Nick Herbert visits Wey and Arun Canal

22 June 2009

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert paid a visit to the Wey and Arun Canal on Friday morning (19 June) to see how parts of the historic waterway are being brought back into use.

Mr Herbert was met by Wey and Arun Canal Trust Chairman Sally Schupke and Trustee Peter Foulger who showed off the work that has taken place to restore the Loxwood crossing.

The MP, who recently accepted an invitation to become a Vice President of the Trust, was also taken on a short cruise aboard the Trust's new electric powered canal boat - the Wiggonholt - and heard about the Trust's long-term plans to extend the canal.

The Wey and Arun Canal Society (later Trust) was formed in 1970 by a small group of local enthusiasts and is an entirely voluntary organisation, relying on the support of its members and friends, as well as the generosity of local businesses and the goodwill of local councils. 

Today, it has around 2,600 members from the UK and overseas, with members from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Singapore. 

Much of the Wey and Arun Canal, which runs for 23 miles through Surrey and West Sussex, is no longer navigable.  It once provided a waterway link from London, via the rivers Wey and Arun, to Littlehampton on the Sussex coast. 

The Trust is hoping to bring the full length of the canal back into use and has several ongoing restoration projects.  Last month (9 May), the Trust celebrated the completion of a three-year, £1.8 million project to reopen the waterway under Loxwood High Street.

Nick Herbert commented: "I love canals and it was a huge pleasure to visit the Wey and Arun Canal again on Friday morning.  I attended the official opening of the Loxwood crossing last month and I was fascinated to return and take a closer look at some of the work that the Trust has been doing.  I'm honoured to have been asked to serve as a Vice President of the Trust and look forward to supporting their work for many years to come."

Mr Herbert added: "I was especially interested to hear about the Trust's plans to restore more of the canal, part of which runs through my Arundel and South Downs constituency.  Let's hope that, one day, the Trust fulfils its dream and manages to open up the canal all the way from London down to the coast.  Perhaps in the future the MP will be able to make a journey from Westminster to Arundel by boat!"

Ends

 

Notes for Editors

1. For the website of the Wey and Arun Canal Trust, visit http://www.weyandarun.co.uk/.

2. The photograph shows (from left to right): John Tagg; Nick Herbert MP; Trustee and Director Peter Foulger (front); Vice Chairman and Honorary Treasurer Jim Phillips OBE (back); Bob Potts; skipper Kevin Crawley; Chairman Sally Schupke.

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