ON THE scorching-hot final day of the summer term 2023, 40 pupils from Berkhamsted Boys School in Hertfordshire set to work painting infrastructure along the Grand Union Canal, next to the school’s Castle Campus in the town, says IWA’s Amy Tillson.
The day, organised through the Inland Waterways Association working in collaboration with the Canal & River Trust, formed part of the annual House Service Day, time set aside from normal lessons to make a difference for good in the local community.
After a health and safety briefing led by Jack Prothero from CRT, the boys were introduced to the history of the Grand Union Canal and work of the CRT and IWA by Chiltern Branch member and geography teacher, Paul Greenhalgh. Under the supervision of school and CRT staff, the boys divided into small groups, before walking to five sites along a mile-long stretch of the nearby canal.
In the space of just a few hours, the aesthetic of the towpath environment was transformed, as the boys demonstrated leadership and worked collaboratively to paint mooring bollards, railings and paddle gear. One Year 8, who worked on painting the Castle Street footbridge (141), commented on how satisfying it was to renew a piece of infrastructure used by hundreds of people in the school community and wider public each day.
It is hoped the students’ efforts have been appreciated by waterways users throughout the summer season; they look forward to new projects to work on in the coming year!