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Issue 383 - July 2004

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David James

Further to the item in our last Newsletter, I am delighted to be able to report that David James returned home in early May and is well on the road to recovery. In fact, as I write this, he and Margaret were expecting to be up at their boat for the first time since his illness. A letter from David and Margaret, under the heading 'Calling the Middlewich Samaritan' was published in this month's issue of 'Waterways World' (That letter has been reproduced in this Newsletter).

We look forward to seeing David and Margaret at a future meeting.


As I announced at our 3 June meeting, it had not been possible to publish a June Newsletter because Peter was away until just before the meeting. Any items have been carried over to this issue.

Annual General Meeting

Just a reminder that our August meeting will actually be held on Thursday 29 July. That will be our 2004 Annual General Meeting which will be followed by a video, made by members Tony and Pauline Fry, of their cruise on the Caldon Canal in February 2004. As always, all Officer and Committee posts will be up for election so, if you would like to take an active role in the work of the Society, why not put your name forward.

Third Society Boat Gathering

Over the May Day bank holiday weekend the Society's third boat gathering was held at Flecknoe and Braunston. See the article inside this Newsletter for a report on that event.


Water World logo

Further to items in previous Newsletters, I am pleased to advise members that a copy of Ken and Margaret Froud's video recording of the latest series of 'Waterworld' has been placed in our library for members' use. Many thanks to Ken and Margaret for the loan and to Michael Faull for making the copy.

IWA Stand - Southampton International Boat Show

British Marine Federation logo

It is not long now to the 2004 Southampton Boat Show and I am sure that Peter Oates will soon be looking for people to assist on the IWA stand. If you are interested in helping, or would like to know what it entails, please give Peter a ring or email him. His number and email address can be found under the Committee section on the back page of this Newsletter.

Society Burgees

Martin Cripps has informed me that the new supply of Society burgees has now been delivered. We have only a limited supply and they retail at £8.00 each. So, any Society boat owners that do not already have one of these burgees, please see Martin at one of our meetings.

Titchfield Canal

We have recently been approached by the Titchfield History Society seeking the Society's assistance towards a research project they are undertaking concerning the Titchfield Canal. We have been able to provide information and advice on other possible sources.

Refreshments Rota


We still have gaps in the refreshments rota for some months up to the end of this year, including for the next meeting (AGM) on 29 July. Can volunteers please see Gill as soon as possible.

Raffle Prizes

Many thanks again to those members who have donated raffle prizes in recent months. Your generosity is much appreciated.

Paul Herbert

May Meeting

"A Haven for Wildlife - Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve" - Dennis Bright

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When Dennis last visited the Society the audience sat almost spellbound by the quality of his photographs of the Itchen Valley and its wildlife. He was, therefore, warmly welcomed on his return visit in May when he was obviously delighted to speak about one of his favourite subjects - the Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, with which he has been associated for many years.

He told us about the origins of the area that now comprises the reserve, and how it developed over the centuries, to the popular site many of us are familiar with today.

His talk included, of course, the history of the Titchfield Canal and its demise, though it is now of course part of the Titchfield Haven Reserve.

Dennis described his various experiences of the reserve, in his usual easy manner, complete with a number of humorous anecdotes. His photography of the area, its flora and fauna, the birds and waterfowl, and the land-based inhabitants such as foxes etc were, as one would naturally expect of Dennis, superb, often breathtaking.

For those members who were not able to get to the May meeting they missed a real treat. But never fear, we will be inviting Dennis back to speak to us on another subject in due course.

Paul Herbert

June Meeting

The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust - Peter Crawford

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Over the years we have had many presentations about the Kennet & Avon Canal, both from members of the Trust and also from British Waterways officials. At our June meeting we were pleased to welcome Peter Crawford who has been associated with the Trust, in a number of capacities, for many years.

Using a very professional IT set-up, Peter gave us an introductory background to the history of the canal, the various Acts of Parliament, its building, operation and subsequent decline. He continued with an overview of the continuing restoration programmes. The way he described it was as follows:-

1794-1850   Active life
1850-1950   Decline/Railway ownership
1950-1990   Restoration to through navigation
1990-2000   Completion of restoration
2002-   Active life with sustainable future

He gave details of the very important Kennet & Avon Canal Partnership and the Heritage Lottery Fund Project. £50m had been spent on the canal over the last fifty years. Currently, 8 million visitors a year were attracted to the canal.

