Registered Charity No. 702429

NEWS 2006

FLOATING VOTERS PROTEST AGAINST DEFRA FUNDING CUTS

DEFRA, the Government department responsible for our waterways, has slashed the grant-in-aid to British Waterways for 2006 and furthermore, they plan to impose further large cuts over each of the next five years.

DEFRA notified British Waterways in March that its grant would be cut by 5% (£3.1 million). British Waterways subsequently adjusted its budgets, but in August DEFRA announced that British Waterway’s funding would be cut by a further 7.5% (£4.5 million) with the possibility of a further 2.5% (£1.5 million) being slashed in November. This lower level of funding is to continue through 2007 and perhaps until 2012. It is a response largely to the massive problems in the management of the farm grants scheme by the Rural payments Agency but also to the expenditure on avian flu.

Because DEFRA mismanaged the payment of subsidies to farmers so badly they have overspent their budget by over £200 million and they are now trying to recover that by cutting waterways funding. 180 BW jobs have already been lost, canal maintenance is threatened and there is even a possibility of some canals being closed.

Our question is, “Why should British Waterways, who (after decades of under-funding) have in recent years made such excellent progress, now pay the price for such spectacular political ineptitude?"

The Inland Waterways Association organised a floating protest in the centre of Birmingham, a two-day event whose climax was timed to coincide at noon on Sunday with the broadcast of The Politics Show from BBC Birmingham in the Mailbox Centre overlooking Salvage Turn.

60 or 70 boats, including our President Eric Wood and his wife Doreen on board n.b. Credalwood and Vice-Chairman Mike Smith with his wife Penny aboard n.b. Lengthsman (sporting the L&H banner) filled the cut from Salvage Turn most of the way back to Gas Street Basin.

IWA Chairman John Fletcher took part in the broadcast as did Lord (Jeff) Rooker, formerly MP for Perry Barr.

Above (Saturday) Our President and Vice-Chairman arrive in Birmingham Photos by Allan Gilbert
and below (Sunday) the floating blockade outside the Mailbox Photos by Bob Williams

Lord (Jeff) Rooker, & IWA National Chairman John Fletcher
being interviewed for the Politics Show Photo by Barry Kenn
Editorial comment from The Birmingham Post, Monday 27th November



Never miss an opportunity; Mike Smith finds new members

Photo by Rob Davies

Click here for more about the DEFRA cuts

For more photos go to Kevin's pics from KEVIN MASLIN

Click this link to the BBC Politics Show

Click here to sign the e-petition to the Prime Minister


£50,000 BOOST TO SUCHET APPEAL

On 26th October 2006 our Vice-President and renowned Poirot star David Suchet OBE visited Lichfield with his wife Sheila, to view progress at our various restoration sites, and publicise the start of work on the canal culvert under a new roundabout on Birmingham Road. The visit began with lunch at The Boat Inn near Muckley Corner, where Ann Holden and her staff made us very welcome and the food, as ever, was delicious. Whilst there David carried out a live telephone interview for BBC Radio WM's Ed Doolan Show, speaking about our restoration project and expressing his deep concern about the government's recent drastic cut in grant to British Waterways and the Environment Agency, which seriously threatens the future of our inland waterways. He made particular reference to the future of restoration projects, such as the Lichfield and Hatherton, that BW was currently supporting.

Click here for more about the threat to our waterways

A major purpose of the visit was to stress the urgent need for more funding to enable the Trust to make the final stage payment for the new culvert early in 2007. Whilst £55,000 has been raised so far, the Trust is having to use loans and monies intended for other restoration work to meet the cost. Another £50,000 is needed for a final payment next February to reduce the heavy burden of debt. Trust Chairman, Brian Kingshott said: “If this work was not done now, it would cost many times more in the future, and it would put back restoration plans for many years. We are very grateful for all the support we have had to enable these works to proceed”.

A ceremonial “cutting the first sod” was attended by representatives for Staffordshire and Lichfield Councils, British Waterways and Inland Waterways Association to mark this major step forward towards full restoration of the Lichfield Canal.

