Canal News, Waterways Recovery Group

Canal News

Waterways Recovery Group

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WRGie Newsletter – December 2014

Dear All,

Wow what a year for the Waterway Recovery Group! WRG volunteers have spent over 40,000 hours in 2014 restoring canals, planning Canal Camps, going on weekend digs, attending festivals, teaching junior Navvies how to bricklay & drive diggers, printing WRG’s magazine …and discussing crazy fundraising ideas over a beer or two!

We’ve worked on 21 restoration sites this year from Driffield Navigation in the North East to Somersetshire Coal Canal in the South West.

Hear what some of our volunteers got up to this summer… mud seems to feature quite a lot in 2014!

“A keen interest in water and boats led me to WRG Canal Camps all offering many different challenges. This summer I spent a week in thigh deep-mud at Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals, as well two weeks on the Lancaster Canal driving dumpers and using a brushcutter. Last year it was tree extraction on the Cromford Canal, and bank restoration and fence mending on the Basingstoke Canal, – and of course the bonfires, there are always jobs for us at every level of interest.  I use my existing skills, learn new ones, and enjoy working with people with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. It is a real change from my usual week! – Susan, aged 71, from Scotland
“I volunteered for a week at Bowbridge Lock on the Cotswold Canals in August, to complete the residential part of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. There was a mix of people volunteering; several like myself were DofErs, with a few ‘old hands’, some of whom had been working on the canals since before I was born! Unlikely though it may seem, one of my favourite parts of the week was the frequent involvement with copious quantities of mud and the things lurking in it! Besides that, there was a surprising but wonderful sense of camaraderie and friendship, which transformed what was essentially a week of moderate labour into a thoroughly enjoyable (although still fairly gruelling!) experience. I will definitely be returning for another camp when next I can and would recommend that anyone else considering it should go for it wholeheartedly.” – Will, aged 19, from Devon

“Canal Camp life was the most interesting part of my experience because everybody was friendly and nice to me! From the beginning I didn’t feel different because I didn’t understand everything, to the contrary, everybody always asked me if I understood what the leader said and they were always ready to help me. I loved the camp because I had the opportunity to get to know more about the UK people, their habits, hear different accents and discover the wonderful British countryside!”– Angela, aged 48, from Italy
“I started my time with WRG a number of years ago when I was looking for a relaxing break from work; little did I know that from that first camp in the Cotswolds I would end up running my own Canal Camps!  For the last couple of years I have been heavily involved with the Chesterfield Canal, at Staveley Town Basin, where we have been building a brand new lock from scratch. As a Canal Camp leader the role can be a challenging one, it’s not always easy looking after 17 complete strangers, often with a variety of languages, then throw in unfamiliar words, and the scene is set for an interesting, but very rewarding week. If you’re looking for a new challenge, want to learn new skills or just want to increase your circle of friends, I would thoroughly recommend a WRG Camp!– Steve, aged 42, from West Midlands

We are busy planning the 2015 Canal Camps – if you’d like to receive a brochure please email enquiries@wrg.org.uk with your name and address.  Our first Canal Camps of 2015 is on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (14th-21st February) with Bob Crow & Bob Coles leading the camp … then at Easter we head to Bowbridge Lock (28th March-4th April/ 4th-11th April) on the Cotswold Canals. Find out more here.

Happy Christmas from the WRG Head Office Team.

See you in 2015!

Jen & Amber

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