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News article created on 3 August 2017

Kennet & Avon Waterways celebrates its volunteers

83-year-old John Webb, who volunteers for the Canal & River Trust, has recently been awarded a Gold Volunteer Award in recognition of him giving over 2,000 hours to help care for the historic Kennet & Avon Canal.

John Webb gold award winner John Webb gold award winner

John is one of 40 volunteers that have been awarded a special gold badge by the Trust this year. The aim of the award is to celebrate the amazing contribution volunteers have made in helping to keep the nation’s canals looking good for the thousands of visitors throughout the year.

John, who lives in Bath and is a retired Chartered Quantity Surveyor, has been volunteering with us since we were formed in 2012 and helped establish the Towpath Taskforce group in Bath. The group meets weekly and carries out various tasks including removing graffiti, cutting back overhanging trees, filling in potholes and painting lock gates.

As a keen boater John has taken an active role in restoring the Toll House at Dundas Wharf, the ‘Hovel’ at Bathampton, re-building the historic timber crane at Burbage Wharf and landscaping the canal junction with the River Avon at Widcombe. John is also Honorary Vice President of the Kennet & Avon Trust.

Steve Manzi, volunteer coordinator at the Canal & River Trust, said: "We are so lucky to have John volunteering with us along the canal and I’m delighted he has been awarded this Gold Award in recognition for all his hard work and commitment in helping us care for the waterways.

Volunteers really help bring our waterways to life and we want more people just like John to donate their time and help us care for and preserve these 200-year-old open air museums so everyone can enjoy them."

John Webb, said: "It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to put something back into our waterway system which, as a boater, I have enjoyed exploring over the past nearly 50 years. A bonus is working with a wonderful band of fellow volunteers. Without their help and support being given this award simply would not have happened."

The Bath branch of the Towpath Taskforce meets every Thursday from 10.00am to 3.00pm and is always looking new volunteers. Find out how you can volunteer or donate money to support the work across the Kennet & Avon waterways region.