The public appeal for the restoration of the Montgomery Canal – under the banner of “Restore the Montgomery Canal!” – was successfully launched on 26 April by the High Sheriff of Shropshire, Mr Charles Lillis.
The Appeal is to raise funds to restore the canal beyond Crickheath, the end of the current Lottery-funded restoration. Volunteers plan to work on the dry section of the canal through the village of Pant to the Welsh border at Llanymynech. This section includes a disused railway embankment, which volunteers of the Inland Waterways Association’s Waterway Recovery Group have already prepared for removal, and Schoolhouse bridge on a local road south of Crickheath – the last bridge obstruction in Shropshire – where a volunteer engineer has been preparing plans for reconstruction.
Chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust Michael Limbrey said, “We are delighted with the launch of the appeal. Our guests showed a great deal of support for the restoration, recognising that the revived canal will be a valuable and attractive part of the national waterway network and a great asset to the local community.
“A generous donor has offered to match what we raise from the public as part of this Appeal, up to £60,000 over five years. With a 25% tax rebate by Gift Aid, a £20 donation is worth no less than £50 to the Appeal.
“We are asking the public to put a £2 coin – at least! – into a bucket. There are two miles of dry canal bed to restore and two miles of coins would raise about £250,000 – although full restoration to Llanymynech will cost more than that.
“Llanymynech is already home to a unique heritage area celebrating the limestone quarrying industry which the canal was built to serve and the restored canal will be a great asset to visitors and the local community.
“The canal towpath is already open throughout the length of the canal, and on 6 May will be busy with the annual Montgomery Canal Triathlon, where visitors from across the country will cycle, walk and canoe the 35-mile canal. It’s a great family event, fully booked again this year.”
The Appeal has already got off to an excellent start : £118,000 has been raised so far, helped enormously by £70,000 from the Tony Harrison legacy fund administered by the Inland Waterways Association. Just before the Launch, £5,000 was received from a private trust – subsequently confirmed to be an annual gift. Another supporter handed over a personal cheque for £1,000 at the event.
More information about the Appeal and how to contribute on www.RestoreTheMontgomeryCanal.uk
PICTURE © Harry Arnold, Waterway Images
L to R: John Dodwell (Chairman of Mont Canal Partnership), Mrs Sue Thompson (High Sheriff of Powys), Michael Limbrey (Chairman, Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust), Mr Charles Lillis (High Sheriff of Shropshire), Sir Robert Atkins MEP (Chairman, Inland Waterways Association, North-West Region).