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The charity making life better by water

Marsh Charitable Trust Awards

Together with the Marsh Charitable Trust, we are celebrating volunteering excellence along our nation's waterways, by recognising those who have had such a huge impact over the past year.

This year, we celebrate our 10th year of protecting and preserving 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales. So, to mark a decade of charitable care, an extra category has been added to the awards to recognise those who have been volunteering with the charity since its inception.

There are three award categories per region (individual, team, 10 year volunteer). Here they are...

Yorkshire & North East

  • David Wadsworth - individual award
  • Marcus Topham - 10 year volunteer award
  • Tuel Lane Lock Keepers - team award
Man poses with his award at the 2022 Marsh Awards

David is a man of infectious enthusiasm, encouragement and humour. He is passionate about heritage, craft skills and keeping them alive. He is a lead volunteer, a dry stone waller, a blacksmith and a beekeeper! David has consistently volunteered for the Trust for over eight years, following on from a background in grassroots local education. A Lancastrian by birth, but a man of Yorkshire!

Marcus is a lead volunteer, lock keeper, towpath ranger, milepost restorer on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and has had many other roles besides.

Tuel Lane lock keepers were commended for being a consistent and effective group, ensuring a positive brand aspect on behalf of the Trust. Safe passage is the heart of what they do, with a welcoming smile.

North West

  • Tommy Higson - individual award
  • Jon Stopp - 10 year volunteer award
  • Middlewich Lock Keepers - team award
Marsh Volunteer Awards 2022 winners and finalists pose in front of Anderton Boat Lift with their awards

Tommy has shown how spending time by water can really improve wellbeing. He has found confidence though his volunteer journey. Tommy supports the team and steps in when extra support is needed, plus he supports the wider North West team.

Jon Stopp is a lead volunteer involved in many types of practical works. He has also undertaken advisory and planning roles both within his region and nationally.

The Middlewich Volunteer Lock Keepers offer a friendly face for boaters and the local community, as well as invaluable guidance for newcomers to the navigation. The team are well known within the community of Middlewich, and are a recognisable, friendly team that provide guidance, local information to boaters, local residents, visitors and passers-by.

Wales & South West

  • Trevor Hunt - individual award
  • Ron Matthews - 10 year volunteer award
  • Aqueduct Rangers - team award

West Midlands

  • Lawrence Rakic - individual award
  • Carole Nicholson - 10 year volunteer award
  • Heritage Working Boats - team award
Group of people attend the West Midlands Marsh Awards

Lawrence has volunteered at Stourport for a little under two years. He works five days each week, and provides much needed continuity in terms of task management.

Lawrence is a natural leader and encourages and motivates his team of volunteers without requiring or wanting an official title. He often seeks innovative ways to solve an issue and will go out of his way to help people when required.

Carole is a lead volunteer regularly leading towpath taskforces and assisting the customer operations team with all manner of maintenance tasks in Warwickshire.

The Heritage Working Boats team are a dedicated team of volunteers who care for four heritage boats and attend events all over the West Midlands region. A hard-working and willing group, who love to get involved!

East Midlands

  • Jules Hall - individual award
  • John Carvell - 10 year volunteer award
  • Foxton Maintenance Team - team award
East Midlands volunteer poses with her award

Jules has made a huge contribution to the community engagement team, providing additional resource and capacity for the VDC's and administration support. She's willing to help and go the extra mile to give excellent customer care to individuals enquiring to volunteer with the Trust.

John has volunteered as a lock keeper, events volunteer, maintained signage and notice boards and also assists the customer operations support team.

The Foxton Maintenance Team go over and above to keep the site looking good and to help create a really special visit for visitors. They help Foxton Locks to achieve goals and move projects forward. They bring with them a high level of expertise in so many areas, and are known to bring a sense of fun alongside their hard work.

London & South East

  • Frank Stimpson - individual award
  • Dick Pilkinton - 10 year volunteer award
  • South East Action Days Team - team award
Dick Pilkinton, Frank Stimpson, SE Action Days Team

Frank is constantly looking for new ways to help the Trust and have an impact on the waterway. He is proactive in his role to make improvements to the customer experience and whilst out on the network, Frank is a friendly and welcoming face to all. He goes out of his way to make visitors feel safe and to assist them in enjoying their visit.

Dick has volunteered on one of our advisory boards, towpath taskforces, at events and as an angling coach.

The South East Action Days Team always strive to deliver a high standard of work in everything that they do in their volunteering for the Trust. The group has also worked on actively recruiting some new members; giving them a very warm welcome, ensuring they feel included and supported.

Thank you

Christine Mellor, head of volunteering, said: "In the decade since the Trust's launch, we have seen an incredible change in the number of people volunteering on the canals and the impact that they have.

"This summer, volunteers donated their five millionth hour to Canal & River Trust since our launch ten years ago. These awards reflect how much we value and appreciate our volunteers who, working together with colleagues across the Trust, have enabled us to tend our beautiful green and blue spaces for future generations."

Group of volunteers walk passed a boat along the towpath in life jackets carrying painting equipment

Join our Towpath Taskforce teams

Join our super volunteer teams who meet up regularly to care for their local canal

Last Edited: 25 July 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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