Launched by the Canal & River Trust in February, the Living Waterways Awards seek to recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based improvement projects across the UK.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, explains: "The Living Waterways Awards celebrate the individuals, communities and organisations that have done the most to make a difference to the nation's rivers, canals, lochs, lakes, reservoirs and docks, making them exciting places to live, learn and spend time."
After a series of visits and assessments, which saw expert judges travel across the country from Norfolk to Gloucester, and from London to Cheshire, an independent panel of experts, led by Christopher Rodrigues CBE, selected its finalists for the 2016 Living Waterways Awards.
From inspirational visitor centres and vibrant theatrical performances, to innovative education projects and pioneering environmental initiatives, winners are listed under nine award categories:
Art & Interpretation
Winner: Mikron Theatre Annual Waterways Tour 2015
Runner-up: Floating Cinema on Tour
Commended: Stoke Bruerne Interpretation Project
Community & Volunteering
Winner: Macclesfield Canal Green Flag
Runner-up: Helping Hedgerows
Commended: IWA Northampton Arm Adoption; and IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Work Party
Contribution to the Built Environment
Winner: Porter Brook Pocket Park
Commended: Saltisford Canal Arm Restoration
Education & Learning
Winner: Duke of Edinburgh's Award Gold Residential
Commended: Towpath Walks
Winner: Fenny Compton Butterflies
Runner-up: Essex River Wardens
Recreation & Tourism
Winner: Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust
Runner-up: Tall Ships Gloucester
Commended: Birmingham Cycle Revolution
Restoration & Historic Environment
Winner: Conserve Nantwich Aqueduct
Commended: North Walsham & Dilham Canal Restoration
Volunteers Flood In
Outstanding Achievement Award
Di Skilbeck MBE
At the ceremony, the Canal & River Trust also presented the Volunteer of the Year Award in partnership with the Marsh Christian Trust to Peter Bruton*. Peter has volunteered on the waterways in the West Midlands since 2004 and is a lead volunteer on the Heritage Working Boats team and volunteer boat skipper.
Brian Marsh, chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, explains: "The Marsh Christian Trust is delighted to support the Canal & River Trust in recognising the commitment and support provided so willingly by dedicated volunteers.
"I'm delighted to say that Peter Bruton has been voted as 2016 Canal & River Trust Volunteer of the Year. Amongst many other things, Peter helps to maintain the Trust's fleet of heritage boats, moving them around the waterways, representing the Trust at numerous festivals and events.
"Peter's enthusiasm and energy is limitless and the profile he has generated for the waterways and for the Trust is phenomenal. He is a well deserving ambassador of the waterways."