The Council

The Council is made up of up to 50 members and includes a mix of elected and independently nominated individuals together with the six Regional Advisory Board Chairs, who are ex officio members.

Council Meeting in Birmingham, September 2018 Council Meeting in Birmingham, September 2018

Council members are the legal company Members of the Canal & River Trust. They have responsibilities granted them by the Articles and by the Board of Trustees from time to time. Council members reflect the wide appeal of the waterways - from boating and angling through to walking and conservation.

The Council is responsible for the appointment of trustees. It debates important points of principle to provide guidance and perspective from different stakeholders, suggesting issues of concern for the Trustees to pursue, and acts as a sounding board for the Trustees in relation to the development of proposals and policies.

See our:

Council members

Council members will serve for a period of four years. To contact nominated representatives or for general council enquiries, please email and your enquiry will be passed on.

Elected representatives:

Boating business 

Andrew Tidy

Andy has been an inland waterways enthusiast for 50 years and a boat owner for 10. He and his wife operate a pair of boats called Wand'ring Bark and The Jam Butty, making and selling preserves. Their boating and home base is on the Birmingham Canal Navigations.

Andy's commercial background is in business banking, currently in risk management across a range of European operations.

Andy represents boating businesses on the Council and seeks to bring a commercial perspective to ensure that the boat and land-based boating activities are offered an environment in which they can thrive.

Nigel Hamilton 2

Nigel has a degree in Economic & Social Studies from Manchester University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Hotel Management.

He has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for over three decades, with 20 years in Marine Tourism, including ten years owning and operating the hotelboat pair Hind & Hind. 

He is active in Trade Associations - currently as chairman of British Marine Tourism - and was previously chairman of the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators and the British Hire Cruiser Federation. Nigel has been a trustee of the Saltisford Canal Trust for 10 years.

Private boating

Andrew Phasey

Andrew Phasey

Following retirement from military service in 2005, Andrew was a boat safety scheme examiner for nine years. He is currently a royal yachting association instructor and a trainer and assessor for the IWA Certificate of Boat Management. 

Andrew and his wife Frances have been narrow boat owners and enthusiastic cruisers for 18 years, and have organised many convoy cruises on London's waterways. 

Andrew's representative service has included the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs (Technical Officer), the RYA Inland Navigation Panel, the Boat Safety Scheme Technical Committee, and chair of the Management Committee of St Pancras Cruising Club. Andrew is a member of the Trust's Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee.

Phil Prettyman

Phil took his first canal trip in 1972 on a Willow Wren camping boat which he then bought. After much adventure boating (shallow pounds, low bridges, engine failures, rust and repair) they are still both around the system.  

After retiring as headteacher of a large secondary school, Phil became chairman of the Historic Narrow Boat Club in 2006. He has played an active role with BW and now the Trust for which he campaigned during its establishment. 

Until he moved to Cambridgeshire in 2014 he was a member of the Central Shires Partnership. Phil is a member of the Trust's Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee.

Stella Ridgway

Stella is a continuous cruiser mostly on the northern canals. She is the great granddaughter of a fly boatman out of Middlewich and believes that this way of life that has been in her family for over 150 years can be preserved with due consideration to and by other canal users. 

She has previously worked in the public and hospitality sectors and currently works in the finance sector.  

Vaughan Welch

Vaughan is a recently retired trustee of the Inland Waterways Association, and for three years was its deputy national chairman, with a waterway restoration portfolio of more than 14 years including attendance at the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group to represent restoration interests. 

Vaughan is a trustee of the Avon Navigation Trust and former chairman of the Droitwich Canals Trust; he was their representative on the partnership that saw the reopening of both canals in 2011. He is also a former director of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust and the Lapal Canal Trust. For several years, Vaughan was the Southern Regional Judge for the British Waterways’ Lock and Bridge Competition.


Ian McCarthy

Ian McCarthy

Ian is a retired professional electrical engineer. He worked initially designing mainframe computers for ICL, he then founded several high-tech start-ups.

