IT WAS a great surprise for the Chesterfield Canal Trust yesterday, Friday, when the boss of Canal & River Trust turned up to volunteer for the day!
Set an example
Richard Parry, its Chief Executive joined the volunteer crew of the 94 years old ex-British Waterways working boat. Python as a volunteer. He is very keen to encourage people to volunteer, and so Richard set an example by joining the crew for a days work. The picture shows Richard Parry with regular Python volunteer Jenny Ennis.
They covered about four miles of the canal from Osberton to Worksop, taking about seven hours altogether, with some volunteers walking along the towpath picking up litter, but the great advantage of Python is that it can get at rubbish that is floating in the canal, especially on the offside.
The volunteers can also trim overhanging vegetation and sometimes pull out the inevitable shopping trolleys or other sunken obstructions.
Look more attractive
This work makes the canal look much more attractive and is also vital for wildlife which can often be harmed by getting caught or cut by cans and bottles or eating bits of plastic.
It was raining for much of the day, but the volunteers all stuck to the task, buoyed up by plenty of tea when needed, and Richard certainly played his part in rubbish collection, but also took the time to talk to the volunteers and to listen to their concerns and their opinions about possible improvements.
Upon arrival in the middle of Worksop, everyone had to disembark so that the boat could be pulled past a section of wall from an adjacent shop car park that had collapsed. CRT hopes to be able to undertake a temporary repair of this wall in the next couple of months in order to restore normal navigation.
Crammed packed with rubbish
At the end of the day, the boat was crammed with a very large number of bags packed with rubbish, mostly plastic, plus lots of branches from low hanging willow trees.
All the volunteers, including Richard, went home tired and damp, but proud of a very useful day’s volunteering to keep the canal looking good for its many users, both on and off the water.
To learn more about volunteering on the canal, search for Chesterfield Canal Trust or Canal & River Trust.