Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Three cheers for brave Jubilee crew member

Three cheers for crew member, John Brodie. My first solo trip as Boatmaster was disrupted just as we were about to leave the Wharf.

Three Newbury yobs were brutally attacking an elderly angler just in front of us. John charged in without a moment’s hesitation. Chased off two of them, and grappled with the third to perform a citizen’s arrest. No mean feat whilst wearing a lifejacket!

He held him until the police arrived which was thankfully prompt as we had a boat full of passengers and I needed my crew member back! John subsequently received a letter of commendation from the police area commander.

The local anglers were so pleased that John’s been made a senior bailiff.

The victim was badly cut and bruised but is OK. The perpetrator is due for sentencing next month.

Rob Dean
Chairman & Treasurer
Newbury Branch
Kennet & Avon Canal Trust

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Wharf Café Back in Devizes Thanks to Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Volunteers

Hundreds of Volunteering Hours Go Into Creating New Community Space

14 August, Devizes: A new café has been installed at one of Devizes’ most well-known tourist spots thanks to the efforts of volunteers of The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT), which preserves, enhances and protects the canal in the face of changing economic, social and political landscapes. The café was officially opened by Kelvin Nash, Mayor of Devizes, on Friday (10th August), followed by a celebratory reception for KACT supporters and volunteers, prepared from café’s refurbished kitchen.

The 28-seater Canal Trust Café, on the first floor of the KACT’s Devizes Wharf building, was updated by dedicated volunteers to provide a new, bright and airy meeting place for local residents and tourists.
The three-month project, which also saw the creation of easier access for disabled people and improved toilet facilities, is part of a larger initiative to attract more visitors to the building, which also houses the KACT Museum, and which describes the Kennet and Avon’s history from medieval times through to the securing of cruiseway status in 2010.

The café is being run by husband and wife team Tarkan and Victoria Kisioglu, who already oversee a successful fundraising KACT café at Bradford on Avon. This partnership between the Trust and professional catering partners generates income for the KACT and provides new work for local people.

Dr Mike Rodd, Chairman at the KACT says, “The renovation of the Canal Trust Café has been an unpaid labour of love by a number of our volunteers, ensuring that this historic building continues to contribute to the local economy and to the enjoyment of Devizes residents, leisure groups, tourists, and of course providing a much-needed stop-off point for boat owners and holidaymakers travelling along the canal. Our volunteers give thousands of unpaid hours every year to ensure the entire stretch of the Kennet and Avon canal‘s historic buildings and artefacts can be enjoyed by, and preserved for, future generations. Our volunteers have done an absolutely tremendous job in revitalising this landmark space for all those communities that have a relationship with the Kennet and Avon.”

The café will be available for functions seating up to 40 people and there are hopes to apply for an alcohol license to increase the types of events that can be held at the site. There are also plans to move the KACT’s shop upstairs as part of a wider plan to refurbish the Wharf building.

Mr Kisioglu says, “We are looking forward to working in partnership with the fantastic KACT volunteers to breathe new life back into this part of town.”
Kelvin Nash, Mayor of Devizes concludes, “I am thrilled to see the return of a café to one of the most distinctive parts of the town, but also the creation of a much-needed new community space for residents to meet up and browse for goods that have a direct fund-raising effect on one of the region’s most long-standing and effective organisations.”

He adds, “It’s going to be a lovely place to have a cup of tea and a piece of cake with friends, overlooking the canal.”

The café was closed several years ago. Its re-opening is part of a larger redevelopment of the KACT’s historic Wharf building and its preservation for future generations during the organisation’s 50th anniversary year. To make a donation, go to www.kennetandavontrust.co.uk and follow the instructions on the front page, call 01380 721279 or email administrator@katrust.org.uk

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Over 150 disabled people to stay on a unique canal boat adjacent to Olympic Stadium while visiting the Paralympic Games

The Great Bedwyn-based Bruce Trust which provides holidays for disabled people on the Kennet & Avon Canal is sending one of its boats on an 82-mile canal and river journey to provide accommodation at the Paralympics for disabled visitors from throughout the UK.

The Bruce Trust is dispatching The Diana, one of its four specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam canal boats, at 11.30 am on Saturday 18th August from Great Bedwyn Wharf. Among the many dignitaries who will be helping to send off The Diana on her epic, once-in-a-lifetime voyage, will be Christine Crisp, Chair of Wiltshire Council and Edwina Fogg, Mayor of Marlborough and Patron of East Wiltshire Mencap.

During the voyage, various Rotary Clubs along the Kennet & Avon Canal will be crewing the boat and providing day trips to local groups of people with special needs.

The Diana, named in memory of the late Princess of Wales, is scheduled to arrive on her mooring, as near to the Olympic Stadium as security will allow, in time for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics on Wednesday 29th August. Bruce Trust volunteers will man her throughout the Games and a wide range of charities for disabled people have been invited to apply for low cost accommodation and entry tickets to the Paralympics. Charges are just £25 per night per person and The Diana can accommodate up to 10 people including carers per night.

Stated Trust founder, David Bruce: “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only attend the Paralympics but also to stay on one of our special boats in a unique location. The Diana is fully equipped and accessible for disabled visitors and we are only a few minutes wheelchair ride away from the main Olympic Stadium.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity, thanks entirely to the crewing of The Diana by Rotary Club members, to provide day trips to local groups of people with special needs, thereby enabling them to experience cruising along the Kennet & Avon Canal. Sadly, after Reading we are unable to offer day trips to disabled people as there is very little suitable access along the River Thames until we reach our Stratford mooring,” continued David Bruce.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Heritage Open Days: Somersetshire Coal Canal Society

The Somersetshire Coal Canal Society was founded in 1992 with the aim of focussing interest on the past, present and future of the old Somersetshire Coal Canal. The Society is aimed at those people who are interested in finding out more about the history of the canal, preserving what is still there and walking the parts that are still accessible to the public (most is private land).

The Society will be holding an Open Day at the site of the Combe Hay Locks and Pumping Engine providing talks, tours and an exhibition.

Venue: Railway arch opposite Bridge Farm, Combe Hay, BA2 7EE

Date: 8th/9th September

Time: 10:30am – 4pm

Event is free

Further details: drtyates@hotmail.co.uk

Website: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/255247428606/

Trust Council minutes June 2012

Click here to read the Trust Council minutes June 2012