Lichfield’s canal restoration trust has celebrated the 30th anniversary of its foundation. Over 100 people attended Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s anniversary barbecue at Gallows Wharf, including local residents, volunteers, Trust members, representatives from county, district and city councils and organisations who have helped the Trust over the years.
Among those present were the three remaining founder members of the Trust, Eric Wood, Denis Cooper and Phil Sharpe, who, in 1988, shared a vision of restoring two sections of the canal network that had been abandoned in the 1950s. The closure of the canals cut the link between the underused northern sections of the Birmingham Canal Navigations and the Coventry Canal to the east and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal to the west. The Trust’s founder members saw that restoring those links would revive an important part of South Staffordshire’s heritage, regenerate neglected urban and rural areas and provide a wildlife corridor with benefits for the community through leisure activities like boating, walking and cycling.
Trust chairperson Christine Bull, who asked Eric Wood, the current president, to cut a specially created cake, said the occasion was primarily to thank LHCRT’s 150 volunteers, including the many younger people who have helped in recent years.
The event also coincided with the Lichfield 10k Run, from which many of the Trust’s volunteers had hot-footed after providing a water station for participants in the run. Among the runners were a team of Trust supporters who raised £900 in sponsorship which will go towards the £1million Tunnel Vision Appeal, set up to provide a canal tunnel under the Cross-City railway line. It is hoped to install the tunnel at the same time as a railway bridge is built to accommodate a proposed Lichfield Southern Bypass extension beyond Birmingham Road.
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