Ian has been an active canal volunteer since his early teens, firstly with the Peak Forest Canal Society, where he became an elected council member. He was actively engaged in forming the Waterway Recovery Group North West, being one of the original "Dirty Weekenders" and has been a "Paper Chaser", collecting waste paper to fund WRG NW, for more than 30 years. 

He applied to become a British Waterways volunteer lock keeper in 2011 helping to look after boaters on the Rochdale Canal, particularly the Manchester 18. He is also part-owner of historic wooden narrow boat, Spey, which he has helped to operate and maintain for over 40 years. Ian is a member of the Trust's Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee.


John Ellis

John Ellis

John is a fisheries graduate with over 30 years experience in the field of fisheries and environmental management. 

Following spells in academia and the water industry, he joined British Waterways in 1988 as fisheries manager south, advancing to the role of fisheries & environmental manager South in 1993. 

In 2009, John took over the role of National Fisheries & Angling Manager. His other interests include horticulture, science education and the history and heritage of Ethiopia.

Co-opted members

Louis Howell, co-opted member Youth 

Louis Howell is a dynamic and rounded professional with experience that pans the voluntary youth sector, education sector and the world of small business. Today, he runs a marketing transformation company, co-runs an educational social enterprise and is a trustee and volunteer at two small London-based charities.

His work with the Canal & River Trust began when he worked on the Action Squad's Programme, headed up by NCVYS, which engaged and supported young people in social action across the canal network. This partnership, combined with the fantastic relationship maintained with the team since then, has seen Louis come back regularly to train the Trust’s staff and volunteers on the most effective ways of engaging and working with young people. Louis is the Chair of the Trust's Youth Engagement Advisory Group.

Nominated representatives:

Richard Atkinson, nominated by British Canoeing 

Richard Atkinson

Richard is the National Policy Officer for British Canoeing (BC), having previously worked for the Environment Agency as recreation officer and regional principal officer for Recreation and Fisheries. He is qualified in ecology and management of the natural environment as well as fisheries management. Richard has experience in welcoming volunteers into British Canoeing. He is also working with Canal & River Trust/British Canoeing National Group to bring together a National Canoeing Development Plan. Richard is also a member of the North East Waterways Partnership.

Jim Lamb, nominated by Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management (CIWEM)

Jim Lamb

Jim is a trustee of the Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management and chairs their Nominations and Ethics Committees.

He has worked as a chartered civil engineer in the water industry all of his career, initially constructing flood defences and river improvement schemes but as industry reorganisation and privatisation took place he worked at a senior level on business planning and performance and management practices. 

Following privatisation Jim was appointed head of environment for the Severn Trent Group with responsibility for environmental policy and reporting for all of the companies in the Group. More recently, Jim has been an independent, international water and environmental consultant.

Charles Trotman, nominated by Country Land & Business Association

Charles Trotman

Before joining the CLA, Charles was a consultant in Brussels, worked at London Guildhall University, and was a political adviser at the National Farmers' Union. 

He has overall responsibility for all economic issues at the CLA. His other responsibilities include canals and rivers (economics), telecommunications, rural tourism, equine policy and rural development. 

Sophie Gordon, nominated by Cycling UK

Sophie Gordon

Sophie is a Campaigns Officer at national charity Cycling UK (formerly known as the Cyclists' Touring Club). Her role focuses on increasing access for off-road cycling by building relationships with land managers and developing promoted recreational routes. She is a firm believer that having safe, traffic-free places to cycle, such as those managed by the Canal & River Trust, is key to enable people to gain confidence and explore new places, while improving their health and wellbeing.

Having studied Geography at university, Sophie also has a keen interest in the environmental health of rivers and waterways, and often volunteers with local conservation organisations. 

Neil Edwards, nominated by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA)

Neil Edwards

Neil is chief executive of the Inland Waterways Association, director and company secretary of Essex Waterways Ltd, and was a former member of the Inland Waterways Advisory Council. 

He is a former member of council and trustee of the National Trust for 15 years. Neil was also volunteer leader for the National Trust for Scotland and also the National Trust in England, Wales & Northern Ireland (receiving a 30 years volunteer service award). 