You can see a short video clip about this visit on the BBC Stoke & Staffordshire website

From Birmingham Road a slightly smaller party went on to see progress at other sites, including Tamworth Road and the new Cappers Bridge which was completed in March this year.

The visit to Lichfield was completed by tea in the "Piano Bar" of the Lichfield Garrick hosted by Artistic Director Adrian Jackson and Chief Executive of Lichfield District Council, Nina Dawes, followed by a tour of the theatre conducted by Business Development and Operations Manager, Caroline Kerr.

Finally, to round off a busy and very successful day, David and Sheila Suchet, Chairman Brian Kingshott and Directors Bob and Sue Williams headed into Birmingham, where a very special event was due to take place at No.9 The Gallery, Brindley Place. It was the opening of a new exhibition by Birmingham artist Dr Ted Hiscock, a friend and neighbour of Mike and Bobbie Battisson and school chum of David Suchet. Ted had created a lovely oil painting of Huddlesford Junction and donated it to the Trust as a contribution to the funds. It was included as part of the exhibition and offered for sale at £850. David Suchet was there to accept the painting on behalf of the Trust, and to everyone's delight a buyer came forward almost immediately, offering £1,000 for the work, delighted that David had signed the back. We are extremely grateful to Ted for his generosity, and to Lee Benson of Number 9 The Gallery for his support. A very happy conclusion to a wonderful day.


Dr Ted Hiscock, the artist

Click here for more photos of the exhibition at Number 9 The Gallery


NEW VOLUNTEER SQUAD DISTRIBUTE CUT BOTH WAYS

We are always looking for more volunteers (you might have noticed), so we were delighted when the leader of the 1444th (Brownhills) Squadron Air Training Corps approached Mike Battisson at the Brownhills Canal Festival in June asking whether the cadets might be able to do some voluntary work to help the Trust.

We agreed that the majority of the group would be too young for physical restoration work (Health & Safety rules etc.) but their offer of help was gratefully accepted, and they happily agreed to take care of the bulk mailing of the next issue of Cut Both Ways.

Issue 48, plus envelopes, stamps and address labels were duly collected from Bob Williams and efficiently processed at the group HQ in Brownhills. Our thanks go to all of them for a job well done and we look forward to their help again with the next issue.

The names of the cadets who helped out are (from left to right on the first photo below):
Cdt Cpl Stefan Hinton
Cdt David Marshall
Cdt Cpl Sarah Pugh
Cdt Mike Webb
Cdt James Hawkins
Cdt Luke Daniels
Cdt Merrett (Not Pictured)

The 1444th (Brownhills) Squadron Air Training Corps is for young people between 13 and 18 and meets on Wednesday & Friday evenings between 17:30 and 22:00 in Brownhills. Activities range from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to aviation training, shooting and adventure training and service in helping charitable organisations. The Squadron telephone number is 01543 360717. Email Tom Hender or Chris Corns.

 
 
Photos by Thomas Hender


TIM COGHLAN'S DONATION PRESENTED BY SONIA ROLT

At the Historic Narrowboat Rally at Braunston Marina on 24/25 June, marina owner Tim Coghlan made a number of donations of £250 to the canal societies at the show. The cheques were presented on Tim's behalf by waterway pioneer and IWA Vice-president Mrs Sonia Rolt, who also opened the show.

Sonia Rolt was one of the women canal volunteers of WW2, which led to her lifelong interest in the development and protection of Britain’s inland waterways. She is the widow of the late Tom Rolt, one of the founders of The Inland Waterways Association.


