.

Also present was Francis Bailey, who in the early days was instrumental in setting up what became the Hickling Reach Project, the first real success of the canal. Hickling Basin was rejuvenated, nearly 3 miles of canal dredged and three new accommodation bridges

The society celebrated its birthday with optimism. The lottery-funded restoration of Woolsthorpe locks 15 and 14 should be completed next year, membership has nearly tripled to over 650 and it has over 70 active volunteers.

Plans are now shaping up for the completion of the two remaining locks of the Woolsthorpe flight, while the society has also turned its attention to the Cropwell Bishop dry section as its next project.

Monday 12 August  | Andrew Denny  | 1.47pm, Monday 12 August 2019

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