It is obvious that the Kennet & Avon Canal now has a secure future and the K&A Trust has played a major role in firstly saving the canal, and subsequently leading the fight for its eventual full restoration.

Well done to all those concerned since 1950.

Paul Herbert

3rd Society Boat Gathering

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Over the bank holiday weekend, 1-3 May, a total of twelve boats gathered at Flecknoe on the five mile pound between Braunston and Napton for the Society's 3rd Boat Gathering (for the information of new members, that location was chosen because a large number of members' boats are moored in the Napton area.

This year's participants from the Society included:-

In addition, there were two 'guest' boats, whose crews are closely associated with Society members.

David and Margaret James had also planned to attend but were unable to, of course, because of David's illness. However, we were delighted to receive a telephone call from David on the Saturday, informing us that he had now returned home, and wishing the Gathering a successful weekend.

The weekend followed the same programme as the first two events with a general gathering and barbecue on the Saturday evening, though that was in some doubt for some time due to bad weather, but fortunately conditions cleared sufficiently for it to proceed. Throughout Sunday boats left their moorings and travelled to Braunston where all were able to find moorings, despite it being a bank holiday weekend.

On Sunday evening most of the crews joined up in the 'Old Plough' in the village for an evening meal.

On the Monday the fleet gradually dispersed, with the majority returning to their home moorings whilst some were fortunate to be able to continue cruising.

During the weekend a raffle was held which raised £25 for Leukaemia Research.

Paul Herbert

Minutes of Last Year's AGM

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Southampton Canal Society logo



The Annual General Meeting was chaired by Paul Herbert, Chairman of the Southampton Canal Society.


There were apologies for absence from:-

Alan & Adrienne Howarth
Laurie & Linda Pearce
Charles & Pauline Stride
Maureen Butcher


An attendance register was circulated and 34 members recorded their attendance. The attendance register forms part of the minutes of the Annual General Meeting.


The minutes of the 35th Annual General Meeting held on 25 July 2002 had been provided to all members attending the meeting and it was proposed by David Townley-Jones and seconded by Malcolm Hartas that the minutes be accepted. On being put to the vote the minutes were accepted by the members present. The Chairman signed the minutes as an accurate reflection of the business discussed at that meeting.

There were no matters arising from the minutes of the 2002 Annual General Meeting.


The Chairman's report had been provided to all members attending the meeting. Therefore, Paul Herbert presented his report, as read, just highlighting one or two items of special note.

There was one question put forward by Frank Stokes concerning the security of information held on the Society's membership database. The Chairman and Membership Secretary explained that those records were only held by the Society and would not be made available to any individual outside the Society, or to any other organisation. Frank Stokes expressed his satisfaction with the response to his question.


The Secretary's report had been provided to all members attending the meeting. Therefore, Eric Lewis presented his report as read, just highlighting one or two items of special note. There were no questions.


The Treasurer and Membership Secretary's report, which included the un-audited income and expenditure account for the year ended 31st March 2003 and the balance sheet as at 31 March 2003, had been provided to all members attending the meeting. Therefore, Laura Sturrock presented her report as read, just highlighting one or two items of special note. There were no questions. It was proposed by Eric Lewis and seconded by Bob Dukes that the Treasurer and Membership Secretary's report and the accounts be accepted and this was approved by the members present.


The Treasurer and Membership Secretary advised that the Committee had taken into account the Society's current financial situation and anticipated future commitments and were recommending that the annual subscription rates be increased to £13.00 for family membership and to £9.00 for individual membership. It was proposed by Martin Cripps and seconded by Paul Taylor that the subscription rates be increased as proposed.


This part of the Annual General Meeting was chaired by the President, Brian Evans, who advised that all the current officers were willing to stand for nomination for a further year. No other nominations had been received prior to the meeting or were put forward at the meeting.

The following appointments were therefore proposed:-

Position Name Proposed by Seconded by
Chairman Paul Herbert Peter Oates Anne Coleman
Vice-Chairman Laura Sturrock Sue Lewis Gill Herbert
Secretary Eric Lewis Bob Dukes Anne Coleman
Treasurer & Membership Sec Laura Sturrock Sue Lewis Malcolm Hartas

Upon being put to the vote, the above officer appointments were approved by the members present.

