We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

West Midlands Partnership

Find out who's who in the West Midlands Partnership.

Find out more about the Trust's team and the people volunteering their time to the West Midlands Waterways Partnership.

Peter Mathews CMG, chair

Chair of the Black Country Consortium, chairman and managing director of Black Country Metals, and is the immediate past president of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce. A prominent business leader, Peter has held the position of chair at various national and international organisations including The World Recycling Conference, UKTI Advanced Engineering and the Midlands World Trade Forum.

Phil Bateman MBE

Currently a Labour Party Councillor for Wednesfield North in the City of Wolverhampton.  A former Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton, awarded an MBE for 'Services to the regions transport' in 2004. Previously the Director of Public Affairs at Travel West Midlands, leaving the National Express Group in 2008. Now self - employed operating Phil Bateman Consultancy, working closely with public transport companies including the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

Stephen Burt, fundraising

Held a number of voluntary positions on the waterways, including chairman of Stratford upon Avon Canal Society and commodore of St Pancras Cruising Club, where he negotiated a lease with British Waterways and secured funding for a dry dock. He has organised five Russell Newbery boat rallies and is currently on the organising committee of Stratford River Festival.  Stephen has been boating for 25 years and has owned a boat since 1994.

Ivor Caplan, heritage

IWA trustee, member of its promotions committee and planning officer for the West Midlands . Currently secretary of the BCN Society.  He has been boating for 35 years of which 15 years were spent living afloat, and has held a number of positions at various waterways organisations, including chair of IWA Birmingham, company secretary of Droitwich Canals trust and chairman of the RBOA.  He managed Waterways for Youth, taking it to the WoW initiative.

Len Cresswell, community engagement

Director of a health and safety consultancy and borough councillor on Solihull MBC, where he is the representative on the West Midlands Metropolitan Area Canal Partnership. He was a founder member of Earlswood Lakes Partnership and has been chair for half its lifetime. In the 1960s, Len volunteered at the Stratford upon Avon Canal restoration.

Graham Fisher MBE, commerciality of the waterways

Voted Inland Waterways Personality of the Year in 2005 and was chair of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal Society. Graham received an MBE for services to the waterways, and has written a number of books about the inland waterways and is a boat-owning enthusiast.

Yvonne Gilligan

Regional Director for Sustrans, West Midlands Yvonne is responsible for ensuring the effective delivery of all Sustrans’ programmes across the West Midlands region. This includes infrastructure projects including development of the National Cycle Network and community led street design as well as behaviour change projects which include School, Community workplace and Volunteers’ programme. Yvonne is also responsible for ensuring the integration of Smarter Choices programmes with Sustrans capital programmes. 

Ben Seal, youth engagement, sport & recreation

Works for Canoe England where he focuses on developing participation at grass roots level and actively engages and supports 38 volunteer-led canoe clubs.  He works with a number of commercial centres, charities, youth groups, schools and County Sports Partnerships in the region and is a regular active user of the waterways.

Laura Shoaf

Strategic Director of Transport for the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, Laura is responsible for the provision of transport policy and strategy advice to the ITA, the Leaders, and Chief Executives of the West Midlands. Laura works collaboratively across the Local Authorities, LEPs and other partners to ensure the best possible outcomes for the West Midlands. A chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Laura has over 20 years of international experience in delivering integrated economic and spatial regeneration. 

Vaughan Welch, community engagement

West Midlands regional trustee and deputy national chair of the IWA and is a member of the BWAF Heritage Group and several local waterway trusts. Vaughan attends the recently reconvened Parliamentary Waterways Group and has been involved in Local Authority committee work and stakeholder working groups.  He initiated the successful annual BCN clean-up which brings a significant number of volunteers to the West Midlands waterways.

Ewan Hamnett

Now a retired GP, Ewan previously worked as a partner at Lordswood Practise, Harborne from 1988 to 2014. Ewan’s current role as Champion for Physical Activity in Birmingham arose after a meeting with a then cabinet member for sport and activity and he has spent the last year and a half meeting anyone involved with activity across the city. A summary of Ewan's role is trying to create synergy between the many organisations across Birmingham. Ewan is also on the board of a national organisation called UK Active.

Ian Lane, waterway manager

Ian has been with the trust for just over 11 years and is the Waterway Manager for the West Midlands. He is a civil engineer who up until recently had been managing the local engineering team within the West Midlands. Before joining the Trust he spent many years working for a consultancy specialising in maintenance and repair of structures.

Last date edited: 17 February 2016