The awards were presented by Trust chairman Tony Hales and Peter Titley, an Ambassador of Marsh Christian Trust, as part of the Next Generation Waterway Support Conference in Birmingham on Saturday 21 March. The conference brought together people from a broad range of waterway interests to discuss opportunities for increasing youth engagement and volunteering along the nation's historic waterways.
The winners from each category are:
Heroes of the Waterway award celebrates long service and outstanding sustained commitment to improving the waterways.
Winner: John Hawkins
Explorers Education Volunteer award recognises the outstanding contribution of the 150 nationwide education volunteers delivering high quality outdoor and in-school educational experiences to 40,000 children this year.
Winner: David Payne
Young Volunteer award recognises the growing contribution and commitment of younger volunteers. This award was open to group applications (aged 13-25) as well as individuals and reflects the growing support in youth volunteering along the canal.
Winners: Dylan Manning and Emile Khan
The four winners have each won a cash prize of £500 per category which has been kindly donated by the Marsh Christian Trust, a grant-making body that supports environmental, social welfare, arts and heritage charities.
Caroline Killeavy, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “We had a really tough job trying to choose our final winners as we had some really great entries from our army of volunteers across the country. Volunteering along the waterways is growing each year and this year we had over 400,000 volunteer days, which is just fantastic and really shows how much people love our canals.
“Our volunteers do a great job and help us keep the canals a really special place to visit and I would like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication.”
Brian Marsh, from the Marsh Christian Trust, said: “It's really encouraging to see so many great volunteers working with the Canal & River Trust and I would like to commend everyone who has donated their time keeping the waterways a special place to visit. The enthusiasm the volunteers have for their local canal is really infectious and I hope many more people try their hand at volunteering, given how enriching and rewarding it can be.”