On 29th April, the Mayor of Chesterfield unveiled a plaque at Tapton Lock to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the re-opening of the lock. It also thanks the volunteers, some of whom have worked on the canal for nearly 30 years.
The ceremony was attended by lots of volunteers, past and present, some of whom had cruised up the canal from Hollingwood Hub aboard the Eckington School boat Madeline. There were also several members of the Waterway Recovery Group who had helped with the restoration.
Robin Stonebridge, the Chair of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, gave a speech thanking all of the partners who have been involved in the restoration, such as Derbyshire County Council, but highlighting the astonishing feats performed by the Trust’s volunteer Work Party for decades.
The Mayor of Chesterfield, Cllr Alexis Diouf, unveiled the plaque whilst standing on the foredeck of Madeline with Work Party stalwarts Mick Hodgetts, Terry Berridge and Dave France.
The wording on the plaque reads:
The Chesterfield Canal Trust, Volunteer Work Party, 29th April 2015, The 25th anniversary of the re-opening of Tapton Lock
The Work Party restored this lock. They also restored Hollingwood Lock (1993), Bluebank Lock (1994) and Wheeldon Mill Lock (1997). They built the new Dixon’s Lock (1995) from scratch. They restored Mill Green (2004) and built the 600 yard washwall between Mill Green and Staveley Town Basin (2012). They built the abutments for Constitution Hill Bridge (2014) and are currently building the new Staveley Town Lock.
Several of these volunteers have turned out every week for over 25 years.
Their work has brought huge enjoyment to the many thousands of people who use the canal.
To all members of the Work Party, past and present, thank you.
Afterwards, the boats Madeline and John Varley took guests, Work Party members and others on a short cruise.
Tapton Lock was the very first lock to be re-opened in the restoration of the canal in 1990. The work had been done by the volunteer Work Party of the Chesterfield Canal Society. The huge crowd which came to witness that event was one of the first signs of how popular the canal would become in the future.
Since then, a further 35 locks along the canal have been restored or built from scratch, along with 11 major road bridges, two marinas and 12 miles of canal. Only nine miles remain to be restored. The Chesterfield Canal Trust is determined to see this nine mile gap closed.