Allan Leighton, who was reappointed by the Trust's governing Council to serve a further term as chair, welcomed guests before chief executive Richard Parry gave an overview of the organisation's achievements during the financial year 2015/16. These included an increase in expenditure on the waterways and a growth in the number of people donating to the Trust and visiting, volunteering, and adopting stretches of its waterways.
As well as talking about future ambitions, the meeting saw director of asset management Julie Sharman give a presentation on the way the charity manages and prioritises the maintenance of its unique network of 200-year old locks, bridges, embankments, aqueducts and other assets.
After the presentations guests asked the Trust's senior management team about topics ranging from residential boating and support for vulnerable boaters, to the control of invasive hogweed, and the role visitors might play in helping the Trust's asset inspection teams.
The Trust's Council met after the Annual Public Meeting where they considered topics including the possible impacts of Brexit and the potential transfer of the Environment Agency Navigations, as well as discussing an update on the work of the Waterway Partnerships.
The Council ratified the appointment of four new Trustees to the charity's unpaid board, which is legally responsible for overseeing the work towards the organisation's charitable objectives. Dame Jenny Abramsky, Nigel Annett, Janet Hogben and Tim Reeve replace Tom Franklin and Simon Thurley who conclude their time on the board, having served two terms as Trustees in line with the Trust's constitution (and Steve Shine who left the Trust early in 2016).
Allan Leighton, chair of the Trust, comments: "I'm pleased to see the progress that has been made at the Trust this year and I think the results speak for themselves. The number of people volunteering and donating has continued to grow, as have the partnerships formed with organisations as diverse as the Arts Councils in England and Wales, The Scout Association, Help for Heroes and Rolls Royce, plus numerous local authorities, charitable trusts and local canal societies.
"As we look to the future we're continuing to grow our influence and engage with more people so that the waterways are on a firm foundation for future generations to enjoy.
"I'd like to welcome our new Trustees whose experience and calibre is a strong endorsement for what the Trust has achieved in a short space of time. They bring new and wide-ranging experience and perspectives that will help inform decisions on policy and strategy as well as oversight of the executive directors.
"I'd like to reiterate my huge thanks to both Tom and Simon for all they've brought to the waterways since the formation of the Canal & River Trust. They have been absolutely fundamental in the charity's formative years and have helped create a formidable legacy.
"I'm sure that our supporters, partners and customers appreciate the achievements we've made as a young and growing charity. It was good to see so many faces in the audience today and I'm heartened that we have such a passionate group of people showing an interest in, and demonstrating their care for, our waterways."
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