News article created on 11 June 2018

Chairs appointed for new regional advisory boards

We have appointed four Chairs to our new Regional Advisory Boards. They will use their local knowledge and contacts to connect our waterways, and all their wellbeing benefits, into the lives of the communities that surround them.

Canal flowing through Birmingham Canal flowing through Birmingham

The appointments, which are voluntary and for an initial term of three years, include people who have had significant experience in the private and public sector and who are keen to support the Trust in making an impact in their regions with all the benefits which the canals and rivers can bring. The Chairs bring with them a wealth of experience across many different industry sectors and a passion for our waterways.

  • London & South East – Sir William Atkinson. Knighted in 2008 for services to education and community relations, Sir William is a Trustee of a number of charities including The Royal Shakespeare Company.  He has advised government at both national and local levels and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London in 2017.  
  • South West – David Hagg. As Chief Executive of Stroud District Council David’s authority is leading the award-winning restoration of the Cotswold Canal. He has been a member of a wide range of regional and national bodies and was formerly Chair of the Trust’s South Wales & Severn Waterway Partnership.
  • East Midlands – Anil Majithia. With over 30 years of global business experience Anil is a Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership board member and Chair of Voluntary Action Leicestershire. He is a Governor at Coventry University, Trustee of DSU, Governor of North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College and a member of Governance Committee for Science Council.
  • North West – Walter Menzies. The former Chief Executive at the Mersey Basin Campaign and a UK Sustainable Development Commissioner, Walter remains a sustainable development advocate and champion of the North West. He is a Visiting Professor in the department of civic design at the University of Liverpool, a Trustee of the Land Trust, and former Chair of the Trust’s Manchester, Pennine & Potteries Waterway Partnership. Walter will be supporting the transition of this region for 12 months.
  • Recruitment is continuing for the Chairs of the West Midlands and Yorkshire & North East Advisory Boards. 

The new Chairs will now begin the process of establishing their Regional Advisory Boards, which will be initially formed with committed volunteers who previously served in our waterway partnerships.

Local communities and customers

Richard Parry, Chief Executive at Canal & River Trust, said: “I’m delighted to welcome our new Regional Advisory Board Chairs to the Trust. The new Advisory Boards are a vital part of our commitment to working at a local level to make sure our waterways are bound into the regional networks we are such a vital part of, and will deliver wellbeing benefits to the numerous local communities we serve and the customers who use them.

“The Regional Advisory Boards will also inform how we transpose our strategic thinking into action, and find new and innovative ways to achieve our ambitions. They will be key influencers, identifying and working with regional decision-makers across all sectors to champion our waterways and rally support for the Trust.

“The calibre of the appointments we’ve made so far demonstrates the powerful draw of the waterways. It’s fantastic that such a range of people want to be involved in securing the future of our wonderful canals and rivers, continuing to make life better by water for this generation and those to come.”