Tim Coghlan, Bob Williams, Sue Williams and Sonia Rolt
(Photo by John Rawson)

For more about Sonia Rolt see Woman's World Annual 2005/2006


LICHFIELD GREENHILL BOWER MONDAY 29th MAY 2006

The Mayor of Lichfield Cllr Colin Greatorex (right) and Deputy Mayor Cllr Mike Fryers (left) visit the Lichfield & Hatherton stand at the Lichfield Bower on a very wet Bank Holiday Monday. A very big thank you to Trish Humphries for organising the tent and the stand. She had a great, hardworking team and we would like to thank them all - Bobbie and Mike Battison, Beverley and Paul Marshall, Jean and Terry Brown, Barry Kenn, George Simonczyk, Lynn Evans, Peter Lee and Kathryn Humphries. Special thanks to those who arrived about 8:30am and stayed all day! In spite of the terrible weather - monsoon and mini hurricane!?! they still managed to raise £130.

 

(Photos by Barry Kenn)


CAPPERS BRIDGE UNVEILED


The Trust's Chairman, President and invited guests raise a cheer as Cappers Bridge is unveiled.
From the left are Michael Fabricant MP, Mrs Janice Greaves, Cllr. Mrs Doris English, Cllr. Mrs Norma Bacon,
Mrs Margaret Dale, Brian Kingshott, Eric Wood and Rev. John Martin
Photo by Paul Marshall

Perhaps we should have called it "Royal Cappers Bridge", as it was formally opened on the Queen's 80th birthday on 21st April 2006! Years of planning and fund-raising, months of construction work, weeks of organising all came together when some 100 invited guests, Trust members and public met to celebrate this notable achievement in opening the way for the Lichfield Canal to pass under Cappers Lane between Lichfield and Whittington.

And here's the instant replay ....


Animation by Paul Marshall

The Village Hall in Whittington provided a focal point for all the visitors who enjoyed light refreshments and a variety of displays by several local interest groups all afternoon. Brian Kingshott, Trust Chairman paid tribute to all those who had worked on the project, particularly Staffordshire County Council and the builders McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd for a most excellent result.

Michael Fabricant MP highlighted how Parliament had been short-sighted in closing canals in the 1950s which are now found so desirable for leisure and environmental benefits, commending the Trust on bringing back a valuable local amenity. Speaking for British Waterways, Tony Harvey, General Manager Central Shires endorsed compliments given to the Trust volunteers for their vision in reopening links with the Birmingham Canal Navigations, sentiments echoed by Clive Henderson, Chairman IWA Midland Region. Cllr Mrs Doris English, Chairman of Lichfield District Council, recalled the canal in earlier years, remarking how it could again be a valuable feature of the City.

The proceedings were graced by the presence of Mrs Margaret Dale, a descendant of the Capper family who had lived and worked at Huddlesford Junction. Mr Frank Bartlett, Chairman of Whittington Parish Council thanked her for personifying the historic link which she said was a great privilege and hoped the new bridge would carry the Capper name into the future.

Commemorative mugs and coasters produced for the occasion sold quickly and will be available on the Trust stand at shows, or through the website.


See our
Sales Page to purchase mugs and coasters


AGM NEWS

The 16th Annual General Meeting of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust was held at Whittington Village Hall at 7.15 p.m. on 21st April 2006.

48 members were present for the meeting chaired by Trust Chairman Brian Kingshott. Minutes of the 15th AGM were approved and signed and the Directors' Report for 2005 was given by Secretary Sue Williams.

The Chairman delivered a stirring report of the Trust's activities in the year 2005. To see the Chairman's Report and Directors' Report click on the links below.

On behalf of the members the President then offered congratulations and a vote of thanks to Brian Kingshott for seeing the Trust through a difficult year.

In accordance with the Trust constitution Phil Sharpe, Mike Smith and Sue Williams were retiring as directors. Phil Sharpe had previously declared his intention to stand down. Mike Smith and Sue Williams offered themselves for re-election. Acceptance of these two nominations was proposed by Rob Davies, seconded by George Simonczyk and approved by a show of hands from the floor. There were no votes against. No other nominations had been received.

The President concluded the proceedings with a vote of thanks to the Directors and Officers for their hard work over the past year.

Chairman's Report

Directors' Report

Draft Accounts for 2005

Printed copies of all these reports are available from the Secretary on request. Email Sue Williams or phone 01543 671427


CAPPERS BRIDGE OPEN


Photo by Phil Sharpe

At last Cappers Bridge is completed and open to traffic. After a much delayed start due to prolongued land negotiations, the contractors, McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd, have made excellent progress and completed the job well within the expected time frame.

This removes the first obstruction beyond the navigable section of canal at Huddlesford and we look forward to the time when we will be able to extend the restoration nearer to the city of Lichfield.


On Friday 21st April there will be an official unveiling of the bridge and a celebration at Whittington Village Hall, attended by invited guests of the Trust. Local organisations have been invited to put up displays in the Village Hall and residents of Whittington are welcome to come along to see them. Refreshments will be on sale.

Following the afternoon celebrations, the Trust AGM will follow at 7.15pm. Non-members are welcome to attend but can not vote at the AGM.


CAPPERS BRIDGE NEARING COMPLETION

Latest news on expected date of completion. Fortunately weather conditions have been favourable and work is well ahead of schedule at this stage. The McPhillips works should be completed by about 20th March, after which there will be more subcontractors work to be done - fencing, tree and hedge planting, etc. The County Council has decided that the road should not be opened until after this has been done as it would be necessary to put different traffic management control in for the safety of those workers. They expect to open the road 'about the end of March'. We are grateful to the residents of Whittington for their patience and forbearance during construction.

 
 
Photos by Bob Williams


ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Notice is hereby given that the 16th Annual General Meeting of
Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust Limited will be held at
Whittington Village Hall
off Main Street, Whittington, near Lichfield, Staffordshire
on Friday 21st April 2006 at 7.15pm

AGENDA

  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of the 15th Annual General Meeting 23/04/2005
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Directors' Report
  5. Treasurer's Report and Presentation of Accounts for the year ending 31st December 2005
  6. Chairman's Report
  7. Election of Directors:
    (a) Directors retiring by rotation and eligible for re-election:
      Philip Sharpe
      Michael Smith
      Susan Williams
    (b) Any other nominations received
  8. Appointment of Auditor: West - Chartered Accountants
  9. Any Other Business

Note 1: A member entitled to attend and vote is entitled to appoint a proxy. A Form of Proxy can be obtained from the Company Secretary (Sue Williams), to whom they should be returned at least 48 hours before the time appointed for the meeting.

Note 2: A summary of the 2005 Annual Accounts, subject to audit, is available on this website (Click here for accounts). Any member wanting a copy of the full accounts in advance of the meeting should contact the Treasurer, Bob Williams.

Note 3: Non-members are welcome to attend but can not vote at the AGM.

N.B. Please note this is a Friday evening meeting, not the usual Saturday afternoon.


MORE CAPPERS BRIDGE PHOTOS

 
 
Photos by Bob Williams


CANALS TRUST RECEIVES THE KEYS

The start of 2006 sees two significant steps forward for the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust. In a sense both of these represent the unlocking of the Lichfield Canal, one at each end.

The work to rebuild Cappers Bridge between Lichfield and Whittington is going well and is set to be finished by the end of March. The original bridge was levelled after the canal was closed to navigation but is now being rebuilt to enable the restored canal to pass through. The design is a modern one but is sympathetic to the canal environment. The work is funded by money from a European Regional Development Fund grant. The Trust hopes that, in due time this will unlock access to the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford Junction.

At the northern end of the Lichfield Canal the Trust has been able to buy a canalside cottage including part of a lock. This is a significant step towards connecting the restored Lichfield Canal to the main Birmingham canal system. We are grateful to the generosity of Sir John Smith and the Manifold Trust for making a significant donation which has made the purchase possible.

Chairman of the Trust, Brian Kingshott said “These are very important steps forward for the L & H. Despite some problems which were reported last Autumn we are totally confident that the Lichfield Canal can and will be fully restored. The benefits to Lichfield and the surrounding areas will be enormous.”

9th January 2006


Gerry & Norma Graham hand over the ceremonial key to Bob & Sue Williams


WORK CONTINUES ON CAPPERS BRIDGE

 
 
 
Photos by Bob Williams


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