The President advised that existing committee members Peter Oates, Martin Cripps and David Townley-Jones were willing to stand for nomination for a further year. Nominations were invited for places on the Committee. There were no further nominations.

It was proposed by Malcolm Hartas and seconded by Gordon Osborn that Peter Oates, Martin Cripps and David Townley-Jones be appointed to the Committee. Upon being put to the vote, the above committee appointments were approved by the members present.

Peter Oates confirmed his willingness to continue as the Society Webmaster and Editor of the Newsletter.


There was no other business. The meeting closed at 8.52pm.

The following members attended the 2003 Annual General Meeting (abstracted from the Attendance Register noted in para 3 above).

F S Stokes, D E Johnson, P J Oates, Viv Taylor, Paul Taylor, Angela Faull, B A Hartas, M Faull, M Hartas, Robb Unsworth, Brian Greenham, M Greenham, Ray Brooks, Gill Herbert, Myra Glover, Ron Glover, Tony Fry, Pauline Fry, Michael Horne, Gordon Osborn, A Coleman, J Massy, M James, D L James, R A Dukes, R Dukes, B Evans, D Townley-Jones, S M Lewis, E C Lewis, P L Herbert, L A Sturrock, J B Bourne, M Cripps.

Chairman's Report - 2003/04

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Time certainly seems to fly by and it does not seem that a year has passed since I sat down to write my 2002/03 report. I am writing my third report as your Chairman at the end of another very successful year for Southampton Canal Society. I have had a lot of support from Society members and, particularly from the Committee and other members who help the Society in a number of ways. Many thanks to all of you for your continued support.

Looking back over the past year I have been delighted with the Society's performance. Whilst we have lost some members, I have been encouraged by the high attendances at the majority of our meetings during the year. We continue to attract new members and I will continue to give high priority to increasing our membership base. As with any organisation it is important to attract new members in order to stimulate our work and avoid stagnating - not that our Society could ever be described in that way.

We have again enjoyed an excellent programme of monthly activities with visiting speakers covering topics ranging from the Tal-y-llyn Railway, the Macclesfield Canal and adjoining waterways, The Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation, Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, to the work of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust. A number of our own members have entertained us including Laura Sturrock and Peter Oates with their presentation on working boats on the inland waterways and the Itchen Navigation and Eric and Sue Lewis's 'Around Britain by Canal in the 70s'. We have enjoyed our annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz (and congratulations to our team who won the trophy again) and our popular Members' Slides, Prints and Photo Competition Evening. Another packed house thoroughly enjoyed Day-Star Theatre's latest production, 'Another Fine Day' which finally, and sadly, brought to an end the saga of Sandy Edge.

One of the highlights of our programme was the visit by the IWA National Chairman, John Fletcher, accompanied by his wife Margaret. We were also very fortunate to be able to welcome Andrew Stumpf, BW's Regeneration Manager who spoke about the proposed Bedford/Milton Keynes Link and the restoration of the Cotswolds and Droitwich Canals. That we are able to attract speakers of national importance, such as John and Andrew, demonstrates how highly our Society is considered in the waterways movement. After both the Day-Star Theatre performance and the Inter-Society Quiz we were all able to partake of excellent suppers and enjoy the social atmosphere of those occasions.

In addition we have organised and enjoyed three special events - two Skittles Evenings and our 3rd Society Boat Gathering. Society members continue to take part in a number of activities associated with the waterways. The highlight was surely the National Waterways Festival held at Beale Park on the River Thames which attracted a record number of boats, including eight (I think) Society boats, along with other members in the camp site and many others visiting for the day. Some of those members, plus others, later attended the Cutweb Internet Boat Club Rally at Napton Top Lock Other activities included assisting on the IWA Stand at the Southampton Boat Show; Laura Sturrock's and Peter Oates' continued involvement with the famous wooden butty 'Raymond' and the ongoing restoration of that boat's new partner, the motor boat 'Nutfield'; Ray Brooks has continued his work with the London Narrow Boat Project, both as a committee member and a cover skipper of their community boats; and Ray, Eric and Sue Lewis and Gill and myself steered boats once again on Calmore Junior School's 'Adventure Afloat 2004'. In addition, we must not forget David Butcher's ongoing involvement with the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs and David Pearce's Chairmanship of that Association and also the St Pancras Cruising Club, of which he is Commodore. I am sure that I have forgotten other members with similar important roles in the waterways movement, apologies to those I might have overlooked.

