News article created on 18 November 2021

Volunteers of Active Waterways Cheshire celebrate national award

We have presented 27 volunteers from the Active Waterways Cheshire project with a national volunteering award.

Active Cheshire winners Marsh Trust volunteer award Nov 2021 Active Cheshire winners Marsh Trust volunteer award Nov 2021

The Marsh Trust Awards celebrate volunteer excellence and the amazing range of activities delivered by teams and individuals across our network of waterways in England and Wales. In the North West region, a group of volunteer walk leaders were presented with their awards at a special ceremony held at Anderton Boat Lift, near Northwich, on Wednesday 17 November.

The Cheshire volunteers are all involved in leading guided walks programmes in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Nantwich, Northwich and Macclesfield as part of the three year Active Waterways project, delivered in partnership with Sport England, to encourage over 55s in the county to get active and feel better by water.

An inspiration

Poppy Learman, our Active Waterways Cheshire project leader, said: “The volunteer walk leaders are an inspiration and I offer my congratulations to them all. They had to adapt quickly to changes forced on us by COVID-19, supporting the Active Waterways team to deliver online programmes during the lockdown periods. Since the easing of restrictions, they have returned to guiding the12-week walking programmes across the county. For many participants who were socially isolated during lockdown, this was their first time socialising and participating in group activities again.

“Active Waterways volunteers share their enthusiasm of the canal and river networks and their knowledge of the local history, heritage, flora and fauna. They often integrate mindfulness activities into the walks and invite participants to socialise further after the walk over a coffee. Many have now been volunteering for several 12-week programmes – a testament to their dedication to this worthwhile project and the joy that it brings people.”

A challenging 19 months

Christine Mellor, our head of volunteering, said: “Volunteers are incredibly important to the Trust. The past 18 months have been challenging, with the coronavirus pandemic affecting volunteering, and I was so thankful to see our volunteers back in force as the restrictions eased. We are reaching out to communities to act now for canals and have this opportunity to recognise some of our volunteers who have made such a significant contribution in maintaining the beauty of our waterways. I'd encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering for the Trust to get in touch - there are so many opportunities on our website in your local area. Come along and get involved!”

Brian Marsh OBE, chair at the Marsh Charitable Trust, said: “We are pleased to be able to work with the Canal & River Trust once again to deliver these awards, recognising those who give their time to volunteer on our nation’s waterways, enhancing their heritage and supporting the wellbeing of those who use them. This year we have been able to celebrate the achievements of more volunteers, both individuals and teams, across six regions of the UK and we hope to continue to highlight these invaluable commitments in years to come.”

The award winners

North West 2021 award winners are: Keith Pickton, Stuart Goode, David Hall, Janet Pitwell, Jacqui Dunbavin, Lynn Johnson, Steven Tideswell, Tom Dawson, Catherine Golightly, Malcolm Craig, Christopher Evans, Rosemary Smith, Paula Ford, John Brighouse, Kath Ward, Eileen Room, Karen Waters, Tim Purrier, Wendy Thomas, Jim Robertson, Beverley Moore, William Taylor, John Goodman, Kathryn Broad, Graham Percival, Jeff Fairweather, Jennifer Budworth