|I have owned an ex-Willow Wren camping boat since 1972 and have cruised extensively around the waterways system. I have been involved in negotiations first with British Waterways and now with the Trust over navigation issues such as dredging, vegetation, pinch points and historic structures and currently on issues of red diesel and engine emissions. I have served one term on the Trust’s Council as a boater’s rep and am a member of the Trust appointment committee where I see my role as probing applicants for their genuine enthusiasm for the waterways. During my present term I have encouraged Trust officers and trustees to get out onto boats and witness the boater’s view of the waterways. This allows us to demonstrate the working of the waterways in a practical manner and to show the importance of lock furniture, adequate depth and clear sight-lines. I have also written a series of very detailed reports on the maintenance of individual canals and forwarded them to regional managers. I am a firm believer in the importance of boaters' involvement in monitoring our waterways and for us to offer critical advice, help and support to the Trust whenever this is realistic.|
My first involvement with canals and boats was in 1962, when as a teenager I became interested in the carrying narrow boats which plied in those days and the traditional working methods. I was a founder of Dacorum Narrow Boat Project for young people of that part of Hertfordshire. In my teens and twenties I was active with London based WRG and took part in voluntary restoration on the Warwickshire Avon and especially on the Montgomery Canal at Welshpool, leading a team of local volunteers making ‘Town Lock’ workable. I’m a Traditionalist: I believe our network should be maintained in a way that preserves as many of the original buildings as we can possibly keep, to ensure we maintain the heritage of our locks and bridges and allow our individual waterways to keep their ‘old world’ atmosphere, creating the best environment for leisure and tourism. I do not like ‘standardisation’ and believe that Trust should be able to give individual waterways back some of their individual character. I am not against change, but it has to be managed in a way that does not damage heritage. I’m a member of HNBC and Coombeswood Canal Trust, with a mooring at Alvecote.
More from Eric on his website here.
|During my four year term as your Council Representative, I have worked on the Appointments Committee, appointing new trustees, regional Chairs, and determining the composition of the Council. I have campaigned, successfully, for the expansion of volunteer representation on the council, and as a result there are now two roles for volunteers. My next focus will be, if elected again, to encourage greater diversity in age, gender, disability and ethnicity within the volunteer movement of the Trust. Volunteers already cover a huge range of jobs, from meet and greet, through teams who are taking on significant heavy tasks, such as offside vegetation management, to trustees whom set the company direction. I wish to encourage even greater expansion of the use of volunteers across all areas of the Trusts operations, working alongside the dedicated workforce. During the summer I enjoy working as a ‘Volkie’ on the Manchester 18 and in the winter I work with the local Direct Services Team. I have been a canal volunteer for over six decades. As a young teen I worked alongside my Dad at PFCS working parties, I am founding member of WRG(NW) and other societies. I help to maintain and run an Historic wooden narrowboat.|
Phil, Eric and Ian