Groups of like-minded volunteers across the country are making a difference to our canals and rivers. Former chemistry teacher David Lewis talks tea and supermarket trolleys.
What inspired you to join the Selby Towpath Taskforce?
Knowing that I'd be improving the environment of the canal, working with like-minded people, taking exercise and making other people more aware of what Selby Canal has to offer.
So what's a typical volunteering day like?
I meet the other volunteers and we have a catch up. The volunteer leader tells us what we'll be doing, then after a health and safety briefing and delegation of jobs, we plunge into the undergrowth, tackling some rusty railings or sanding down some woodwork. One Saturday we hauled out a weed-encrusted supermarket trolley. And of course there is tea and biscuits.
What have you achieved so far as a volunteer?
A multitude of things, from weed clearance and painting handrails to scrub clearance and litter picking – including an amazing amount of aluminium tins and glass bottles for recycling.
What have you most enjoyed?
There's something special about bringing a dozen or so volunteers together to complete a task that might seem small, but has made a noticeable improvement to the towpath, which hopefully encourages more Selebians (yes, that is a word for Selby locals) to enjoy the canal. It's also good exercise, which the biscuits only detract from a little.
What have you least enjoyed?
Encounters with dog muck in the undergrowth.
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