Volunteers honoured at Wey & Arun Canal Trust AGM.
Time and effort put in by two volunteers working on the restoration of the Wey & Arun Canal over the last year was singled out for praise at the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's (WACT) AGM at Pulborough last Saturday.
Without the volunteer workforce, restoration of the Wey & Arun Canal would not be moving forward at its current rate but the Trustees believe that two individuals have shown great commitment in recent years. In front of a large audience of WACT members head of the maintenance depot John Smith was presented with the Jack King Cup, while the John East Cup was presented to membership secretary David King.
After being a member of the Trust for a number of years, ex-Corps of Royal and Mechanical Engineers fitter John volunteered to help with the maintenance of equipment at the Tickner Heath depot in January 2009. "When I retired at the end of 2008 I was looking for something to do and saw that the Trust was looking for help with maintenance and put myself forward to help," says John.
Nonetheless, John's role soon extended well beyond helping out and he has built the maintenance team from two - including himself - to a five-strong group that supply serviceable equipment to the Trust's numerous working parties and also assist with equipment for special events.
Long-term Trust member, canal enthusiast and Charlton Athletic Football Club fan David took on the role of membership secretary in 2004. David, with strong support from wife Maggie, carry out essential membership services for the Trust, as well as organising distribution of the organisation's quarterly magazine.
When David first joined the Trust he was involved with the Sunday working party and undertook work on Brewhurst Lock in Loxwood. After retiring from the IT sector in 2002, he volunteered to promote the restoration work through giving talks to various groups such as the Women's Institute, Rotary Clubs and historical societies before taking on the role of membership secretary. David and Maggie also help crew boat trips and with the running of the new Canal Centre in Loxwood.
For further information about the Wey & Arun Canal, please see our website www.weyandarun.co.uk
Wey & Arun Canal Trust Trophies
The Jack King Cup (also known as the "Eager Beaver" Award) was first presented at the 1982 Annual Meeting. It was given by Mrs Lulu King in memory of her husband who had died in January 1980. Jack King was a farmer from Paplands Farm, near Wisborough Green, and was the first landowner to give permission for canal restoration on his land. The cup is awarded to an individual (other than a member of the Trust's Council of Management) who has made a significant personal endeavour during the previous year. The winner is normally chosen by the Restoration Manager.
The John East Trophy commemorates the Trust's first Chairman. John East was one of the two men, unknown to each other at the time, who both had the idea, in the late 1960s, of setting up a society to restore the Wey & Arun Canal. He was a West Sussex County Councillor and so it was natural for him to take the chair at the first meeting of the Wey & Arun Canal Society in August 1970 (it became the Wey & Arun Canal Trust and a registered charity in 1973). John East died in 1994 at the age of 82 and his widow Irene East gave the cup. The cup can be awarded to any member of the Trust and the winner is selected by the Chairman. The first winner was Alan Dyer, still a member of the Trust, and Mrs East made the presentation on board the Trust's recently acquired trip boat "Zachariah Keppel".
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust
The 23-mile Wey & Arun Canal was built between 1813 and 1816 to link the Rivers Wey and Arun, thus forming an inland barge route between London and the south coast in order to provide a safe inland route for military supplies to the fleet in Portsmouth. However, after the Napoleonic Wars, it became a largely agricultural canal, carrying goods including coal, chalk, lime and farm produce. The coming of the railways finally sealed the canal's fate, the waterway being abandoned in 1871.
Since 1971, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a registered charity, has been working to re-open navigation along the waterway and, once fully restored, to again link Littlehampton on the south coast with the River Thames via the River Wey.
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