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

The Council

March 2016 saw the first meeting of the new council. We welcome those who were elected back in December and others who have joined us as co-opted and nominated members.

Council by the River Mersey, Liverpool Council by the River Mersey, Liverpool

The council is made up of up to 39 nominated, co-opted, and elected individuals, including the chairs of 10 regional waterway partnerships.  Currently, there are 34 members and together they 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, helps to shape policies and provide guidance and perspective to trustees.

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 council@canalrivertrust.org.uk and your enquiry will be passed on.

Elected representatives:

Boating Business

Andrew Tidy 

Andrew TidyAndy 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

Nigel Hamilton 2Nigel 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 PhaseyFollowing 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 PrettymanPhil 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 RidgwayStella 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 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 McCarthyIan 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 EllisJohn 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

Peter Hugman, co-opted member, freight

Peter HugmanAfter working for both passenger and freight companies in the Doncaster area, Peter established South Yorkshire Canal Transport in 1980 which grew to transport over 100,000 tonnes annually. 

Initially transporting aggregate from the River Trent, further traffics included all the inland cargo from the new wharf at New Holland. He then spent 15 years as captain of both freight and passenger ships on continental waterways, culminating in operating between Amsterdam and Budapest. 

Since establishing BargeConsult in 2002 to provide specialist waterborne logistical solutions, etc, he has continued to captain vessels. He is a board member of the Barge Owners Association.

Chloe Donovan, co-opted member, youth

Chloe DonovanChloe is a Trustee for the #iwill campaign that aims to make social action a normal part of life for all 10-20 year olds in the UK by 2020. 

She chairs the Trust's Youth Engagement Advisory Group and over the last few years has supported delivery of various youth participation and social action programmes through the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and Revolution Hive. 

Whilst continuing to champion young people's role in governance, she is also establishing her own social enterprise called 'Hundred River Farm'.

Nicola Benjamin, co-opted member, Friends

Nicola BenjaminNicola is a housing manager with expertise across local authority, Private and Third Sector organisations using her influence, knowledge and diplomatic skills to achieve optimal decisions for her client and tenants whilst maintaining core relationships. 

Actively involved in voluntary community, local government, NHS Champion role and running for local Councillor, she is a hard act to follow and a safe pair of hands. 

Having been born and bred in Bristol before moving to London, she has a natural affinity with nature and the countryside and is a positive contributor to the strategic vision of the waterways.

Nominated representatives:

Richard Atkinson, nominated by British Canoeing 
Richard AtkinsonRichard 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.

 Dr Ruth Hall, nominated by Bwrdd Glandŵr Cymru

Ruth HallCurrently a National Trust Council member and a board member of Natural Resources Wales, Ruth previously served as a Board member of the Environment Agency with the non-executive brief for EA's navigable waterways, chairing the national navigation stakeholder group. 

Ruth chairs Wales' National Access Forum; she is also co-chair of the Mid Wales Healthcare Collaborative developing rural health services through active public participation. 

A previous chief medical officer for Wales, Ruth is qualified with special interest in public and environmental health. From 2005 until recently, she was a member of NICE's Public Health Advisory Committee and has acted as a health professional adviser to OFWAT.  Ruth is also a Welsh language learner.

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

Jim LambJim 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 TrotmanBefore 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. 


Matt Mallinder, nominated by the Cyclists Touring Club (CTC)

Matt MallinderMatt is membership director for Cycling UK, formally known as the Cyclists' Touring Club, with responsibility for marketing, PR, communications and fundraising strategies and management of membership services. 

He has worked in cycling and environmental sectors for over 20 years including deputy CEO for the London Cycling Campaign and operations manager for the Environmental Transport Organisation. 

Weekends are spent restoring and riding bikes, and introducing his young family to the joys and freedom of cycling. 

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

Neil EdwardsNeil 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 YatesJohn 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 GibsonDavid 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 WardAlison 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.

David Kent, nominated by The Angling Trust

David KentDavid 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.

Paul Wilkinson, nominated by The Wildlife Trusts

Paul WilkinsonPaul is head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, and has responsibility for leading and supporting the achievement of the vision across the UK, including leading key terrestrial and freshwater policy and advocacy for The Wildlife Trusts. 

He previously worked as the director of Regional Policy for The Wildlife Trusts in the East of England, during which time he was elected to be an environment representative on the East of England Regional Assembly; he chaired the region's Biodiversity Forum for 6 years. 

