Registered Charity No. 702429

DIRECTORS’ REPORT - A.G.M. 2010

During 2009 the Trust has made further steady progress towards its long-term objectives of restoring the two canals. The successful completion of the Lichfield Canal Feasibility Study, and its public launch at Lichfield Guildhall in July, has already brought us many benefits.

At last year’s AGM Dave Moore stood down as Marketing Director, although he remains as a Director. We are still seeking a successor to take on the Marketing portfolio. We were pleased to welcome Stefan Szulc as our new Magazine Editor, Mervyn Ainge as Publicity Officer and Pat Ainge as assistant to the Membership Secretary.

In addition to many discussions with landowners, Directors also had meetings with British Waterways, the Environment Agency, Natural England, a number of local authorities and the Muckley Corner Common Project. The regular review meetings with officers of Lichfield District Council continued, and also discussions with Lichfield Cruising Club towards the goal of creating off-line lagoon moorings for their members.

Restoration work continued at Tamworth Road, largely by our own volunteers, with some visits from Waterway Recovery Group. The work was somewhat hindered by the theft in June of our JCB 804 excavator, which was eventually replaced by a Kubota KX61-3.

On the Hatherton Canal Denis Cooper and his team keep the grass and hedges well trimmed and the foot paths in safe condition.

Peter Magee continues to keep our plant and machinery in good working order. Bob Mullarkey, our Director with responsibility for Health & Safety, ensures that all risk and method statements are in place before work commences, with only two very minor accidents being reported during the year.

Mike Battisson, with the help of Fira Ltd and the “Green Team”, has been working on a planting plan for a “sensory trail” to enable visitors to see, hear, feel and smell their way around the Borrowcop Locks Canal Park on Tamworth Road. When the funding is in place to take the plans forward this will enhance the visitor experience at what is already a very popular local amenity.

Our happy relationship with Great Barr School continues and on several occasions groups of students were pleased to escape from the classroom to make return visits to Darnford Lane and Tamworth Road to help with scrub bashing and planting.

Membership records show that we gained 85 new members throughout the year, although the final total was down by 24, ending the year at 1,634. As discussed at last year’s AGM, we now have an additional membership category of Family Life membership. The majority of members are now gift-aiding their subscriptions, allowing us to claim a very worthwhile tax benefit at no extra cost to members.

The Marketing Group took our sales and promotion stand to all the usual local and national waterway events and we held another very successful Boat Gathering at Huddlesford Junction in September in association with Lichfield Cruising Club. Each one of these seems to be better than the one before and in 2009 we had an impressive display of nearly 100 classic and vintage cars assembled on the field, organized for us by Jan Horton. Thanks as ever must go to the Cruising Club for their hospitality for this event, and the hard work put in by so many of their members.

Social events were as ever well supported and very enjoyable, with a Quiz & Magic Night with Fish & Chip supper in February, and at Whittington Village Hall in November we had music and comedy from Malcolm Stent with an excellent variety of casseroles & puddings prepared by the ladies of the Marketing Team. Bob Williams gave his PowerPoint presentation on the work of the Trust to various interested groups throughout the year.

In summary, it has been another successful year with encouraging progress achieved. More help is always welcome – who knows how much more we could do if we had twice the number of volunteers?

Sue Williams
Secretary

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