A RETIRED civil engineer was awarded an MBE for his voluntary service to waterways management and restoration on Friday.

John Laverick, 70, who has lived in Keevil for the last 19 years, was presented with the medal by HRH The Prince of Wales for more than 20 years' service to the waterways.

Although Mr Laverick is officially retired, he served as the chairman of the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust for seven years and has been the vice president of the organisation for the last three and a half years.

Mr Laverick said: "It was a fantastic day and I found the ante room very interesting as I got to talk to other people and shared their stories of how they found themselves there.

"It was great having Prince Charles present the medals too because he has always had an appreciation for the waterways. He is a patron for The Waterways Trust so it made it quite special.

"When we were talking, he mentioned the Wilts and Berks Trust and that his wife was involved and he asked me if I was going to retire, to which I said no!"

The end of the Cold War allowed Mr Laverick to take early severance from the Defence Works Navy in 1994 to develop his love of inland waterway restoration.

He first worked on the restoration of Barton Broad in Norfolk and then moved to Wiltshire with his wife in 1997 where he assisted with the the Heritage Lottery-funded restoration of the Kennet and Avon Canal and then the restoration of the Cotswold Canals.

As vice-president of the Wilts & Berks Trust, Mr Laverick raises awareness of the project and recruits new members to the trust.

He added: "The presentation is all over in a second and difficult to remember exactly what had happened but I am very proud of what I have achieved."

Mr Laverick and the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust will now focus on the long awaited Melksham Link Project which will link the town to the national waterways network.