Registered Charity No. 702429

DAVID AND SHEILA SUCHET
VISIT THE AQUEDUCT SITE

On Thursday, 28th November 2002, our Vice-President David Suchet and his wife Sheila paid another visit to the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals, to promote the David Suchet Appeal and to let the world know that in order to complete the Lichfield Aqueduct before the M6 Toll motorway opens in autumn 2003 we need to raise just the last 100,000.

The day started at 10am with a visit to Locks 25 and 26, where David and Sheila were very impressed by the progress that has been made there since their last visit. Television cameras, press photographers and journalists were all there to record the event and talk to David. We were also joined by the Mayor of Lichfield Councillor Doris English, who delighted the photographers by donning a hard hat and joining David on one of the Trust's dumpers.

David and Sheila Suchet on the footbridge of Lock 26
(photos by Sue Williams)

David Suchet has a go at driving a dumper
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

David is joined on the dumper by the Mayor of Lichfield
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

From there it was back to John and Jan Horton's house for coffee and an interview with Julie Curry of Staffordshire Life, before setting off again to visit the aqueduct site. Pam Melrose and the CAMBBA team welcomed us and made sure we were all properly equipped with hard hats, boots and high visibility jackets before escorting us to view the site where the aqueduct foundations, abutments and centre column are now being built. David bravely scaled the scaffolding and spoke to the assembled media and press from a platform on top. He said the view was wonderful and he wished we could all be up there to see it for ourselves.


Looking at the aqueduct plans with Phil Sharpe & Brian Kingshott
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

David's intrepid climb up the scaffolding of
one of the two centre columns.
(photo by Sue Williams)

David on top of the centre column with John Horton
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

David & Sheila holding up the "magic" number 100,000
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

Photographers and camera crews were everywhere ...............
(photos by Chris Haslewood)

...... David Suchet was being interviewed by Cath Mackie from the BBC while Bob Williams talked to Steve Keeling of Carlton TV, then it was Chairman Brian Kingshott's turn to be interviewed by the BBC team.

While we were there we were also given permission to visit Lock 8 at the top of the embankment. David was moved by the forlorn and neglected state it is in. Sadly it will never be used again, as it is soon to be buried beneath the new embankment alongside the motorway. Before leaving, CAMBBA gave into our keeping a BCN boundary post which had been dug up during their removal of the Cranebrook culvert. It will be cleaned up and preserved. Perhaps one day we can display it in the Lichfield Canal "visitor centre".


At the top of the embankment
with Pam Melrose of CAMBBA
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

The sorry sight of Lock 8,
soon to be lost beneath the new embankment
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

A recovered BCN boudary post
(photo by Sue Williams)

By now it was lunch time, and we adjourned to The Boat, where Ann and Peter Holden were delighted to welcome us, and served delicious lunches from their extensive menu.


David with Ann & Peter Holden at The Boat
(photo by Bob Williams)

The afternoon saw David and Sheila (and those of the press who were still keeping up with us), re-visiting the culvert at Hatherton ....... but thereby hangs another tale. Watch this space for more news on this very soon.

By a happy stroke of luck David Suchet's visit coincided with the official ceremony to turn on the Christmas lights in the city of Lichfield. This year the City Council had decided to run a competition to give two lucky children the opportunity to light up the city. The winners were 10 year old Chelcie-Genelle Collins and 5 year old Harry Lehman, both from Lichfield, who correctly said that "The Ladies of the Vale" were the spires of Lichfield Cathedral. The two children and the City Council were thrilled to be able to share the occasion with David Suchet, who said he had been charmed by the beauty of the city and looked forward to the day when Lichfield would have an equally beautiful canal.


David & Sheila with the Mayor of Lichfield, Councillor
Doris English, in the Mayor's Parlour at The Guildhall
(photo by Bob Williams)

The Christmas Lights "Platform Party" join in singing
Christmas carols in Market Square
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

Lights on
(photo by Chris Haslewood)

The Trust would like to thank:-


David and Sheila Suchet
Cath Mackie and her team from BBC Television
Steve Keeling and his team from Carlton Television
Pam Melrose and CAMBBA for organising the site visit
Nick Britten and his photographer from The Daily Telegraph
Julie Curry from Staffordshire Life
The Birmingham Post
The Birmingham Evening Mail
The Express and Star
Alan Williamson from The Lichfield Mercury
The Mayor of Lichfield, Councillor Doris English
The Sheriff of Lichfield, Councillor Barry Diggle

We are grateful to Chairman Brian Kingshott for conducting the visitors around the various sites, to John and Jan Horton for the hospitality of their home during the morning sessions, to May Brown for helping with refreshments, to Terry Fullwood and Chris Haslewood for photography, to Ann and Peter Holden at The Boat for the excellent lunches and to Jan Horton, Laurence Hogg and Bob Williams for organising the press and media coverage.

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