Neil is a former director and Canal Camps organiser for the Waterway Recovery Group. Neil has boated on the majority of the navigable inland waterways in Great Britain and Ireland on a variety of hire boats, trip boats, a shared ownership boat and with boat-owning friends. He likes hill walking and long distance paths (over 1500 miles per annum).

John Yates, nominated by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation

John Yates

John is an historic environment specialist and an historic narrow boat owner. An Historic England (formerly English Heritage) Historic Buildings and Areas Inspector until retirement in June 2016, he is a past chair of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, and a lecturer and media contributor on the topic. 

John and his wife Sue have a long involvement with historic narrow boats, owning and restoring them, formerly living on them and running a canal carrying business, and now owning NB Buckden. He is a past chair of what is now the Historic Narrow Boat Club, and the Boat Museum Trust. 

As well as being a member of Canal & River Trust's Council, John is a member of the North Wales & Borders Waterway Partnership and the Heritage Advisory Group.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, nominated by the Local Government Association

Roger is the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Wolverhampton Labour Group. Roger was first elected in 1983. As Leader, Roger is also the Chair of the Cabinet.

Prior to being elected to St Peter’s Ward Roger worked for Sandwell MBC and as a researcher for a number of Universities.

Roger cites local democracy, urban regeneration, regional development, organisational and structural change and social inclusion as his main political interests. He has published on European Structural Funds, the Voluntary Sector, and Citizenship.

Roger is the transport lead for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Roger is supported by the Co-operative Party and supports co-operative principles. 

Peter Brown, nominated by the Railway & Canal Historical Society

Peter Brown

Peter was treasurer of Great Yarmouth Borough Council before taking early retirement in 2000. Since then he has concentrated on researching and writing canal history. He is honorary secretary of the Railway & Canal Historical Society and a board member of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site.

Peter is a member of the Trust's Heritage Advisory Group.

David Gibson, nominated by the Ramblers Association

David Gibson

David has been involved with canals as a boater and campaigner since the 60s and was a founder member of the Waterway Recovery Group.

He has held branch and council positions with IWA. He now holds Area and Group positions in Ramblers and is actively involved with the restoration of the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal. 

David strongly believes in the use of volunteers by Canal & River Trust and wants to see towpaths well maintained, useable by all, but with a surface and furniture that is in keeping with the local surroundings. He also wants to see towpath stoppages fully signed with alternative routes for towpath users. He was first appointed to represent Ramblers on Council in 2012.

Alison Ward, nominated by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE)

Alison Ward

Alison Ward is chief executive of Torfaen County Borough Council, the Welsh Unitary Authority for the Eastern Valley of South Wales. She went to Exeter University to read Law. After qualifying as a solicitor, she spent two years practising criminal law in Sheffield.

Alison joined Torfaen CBC in 2002 as assistant chief executive and was appointed as chief executive in November 2004. In the 2011 New Year Honours Alison was awarded the CBE for services to local government.

Joe Porter, Step up to Serve

Joe Porter

Joe is a District & Parish Councillor for Brown Edge & Endon in the Staffordshire Moorlands. He is the Cabinet Member for Climate Change at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. He sits as a Member of the Staffordshire Moorlands Safer Neighbourhood Panel and is a Trustee of the Rudyard Lake Trust.

He is a member of the LGBT+ Conservative General Council and has championed the youth sector for over five years with UK Youth, the British Youth Council and the #iwill Campaign. He represented the UK at the Commonwealth Youth Forum.

Joe has a degree in Marketing & Politics from Keele University. Outside of politics, Joe loves baking, gardening, running and pottery painting.

David Kent, nominated by The Angling Trust

David Kent

David Kent champions the value of angling as a sport and recreation, its value across the social spectrum, and participation for young people, the contribution it can make to the stewardship and promoting of waterways for all, and in generating income for the local economy and the Trust. 

David has been an angler for 55 years of which 40 have been spent as an administrator at club, regional and national level. He spent 32 years in the water industry with the Trent River Authority, Severn Trent Water Authority and finally with Severn Trent Water Ltd as a Manager, Financial/Business Systems.  

