Fred has devoted all his spare time for well over 50 years to the cause of the UK’s Inland Waterways, particularly in the South West. At a time when many were fighting to retain canals that were open, he never wavered from the belief that even abandoned canals could be brought back to service when many thought they were a lost cause. The Kennet and Avon Canal is a classic example, once known as “The Sleeping Beauty”, it was finally restored and formally reopened by The Queen in 1990. Largely in recognition of the amazing work by volunteers, the Heritage Lottery Fund then provided its’ largest-ever grant of £25 million to undertake additional work, ensuring that the Canal is now one of the finest waterways in the UK.
Fred was an early member of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and is still an active contributor. In 1961 he assisted in the building and operation of a trip boat, on a section of the K&A canal near Bath, to demonstrate the leisure potential of waterways. This was a paddle wheel craft that was the only type of boat able to operate due to the poor condition of the waterway.
Fred has been an active member of the Bath Branch of the Trust from 1960 and was involved with the organisation and work undertaken on the “Dry” Limpley Stoke length in 1965/6 as well as the restoration of the Bath Flight of locks, which were formally re-opened in 1976. He has been an active campaigner for the canal throughout his many years as a Trust member and has contributed to (or indeed initiated) all of the many campaigns to raise funds and the image of the Canal. He still, to this day, attends meetings and makes many important contributions.
His greatest contribution, though, to the K&A restoration was his involvement in stopping the partial closure and Right of Navigation through Bristol docks in the 1970’s. This kept alive the possibility that the canal could one day be completely restored. It took over 30 years to achieve this ambition and fully restore the only canal in the South of the country able to provide a through passage from Bristol to the Thames, accommodating wide beam boats.
The 87 miles of the K&A Canal is now a thriving waterway with over 11 million visitors per year, over 3000 private and hire boats, fishing and boat clubs, all bringing money and work to the waterways and the surrounding villages. Amongst its many attractions are the world-renowned Crofton steam-driven pumping station, the uniquely "green" Claverton waterwheel-driven pumping station, and the scheduled ancient monument, the Caen Hill Locks.
Fred has played an important role in this remarkable recovery and, on behalf of the K&A Canal Trust, I am pleased to announce he has been awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Dr M G Rodd CEng
Chairman of the Trust Council
Following exceptionally heavy rainfall during April and above average rainfall in May and June, groundwater that feeds the canal east of the summit has recovered substantially from the very low levels recorded earlier in the year. Note that although this recovery is significant and very welcome, groundwater is still around the same level that it was in June of last year (and as you may recall, we ran out of water toward the end of the year). I therefore ask that everyone continues to use water sparingly; share locks and be sure to leave lock paddles fully closed unless specific site signage asks otherwise. I can report that efforts made so far have made a difference; I have recorded reduced lock use and pumping costs have been decreased.
Both the River Avon and River Kennet are currently (June 14th) high due to recent storm events. However, it is anticipated that when they return to base flow levels they will both be sufficient to sustain navigation.
At this moment in time I predict no management of canal opening times due to water availability being required for at least the next eight weeks. An update to this forecast will be provided in July.
Thank you for your help and support.
Mark Stephens, Waterway Manager
As at Wednesday 13 June, County Lock in Reading is flooded and impassable and water speed through the Oracle shopping centre (also known as Brewery Gut) is extremely high. The nearby Thames is on red alert.Whilst it is hoped that the situation may ease in the next few days more rain would prolong the problem.
All water based events at Reading Waterfest have therefore been cancelled and all boats booked to attend have been advised not to travel to or through Reading.
Nevertheless, the land based part of the event, jointly arranged by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and Reading Borough Council, will still go ahead as scheduled on Saturday (16 June) but with all stalls and attractions moved into the nearby Forbury Gardens. The Trust information tent, cake stall and sales stand will all be there and the Duck Race will now use the park fountain instead of the river.
Reading Branch of the Trust are extremely disappointed by the first cancellation of a major part of Waterfest in over 20 years but hope that Trust members will still come along to visit the Trust stands at the rearranged event.
David Copley Reading Branch Chairman
Our Friends have received an award!
"Congratulations to everybody for your input that has allowed the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust to achieve what is rated as, 'the highest award given to volunteer groups across the country for outstanding work', 'an award for groups of people doing voluntary work that is a social, economic or [and] environmental service to the community'.
What an award to receive on Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee day!
CEng. FICE. FCMI. MIStructE.
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust"
Dr Raymond Malcolm Glaister died peacefully on 25th May, 2012 in Woodbridge Suffolk. He is survived by his wife Margo and daughters Alison, Hilary and Carol and son Malcolm and 13 grandchildren.
Ray was a stalwart member of the Newbury Branch of Kennet and Avon Canal Association as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer in the 50’s and early 60’s at this time he wrote a very comprehensive article on the Restoration Project which was published in Country Life. He and Margo were very keen canoeists and made numerous expeditions east and west of Newbury on the mostly unrestored canal always accompanied by their first daughter Alison and their Dog Star a black and white Basenji. At this time Newbury was the hub of the Canal Association where Ray and Margo were always at the forefront of all activities. Unfortunately for the Trust Ray’s career as a Doctor of Physics took the family away from Newbury. Ray’s interest in the Kennet and Avon Canal continued he was also a member of the Cruising Association for which he, in conjunction with Margo, wrote Skippers Cruising Guides – UK Circumnavigation No1 having circumnavigated the UK in his 32ft sailing yacht.
Rays funeral will be taking place at St Bartholomew’s Church, Orford, Suffolk at 2 p.m. on 12th June. Family flowers only donations to RNLI.
It gives me much pleasure to announce that David Inight has been appointed
by the Trust Council as the Managing Director of Enterprise.
David,presently the Trust Council Vice Chairman, takes over from Alan Whitewick,
who will continue to edit the Butty, Website, eLetter, etc, together with
his daughter, Amy.
We expect to appoint a new Vice Chairman of the Trust
Council after the forthcoming AGM.
We wish David every success in this important role which underpins much of
the Trust's income generation.
Dr M G Rodd FIET CEng
Chairman of the Trust Council
The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust