Registered Charity No. 702429

NEWS 2007


At 09.30 on Tuesday 11th December, Trust Patron Michael Fabricant opened a Parliamentary debate on the future funding of canals in the UK and the activities of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust. The debate was answered by Jonathan Shaw MP, the Waterways Minister at the Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. Many other MPs participated.

The full transcript of the Canals Debate is available here.

The recording of the webcast is available to watch at until 7th January 2008

In response to this debate, the folowing letter was published in the "Birmingham Post" on 13 Dec 2007.

Dear Editor,

Michael Fabricant deserves thanks and recognition for speaking up in the debate on Staffordshire's canals, and in particular for the restoration of the Lichfield and Hatherton canals ("Post", 12 December). He is a years-long supporter of the project that would transform Walsall and Brownhills from canal backwaters to focal points on the national waterway network, and re-link the Lichfield and Cannock areas with Birmingham's canal network.

For too long, the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LCHRT) has pushed the project forward with little or no support from the local authorities which stand to reap the sizeable economic and regeneration benefits of these restorations.

The Trust's most notable achievement was to persuade MEL, the hard-nosed builders of the M6 Toll, to allow for canal crossings at Churchbridge (a navigable culvert) and North of Brownhills (an aqueduct), which were fully charitably funded by the Trust.

This was a truly defining moment, for, without these canal crossings, the restoration project would have died there and then.

And that is exactly what would have happened, had it been left to Walsall and their neighbour local authorities in Staffordshire. So a huge debt of gratitude is owed to the volunteers of the LCHRT.

I happen to think that the time has now come where the Trust should no longer have to soldier on alone. If the representatives of the communities in the areas of the West Midlands and Staffordshire that stand to benefit most are truly serious about these restorations, a partnership should now be established involving the Trust, the British Waterways Board, Walsall Council, Staffordshire County Council, Cannock Chase, Lichfield and South Staffordshire District Councils, and the Inland Waterways Association.

Only by working together will we have the strength to win and assemble the funding necessary to bring this laudable stategic project to a successful conclusion.

Richard Worrall, Walsall.

Announced on Saturday 10th November
at Whittington Village Hall

We congratulate all the lucky winners in the Grand Prize Draw for 2007 whose tickets were drawn during our Evening of Music & Comedy at Whittington Village Hall on 10th November, attended by 107 members and friends. Our Chairman Brian Kingshott led the proceedings assisted by members of the audience.

The result for 2007 has matched the previous year, adding some £4,200 to the Trust’s funds. We give special thanks to the donors of the prizes shown below, and to Trish Humphries for all her hard work organising it.

The lucky winners were:-

1. £500 CASH - partly supported by an anonymous donationNo.00116Val Smith, Shillingstoke, Dorset
2. Hire of DAY BOAT from ANGLO WELSH at Great HaywoodNo.11652Ian Prentice, Lichfield
3. Mini Membership for 2 at CANNONS HEALTH CLUBNo.02161Mrs S Cunningham, Wigan
4. 3 ‘Paddle Sessions’ at THE BROWNHILLS CANOE & OUTDOOR CENTRENo.08341Lynn Evans, Lichfield
5. Men’s or Ladies Cut & Blow Dry at SILKS of LICHFIELDNo.14031Ms Diane Skilbeck, Bebington, Wirral
6. WAITROSE/JOHN LEWIS VOUCHERNo.01533Brian Mann, Aldridge, West Midlands
7. SET OF 3 TRAVEL BAGSNo.08366David Walton, Alrewas, Staffs
8. LADIES WATCH, BRACELET & PENDANTNo.03191Steve Burns, Lichfield
9. ELEMIS Taster Facial at CANNON’S RETREATNo.12108Bernard & Ann Hughes, Exmouth
10. ASDA VOUCHERNo.07809R White, Hebden Bridge

We wish to thank everyone who bought, and sold tickets to raise so much again this year. The Prize Draw for 2008 will be launched in February and tickets will be offered to members with the Spring 2008 edition of “Cut Both Ways”.


Michael Fabricant, Member of Parliament for Lichfield, is to be the new Patron of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, joining existing Trust Patrons Chris Coburn MBE and Dr David Fletcher CBE.

Michael Fabricant MP has always been a strong supporter of the restoration of the Lichfield Canal and has frequently appeared at events organised by the Trust. His most recent input has been to lead the walk from Huddlesford Junction along much of the line of the canal (see below).

"I am a keen narrow-boater and I so much look forward to seeing narrow-boats on the canal travelling once again alongside the Tamworth Road close to the centre of Lichfield. It will bring in extra tourist dollars - canal holidays in England are now highly popular with Americans - and will help stimulate the local economy", says Michael Fabricant. "I am really very honoured to have been asked to be the Patron of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust. Its objectives will result in improved amenities in Lichfield and throughout the Midlands as it connects up a currently dislocated West Midlands canal system."

Chairman Brian Kingshott said "The Trust is delighted to announce that Michael has accepted our invitation to become a Patron. This gives due and proper recognition to the help and support he has given for over a decade."

Michael is a member of the Lichfield Branch of the Inland Waterways Association.

Another item of good news for the L&H is that Councillor Terry Thomas, the newly elected Sherrif of Lichfield, has named the Trust as one of his chosen charities for the year.


Our 17th Annual General Meeting was held on Friday 27th April 2007 at 7.15pm
Click here for the Chairman's Report
Click here for the Directors' Report
Click here for Accounts for 2006


On Sunday 22nd April, Michael Fabricant MP joined Trust members and other canal enthusiasts to walk part of the route of the Lichfield Canal - some 4 miles between Huddlesford and Fosseway Lane through the very heart of Lichfield.

Refreshments and free car parking were provided by Lichfield Cruising Club. Three minibuses ran a continuous shuttle service to return walkers to their cars.

The walk started off from the Cruising Club at 10am, led by Chairman Brian Kingshott, Michael Fabricant MP, Cllr Colin Greatorex (Mayor of Lichfield) and his wife, Donna.

Michael said: "I am a keen narrowboater and know that experience elsewhere has shown that canals generate millions of tourists dollars which would benefit Lichfield. The heart of our City would be just a short walk from the restored canal. All this is now being put in jeopardy by cuts in the DEFRA grant to British Waterways.

"That is why I have initiated a debate on canals and their funding to be heard in the House of Commons starting 9.30am on Wednesday on the 25th April." (see below)

Photographs taken by Bob Williams, Richard Williams, Bob Mullarkey and Mike Battisson


Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield, secured a Westminster Hall adjournment debate, which took place from 9.30 am to 11.00 am in the Houses of Parliament on 25th April on Funding of British Waterways. This provided the third such opportunity to keep pressure on government for the better funding for canals and river navigations and was exceptionally well attended. IWA hopes that further debates will follow and is pleased with the success of lobbying MPs to seek such opportunities. During the 25th April debate, refuting covert claims made by the Minister that British Waterways were orchestrating the campaign, MPs made it very clear that they were motivated by their own and their constituents' love of the waterways, the voluntary effort that had been put in to secure the future of the inland navigation system, and the feeling of "possession" which this had engendered.

This debate allowed follow- up from 6th December debate (Sir Peter Soulsby MP) and 27th March debate (Charlotte Atkins MP) on similar subjects and in addition to a wide range of new and specific questions relating to local waterways, allowed participants in previous debates to highlight the Minister's failure to answer questions which MPs had raised, and referred to the "fog" which the Minister created in producing figures, rather than telling MPs what he would do to sort out the problems which he had caused.

There was also considerable reference to the Minister's evidence to the Select Sub Committee on 23rd April and demands for him to provide evidence of the serious allegations he had made against British Waterways, including from a member of the Select Sub Committee itself as well as from other parliamentarians who had been present.

The full transcript of the Adjourment Debate is available here.

It is with deepest regret that we record the death on 28th February 2007 of our Patron and great benefactor Sir John Smith, CH, CBE.

Sir John changed the fate of historic buildings in Britain by means of the Landmark Trust which he founded in 1965, and through the Manifold Trust he made an equally significant contribution to the funding of other preservation projects such as canals, ships, museums, and countless other causes.

He made several grants to the Lichfield & Hatherton Restoration; in 2003 he was instrumental in helping us raise the funds needed to build the aqueduct over the M6 Toll motorway, and in 2006 granted us the funds enabling us to purchase Top Lock Cottage at Ogley Junction.

Our condolences have been sent to Lady Smith.


Restoration of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals requires substantial capital expenditure on land purchase and rebuilding structures.

The Capital Fund has been established to raise funds specifically for this purpose.

The “500 Club” could contribute up to £3,000 a year - or even more - whilst, for just £12 a year
Club Members get four chances of winning prizes of up to £400 - or maybe more each time!

Click here for more details

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