THE Canal & River Trust, together with Marsh Christian Trust, have announced the winners of this years’ volunteer awards which recognise and celebrate volunteer excellence along the nation’s waterways.
Now in its fourth year the awards were hosted by Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust and Charles Micklewright, Trustee of the Marsh Christian Trust.
The awards were presented at a celebration event in Birmingham which brought together volunteers from across the country.
The winners from each category are:
Volunteer Ambassador Award – This award recognises those volunteering with the Canal & River Trust in customer facing roles, engaging with the public and promoting the importance of our canals and waterways.
Winner: Tom Misselbrook – volunteer on the Worcester & Birmingham and Droitwich canals and at Gloucester Docks.
Volunteer Specialist Award – This award recognises those who volunteer with the Canal & River Trust within specialist teams such as engineering, hydrology, and marketing. These volunteers contribute expert and technical skills which are a huge asset to the organisation, and often come up with new ways of working.
Winner: Bill Darch – volunteer at the National Waterways museum.
Volunteer Impact Award – This award recognises volunteers with the Canal & River Trust who have made a significant impact through their dedication, ability to bring about changes, and that show drive and enthusiasm for the organisation.
Winner: Michelle Hale – volunteer on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.
Volunteer Leader Award – for volunteers who take on responsibility of leadership, using skills to plan, deliver, promote and celebrate their team’s work.
Winner: Marcus Hill-Jones – who has volunteered with teams in the East Midlands and Yorkshire & North East waterway regions.
Volunteer of Special Merit – This is an additional award for a volunteer who had gone above and beyond in their role and made a special contribution which the judges felt could not be overlooked.
Winner: Imelda Weeks – volunteer in the Trust’s North West waterway region.
The winners have each won a prize of £500 per category which has been kindly donated by the Marsh Christian Trust, a grant-making body that supports environmental, social welfare, arts and heritage charities. Imelda will receive a donation towards a local celebration event with her volunteering team as a gesture of thanks and appreciation.
In addition, to these awards, the Canal & River Trust presented Gold Badges to 97 volunteers who have donated 2,000 or more hours of their time to Trust.
Richard Parry, Chief executive at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We have many amazing volunteers and these awards recognise those that have made an outstanding contribution to helping us to keep our waterways a special place for everyone – boaters and other visitors alike – to enjoy. Last year our volunteers donated in total over 600,000 hours of their time to care for our canals and rivers; this outstanding effort shows how much people across the country value their waterways.
“Recent research shows that spending time by water makes you happier and healthier, and we believe that volunteering with us is good for your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as helping the waterways. I would encourage anyone with a little time and a lot of enthusiasm to come along to their local Canal & River Trust group and get involved. Volunteering with us is a great way to make a difference to your local community whilst also doing yourself a power of good, and we would be delighted to welcome you along.”
Brian Marsh, from the Marsh Christian Trust, said: “We are pleased to be able to work with the Canal & River Trust once again to deliver these awards, recognising those who give their time to volunteer on our nation’s waterways, enhancing their heritage and supporting the wellbeing of those that use them. The four Awards reflect a wide range of volunteering and highlight the dedication and commitment of those who volunteer with the Canal & River Trust. We hope that we can continue to raise the profile of our nation’s waterways and those that give their time to them through these Awards in years to come.”
The awards were judged by a range of representatives from organisations including the Canal & River Trust, the Marsh Christian Trust, national volunteering organisations, and members of the wider charitable sector.