In 1998, David took early retirement from STW and became manager of the East Midlands Business & Environment Club until full retirement in 2006. He is a Director of The Angling Trust and a life member. He also chairs the Trust's National Angling Advisory Group and The Angling Trust's Freshwater and Competitions Committees as well as the A T Trent Regional Forum. David is also a board member of the Erewash Sports Community Network.

Regional Advisory Board Chairs

The Canal & River Trust has appointed four Chairs to the charity’s new Regional Advisory Boards. They will use their local knowledge and contacts to connect the Trust’s waterways, and all their wellbeing benefits, into the lives of the communities that surround them.  

The appointments include people who have had significant experience in the private and public sector and who are keen to support the Trust in making an impact in their regions with all the benefits which the canals and rivers can bring. The Chairs bring with them a wealth of experience across many different industry sectors and a passion for the waterways.

Anil Majithia, Chair East Midlands

With over 30 years of global business experience, Anil is a Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership board member and Chair of Voluntary Action Leicestershire. He is a Lay Council Member/Governor for the University of Leicester, Governor of North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College, Associate non-Executive Director of the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and a member of the Governance Committee for The Science Council.

Knighted in 2008 for services to education and community relations, Sir William is a Trustee of a number of charities including The Royal Shakespeare Company. He has advised government at both national and local levels and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London in 2017. 

 Professor Nigel Weatherill DLChair North West

After graduating in mathematics, Nigel’s first job was as mathematician in the Research Team of Anglian Water Authority. He has held senior positions in the UK at Swansea (1986-2008), Birmingham (2008-2011) and Liverpool John Moores (Vice-Chancellor 2011-2018). He has held positions around the world, including Adjunct Professor at the US National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centre, Mississippi State University and Scientist-in-Residence, Singapore. He has had national responsibilities, including Executive Director of the National Higher Education STEM Programme for England and Wales. He Chaired the Commission on Environmental Sustainability for the Mayor of Liverpool. 

Until recently, Nigel was the Honorary Colonel of the Liverpool University Officer Training Corps, a Board Member of the CBI North West Regional Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership for the Liverpool City Region. He is a member of the Arts Council (North). He was appointed Chair of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 2015 and Chair of the Royal Court Liverpool in 2018. Nigel is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. He is a Chartered Mathematician, Chartered Engineer and Chartered Scientist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of the Arts, an Honorary Fellow of Swansea University and an Honorary Member of the Liverpool Medical Institution. In April 2016 Nigel was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside. In March 2018 he was elected an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple, in July 2018 was made an Honorary Friend of Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and in October 2018 was recognized as an Honorary Fellow of the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

David Hagg

As Chief Executive of Stroud District Council, David's authority is leading the award-winning restoration of the Cotswold Canal. He has been a member of a wide range of regional and national bodies and was formerly Chair of the Trust's South Wales & Severn Waterway Partnership.

John was an apprentice with BSA Motorcycles in Birmingham, obtaining a Masters degree in production engineering and moved to Morphy Richards Ltd in Doncaster becoming its MD.

After qualifying as a chartered engineer he joined the Delta group and eventually became MD of their Fluid Controls division in West Bromwich. He moved to Telford to become CEO of Wagon Group plc for 10 years and since then has been CEO/Chair of private equity-backed businesses and served for 10 years each on the boards of two listed PLCs as a non-executive director.

He served as president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, chair of the West Midlands Industrial Development Board and was chair of Birmingham Airport for 20 years. He was awarded an OBE in 2003 and is a deputy lieutenant for the West Midlands, was High Sheriff of the West Midlands 2017/8 and holds an honorary doctorate.

Chair Yorkshire & North East - currently vacant

The work of the Council and Partnerships is supported by Tom Deards, Head of Legal & Governance Services, Gemma Towns, Corporate Governance Manager, and Brenda Adams, Governance Services Administrator 

Tom Deards Brenda Adams
Brenda Adams

Last date edited: 7 January 2020