The Society continues to attract much valuable publicity, both through its Newsletter which is widely circulated, its excellent website, and by way of the many photographs of its members and items contributed to the waterways magazines.

Our financial position remains very healthy thanks to Laura Sturrock's 'hand on the tiller' and we have been able to continue making modest donations in respect of our programme of visiting speakers as well as making more major donations to various waterways organisations at year end.

The Committee has continued to meet regularly and that small band of volunteers works well together, considering the Society's future strategy and planning the programme of speakers and other events.

I now have pleasure in thanking all those members of the Society who contribute so much to its success. There is always a danger in mentioning names that someone gets omitted - if I have inadvertently done so, please accept my apologies. As usual, I am pleased to start with my fellow officers and committee members. Laura Sturrock works hard covering the three roles of Vice-Chairman, Treasurer and Membership Secretary. Peter Oates has continued to publish our monthly Newsletter, despite some frustrations at times over delayed deadlines, and as our Webmaster. Eric Lewis is our Secretary and has worked hard putting together our annual programme of speakers, assisted by wife Sue. We all owe those three officers a considerable debt as all their work for the Society is voluntary and they have considerable input to our success. Thanks also to the other committee members, Martin Cripps and David Townley-Jones who have been very supportive in committee and in addition, have, respectively, been responsible for the sales of the Society branded clothing and the organisation of the monthly raffle. Many thanks also to a number of other Society members who have worked hard in support of the Society - Angela Faull, for the management of our monthly refreshments and also for organising the two very successful Skittles Evenings held during the past year; her band of helpers in the kitchen; our 'Technical Co-ordinator' Michael Faull for providing our audio-visual equipment and other technical support; and our Librarian, Alan Howarth. It is not easy to hump around those heavy boxes each month and then display so many library items and, of course, to store them in their home (thanks also to Adrienne for her support in that regard).

Thanks are also due to many of our members who have donated prizes for the raffle and books etc for the library, and the other un-named members who have helped in a number of other ways.

As always, a major thank you to Laura Sturrock's company, the Hunt Johnston Stokes Group. We are indebted to them for continuing to sponsor the production and distribution of the monthly Newsletter etc.

My grateful thanks also to Gill who provides much 'behind the scenes' support both for me as Chairman and for the Society as a whole.

Looking to the year ahead, I am confident that we can look forward to another successful year. Our monthly programme has already been arranged until next spring and several other speakers are in the 'pipeline'. We have been discussing one or two outings within the next few months and a further skittles evening, and I hope those can come to fruition. This autumn is likely to be the final visit to the Society by 'Day-Star Theatre' as Pete and Jane Marshall have announced their decision to give up touring, after so many years both on the water, and on the road. This will create a significant gap in our programmes for future years which it will be difficult to fill.

Once again, thank you for supporting the Society this past year and I look forward to your continued support as we enter our 38th year.

Paul Herbert

Secretary's Report

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As Secretary my thanks must go first to Paul Herbert, our Chairman, for successfully leading the Society through its 37th year.

Thanks must also go to the many speakers who have made our meetings possible. Speakers have included Tim Boddington, talking about the Macclesfield Canal and adjacent waterways; John Fletcher, the IWA Chairman, describing his activities in support of the waterways; Andrew Stumpf, explaining methods of funding for waterway projects, including the Bedford to Milton Keynes Link and the Cotswolds Canals; John Finch describing the Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation; Dennis Bright with his excellent photography of the "Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve", And Peter Crawford with an update on the restoration work of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.

Diversity in our programme was achieved with Peter Kent Mason's Talyllyn Railway.

Theatre was, once again, brought to us by Pete and Jane Marshall of Daystar Theatre Company, this time with "Another Fine Day".

Once again our own members must not be overlooked. They provided an excellent evening of prints and slides in January as well as retaining for the Society the coveted Waterways Quiz trophy (albeit by a very narrow margin) in December. Peter Oates and Laura Sturrock, of our committee, gave us an excellent evening of waterways slides.

Monthly attendances are good, which is encouraging. Our meetings continue to be publicised on local radio and in local newspapers as well as in the national waterways magazines.

Another very successful year.