Paul is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, has been the Norfolk Biodiversity Co-ordinator and worked as the development manager for an environmental education charity in Norfolk.

Waterway Partnership Chairs

Danny Brennan, East Midlands (chair.eastmidlands@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Danny BrennanDanny runs a limited company providing interim management services, following a decade operating at executive director level in public service.  He spent the previous 10 years in policy and structural fund roles in the European Commission. Before that, he worked in regional government in the west of Scotland, specialising in economic and community development, managing industrial re-structuring programmes in steel and shipbuilding sectors.  Danny is also a member of the Trust's Youth Engagement Advisory Group.


Tamsin Phipps, Kennet & Avon (chair.kennetavon@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Tamsin PhippsTamsin has had a varied career from special needs teacher, army officer, management development training manager to Public and Government Affairs Manager for British Canoeing.  Her voluntary work includes being an active leader for both Brownies and Guides together with being actively involved with the Community Narrow Boat Falcon Adam based on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Aldermaston. This work shows her commitment to the inclusion of young people in society and the recognition that they have a voice that should be heard.


Sir Brian Fender, London (chair.london@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Brian FenderBrian is a former chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (1995-2001) and non-executive chairman of BTG plc (2003-2008).  He taught chemistry at Oxford University for 17 years. He was vice-chancellor of Keele University (1985-95) and director of the international research centre Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France. Previously Brian held non-executive positions with the UK Meteorological Board and the Hong Kong University Grants Committee. He currently chairs a regional theatre Trust, an Arts Centre and a garden Trust.


Walter Menzies, Manchester, Potteries & Pennine (chair.manchesterpennine@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Walter MenziesWalter is an independent advisor on sustainable development and partnership development and management with the public, private and third sectors.  He is a trustee of The Land Trust and a board member of Atlantic Gateway Partnership. He has a long association with Manchester and the Pennines as a local resident and his work in regeneration and sustainable development. Until 2010 he was CEO of the Mersey Basin Campaign. His most recent book is "England's Northwest and the battle for sustainable development".


Mark Penny, North East (chair.northeast@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Mark PennyMark is a Yorkshire man born in Leeds, a chemist by training but a people and service leader by choice. Previously director of Customer Service and Networks for Yorkshire Water, Mark spent over 30 years with the water company.  He now runs Summers Day Management Consultancy and is trustee of the Aire Rivers Trust.  He was also president of the Institute of Water (Northern Branch).



North Wales & Borders (chair.northwalesborders@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Currently vacant.

North West (chair.northwest@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Currently vacant.

John Best, South East (chair.southeast@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

John BestAfter starting work as a musician and then training as a town planner, John spent 24 years in London planning and regeneration, including five years as borough planning officer for LB Haringey.  Moving to Milton Keynes in 1996, for 12 years he oversaw the city’s development as environment director and then from 2002-8 as council CEO.  A trustee since 2009 of the Bedford Milton Keynes Waterway Trust, he believes that of all the ways to inject life into places, nothing works better than their waterways. 


David Hagg, South Wales & Severn (chair.southwalessevern@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

David HaggDavid is Chief Executive of Stroud District Council. His authority is leading the award winning restoration of the Cotswold Canals in the Stroud Valleys.  Recent awards include the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), the Living Waterways Awards and the Institution of Civil Engineers. He has been a member of a wide range of regional and national bodies, the most recent being as a Commissioner on the Low Commission.



Peter Mathews CMG West Midlands (chair.westmidlands@canalrivertrust.org.uk)

Peter MathewsPeter's company, BCM, trades metals globally and he speaks widely on International trade.  He is a member of the Metal Recycling Association of India and travels to and trades with India regularly.

Peter is the county president for the County of Staffordshire Royal British Legion and was awarded the CMG in 2002 for Exports, an ambassadorial rank in the third order of Chivalry. 

His past roles include: president of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce; chair of the Black Country Consortium; chairman of the World Recycling Convention; board member of the Bureau of International Recycling; board member of the International Re-bar Association in Istanbul; Board member of UKTI, the Government body supporting International Trade. He is still involved with the organisation as the International Ambassador for the West Midlands. He is also a past member of the judging panel for the Queens Award for Export.  

The work of the Council and Partnerships is supported by Gill Eastwood, head of Governance, Audit & Risk and Brenda Adams, administrator, Governance Services.


Gill Eastwood  Brenda Adams
Brenda Adams

Last date edited: 5 February 2018