"I was brought up in India but last year my family’s heritage led me to the canals of Britain. My Chicago-born Dad is a doctor and was working at a free medical clinic in India when my mum, originally from Stourbridge, went to University there and they met. I had an amazing childhood; we lived in the equivalent of the Indian outback amongst the mountains in the North; on chilly days like today a pot of tea would be on the boil and we’d drink it constantly – so there are some similarities with the UK! My two elder brothers were born in India but I was actually born in Hawaii before moving when I was three. Because I wasn’t born in India I couldn’t work there, and although I had a wonderful life by the time I turned 19 I was ready to make a change and spread my wings.
I didn’t know what to expect from England, but with my mother being from the Black Country I wanted to retrace my family’s history and the canals are an important part of that. My grandfather worked in a glass-blowing factory along the water and he was very fond of narrow boats. I remember him talking about them and I always wanted to learn more. So when I got my job at the Canal&River Trust it seemed like a perfect fit. It meant a lot to me. Moving to a city was a huge leap from being constantly surrounded by nature and the canals have offered me an escape. It’s not just the canals themselves, but the entirety of the environment the heritage and the places they create for both humans and wildlife. I’m happy every day coming to work here. Making such a big move was scary at times but being close to my own heritage through the canals has helped. Not only are they a place for me to enjoy but the canal network has always acted as a connector across the country. Now they’re helping me connect to my past and I feel like I’ve come full circle."
Pearl, fundraising manager Canal & River Trust, Cambrian Wharf