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News article created on 24 October 2012

WRG volunteers build bridges on the Oxford Canal

We're delighted with the restoration of two historic brick arched bridges on the Oxford Canal undertaken in partnership with the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG).

This project demonstrates the real benefits that volunteers bring to the waterways and highlights the importance of working in partnership to help maintain our canals. Robin Evans

The project was carried out by WRG volunteers who, for two weeks, worked alongside the contractor May Gurney. It involved a restoration and rebuild of bridges 79 and 80 on the Oxford Canal near the village of Barby in Northamptonshire. 

The restoration included repointing existing brickwork as well as completely rebuilding one of the iconic brick parapets. Where possible the project made use of reclaimed bricks and used traditional lime mortar.

This restoration is special because it is the first time we've worked with volunteers from WRG on this scale and on a navigable canal.

Highly skilled volunteers

Robin Evans, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, said: “The highly skilled volunteers from WRG have done an absolutely fantastic job of repairing and restoring these two traditional brick bridges.

"I would like to personally thank them for all their hard work and dedication in carrying out this restoration work. This project demonstrates the real benefits that volunteers bring to the waterways and highlights the importance of working in partnership to help maintain our canals.”

Mike Palmer, WRG chairman, adds: “This is the first time we have rebuilt a bridge on an operational Canal & River Trust canal and we couldn’t be more delighted with the results. Working with the Trust built on our previous good relations and it’s great that they have acknowledged the great skill and enthusiasm of our volunteers.

"This exercise has shown that volunteers can make a major contribution to the heritage structures and we very much hope, with the lessons learned from Bridge 79 & 80, that the Trust will be able to offer many more bridge projects to groups and organisations around the waterways network.”