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News article created on 16 July 2015

Allan Leighton to chair the Canal & River Trust

Tony Hales, chair of the Canal & River Trust, is to retire from the charity after its Annual Public Meeting and meeting of the Trust’s Council in London on 23 September.

In line with the organisation’s Articles of Association, trustees duly elected the next chair from their number when they met on 15 July.

Allan Leighton, chair of the Co-Operative Group, and formerly CEO of Asda Plc and chair of the Royal Mail, will formally take over as chair of the Canal & River Trust following the meeting of Council on 23 September.  Allan joined the Board in September 2014.

Lynne Berry, deputy chair of the Canal & River Trust and chair of the Trust’s Appointments Committee, comments: “Under the leadership of Tony Hales so much has been achieved for the nation’s waterways.  He had the vision and passion to take the waterways out of state control in what was the largest ever transfer of state infrastructure into a charitable organisation.  Since that remarkable achievement in 2012, he has set the path for a bright future for the waterways for generations to come.  On behalf of everyone who cares for the waterways I’d like to thank him for his tremendous leadership, personal commitment and unbridled enthusiasm.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Allan Leighton as the incoming chair of the Canal & River Trust.  He takes on the role at such an exciting time as the Trust looks to build on the firm foundation that has been built under Tony’s chairmanship.  His vast experience and insight, combined with his belief in the importance of our canal system to public life, will give us further impetus as we continue to realise the potential of the Canal & River Trust to transform places and enrich lives.”

Although retiring from the Trust, Tony Hales will continue to be a non-executive director of a number of other organisations.  He’ll remain a passionate supporter of the waterways.

Tony Hales comments: “I have relished seeing how our once forgotten and neglected waterways have morphed into community hubs, bringing people together, improving lives, and providing new opportunities for all ages to experience their beauty and value.  A really big thanks to everyone – staff, volunteers, supporters and partners – without you it just couldn’t have been done.

“New people bring new experiences and fresh perspectives and I welcome Allan Leighton’s appointment as chair as he takes up the mantle at this important time in the development of the Trust.”

Allan Leighton, trustee and chair designate of the Canal & River Trust, comments: “I am delighted to be chairing such an exciting charity.  Anyone who has spent time on the waterways can testify what they have to offer the people across England and Wales – from amazing wildlife and unparalleled industrial heritage to life changing opportunities to get out onto the water or onto the towpaths to improve our health and mental wellbeing.

“As a keen canal walker and towpath runner I have been passionate about these special blue places for years.  I’ve been impressed by the work of the Trust’s staff and volunteers and am really looking forward to working with chief executive Richard Parry and his team to build upon the strong financial foundation and fantastic support that the Trust has to secure the waterways’ contribution for future generations.”

The Trustee Board is legally responsible for ensuring the Canal & River Trust works towards its Charitable Objectives.  The unpaid posts set the overarching policy and strategy for the Trust, and provide oversight of the executive team.

The Canal & River Trust’s Annual Public Meeting will take place at 10am on 23 September at Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, London, SW1P 3NZ.  To book a place visit: canalrivertrustapm.eventbrite.com.  The Trust’s Annual Report and accounts will be published on Tuesday 21 July.