Hat-trick for Wilts and Berks Canal volunteers

Wiltshire Times: Branch chairman Derek Flexer holds aloft the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust’s Tony Davy Award Branch chairman Derek Flexer holds aloft the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust’s Tony Davy Award

A set of hardworking canal volunteers have been rewarded with a prize for commitment for the third year in a row.

The Melksham, Chippenham and Calne branch of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust has picked up the Tony Davy Award.

The trophy, named after the charity’s first chairman, is presented to the branch with the highest number of hours donated by volunteers.

The branch’s supporters worked on almost 130 days in 2012 to 2013, giving 9,000 hours of labour.

Branch chairman Derek Flexer was handed the award at the charity’s annual general meeting.

He said: “Aside from the achievements on the ground, the donated time also helps in our bids to secure further financial support. Last year’s hours had an estimated value of almost £72,000 when used as matched-funding when applying to other bodies.

“The award is a real tribute to the dedication and commitment of everyone involved.

“People are constantly amazed by the pace of progress, especially when so much of it has been achieved by volunteers who are so generous with their time and talents.”

The focus is now on a stretch of canal in open countryside between Pewsham and Lacock.

Stretches have been dredged and filled with water, and the towpath has been raised and widened. The wharf has been restored at Pewsham Locks and a planning application has been submitted to rebuild the locks and create a visitor centre.

To volunteer, visit www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk

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