Eric Lewis

Agenda for This Year's AGM

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Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth, Southampton
Thursday 29 July 2004 at 7.45 pm


  1. Announcements.
  2. Apologies for Absence.
  3. Minutes of 2003 Annual General Meeting held on 5 June 2003 (herewith) and matters arising.
  4. Chairman's Report (herewith).
  5. Secretary's Report (herewith).
  6. Treasurer and Membership Secretary's Report (herewith). (Income and Expenditure Account for the year ended 31 March 2004 and the Balance Sheet as at 31 March 2004).
  7. Review of Annual Subscription Rates.
  8. Election of the following Officers:-
  9. Election of Committee (the Officers plus up to three other Society Members. Additional members may be co-opted as required).
  10. Any other business relevant to an Annual General Meeting, where prior notice of the item has been given.

Note: In accordance with the Society's Constitution, only fully paid up members are eligible to vote at a meeting of the Society. Individual members and affiliated member organisations are entitled to one vote. Joint or family membership entitles that category to a maximum of two votes. Only members aged 18 or over are eligible to vote. All votes have to be cast in person, no proxy votes being permitted.


Water Resources in England and Wales

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Rainfall in May was below the long-term average for the month (73% across England and Wales as a whole), and with the first part of June dry too, there are some concerns about potential water shortages on the waterways later in the year. Most reservoirs filled during the early spring months and river flows during May were near long-term average levels, so no immediate problems are likely other than on waterways with very limited water resources, such as the Basingstoke and Rochdale canals.

The Environment Agency provides monthly reports on its web site at, which are collated from both the Agency's own data as well as that from the Meteorological Office and water service companies, and which give information on a range of factors concerning water resources, such as rainfall, soil moisture deficits, river flows, groundwater levels and reservoir levels.

British Waterways advised that owing to the dry spell during the first part of June, water levels between the Summit and Lock 1 on the Rochdale Canal fell below minimum operational levels, and BW closed the canal over weekend 18th to 20th June to conserve the remaining water supplies. Water levels have been reviewed daily since then and the canal reopened for the present. Boaters intending to navigate down from the summit to Sowerby Bridge are first asked to contact the lock keeper at Tuel Lane Lock or BW's North West customer operations team 01925 847700 for advice.

IWA Head Office Bulletin - July 2004

Calling the Middlewich Samaritan

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On Monday 5th April I collapsed on the towpath whilst lockwheeling at Middlewich. My wife, who was steering our boat at the time, tried to tie the boat up to come to my aid. Luckily the steerer of a passing boat saw what was happening and also came to help. He secured our boat whilst ringing for an ambulance.

This man's prompt action undoubtedly saved my life as we apparently only just reached Leighton hospital at Crewe in time. I had ruptured an aortic aneurysm, and it was touch and go!

We would dearly love to hear from that boater so that we can thank him personally, now that I am back home and making good progress towards recovery.


Reproduced from Waterways World, July 2004 with acknowledgements

Countryside Code

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The government is due to launch a new Countryside Code on 12th July, to replace that first issued in 1951 and extensively revised in 1981. The launch of the new code follows concerns expressed in Parliament that today's countryside visitors are less aware of the Countryside Code and of appropriate behaviour when visiting rural areas. The new Code will also take on board the new duties of the Countryside Agency to produce guidance to visitors and owners over access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

The launch of the Code is due to be accompanied by extensive publicity and a new web site is due to be launched, which will include full details of the new Code.

IWA Head Office Bulletin - July 2004

Annual General Meeting 2004

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In accordance with the Constitution, notice is hereby formally given of the Southampton Canal Society's Annual General Meeting on the 29th July 2004 at Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth Road, Chilworth, Southampton at 7.45pm.

Any member may request an item to be included on the agenda of the AGM by giving at least fourteen days written notice of the item and its nature to the Chairman.

Whilst various papers relating to the forthcoming AGM have been included in this newsletter, it has not proved possible to include the Treasurer and Membership Secretary's Report nor the accounts for the year ended 31 March 2004. These will be available at the AGM.

Send your comments to the Web Site manager (Peter Oates)

© Southampton Canal Society 2004. Except where otherwise indicated, information on these pages may be reproduced provided permission is obtained from the Web Site manager beforehand and due acknowledgement made to the Society.

Page created 30 June 2004 - archived 30 July 2004.

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