New waterways Charity launched

On July 2nd 2012, after a remarkably short time since original concept – a period of less than 3 years including the successful passage of primary legislation through Parliament – a purpose-built new charity – The Canal & River Trust formally took over the responsibility and management of most of the navigable inland waterways in in England & Wales from British Waterways, a government body.

Taking immediate advantage of its charitable status, he new charity has announced details of its ‘Friends’ initiative with a number of familiar faces of a number of celebrities amongst the first to show their support for the new charity ahead of its launch later this summer.

Distinguished British Actor David Suchet OBE, famed for his role as fastidious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, is a dedicated and vocal waterways supporter and long-time boat owner.

David commented: “Once on a canal boat, you get a real sense of nature around you, even in cities. They offer peace and tranquillity in a very hectic world. I am delighted to be one of the first ‘Friends’ of the Canal & River Trust and to help protect this unique environment.”

Miranda Krestovnikoff is a familiar face on television, presenting wildlife and conservation items for programmes including The One Show and Coast. Miranda is also a writer and a qualified diver.

Miranda said: “Our waterways provide a haven for people and wildlife and I am delighted that, as a Friend of the Canal & River Trust, I will be able to help protect this precious environment for future generations to enjoy.”

John Craven’s television career has spanned 40 years and he still appears on Countryfile investigating issues affecting the British countryside.

John said: “Over the years I have explored many canals. I grew up visiting the Five Rise flight of locks at Bingley on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and taking a narrowboat across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct left me lost for words. As a Friend of the Canal & River Trust I am helping to ensure that more people can explore, experience and enjoy our waterways just as I have, for many years to come.”

Timothy West, a renowned actor from stage and screen, is passionate about boating and can often be seen on his narrowboat with wife Prunella Scales.

Timothy said: The Canal & River Trust is there to protect, make available, and spread the word about, the wonderful system of rivers and canals throughout the UK and I am proud to give it my support”.

‘Friends’ of the Canal & River Trust will receive a host of benefits including: a ‘Cool Canals’ guidebook offering inspiration for days out, a ‘Friends’ card which gives exclusive offers and discounts to museums and attractions across the waterways, regular e-mail updates and a tri-annual magazine, full of exciting new ways to enjoy the UK’s canals.

From as little as £3.00 per month for individuals and £5.00 per month for families, the Canal & River Trust’s ‘Friends’ scheme is open to everyone to enjoy. Every penny donated by ‘Friends’ of the Canal & River Trust will be spent directly on work to conserve, restore, enhance and educate people about the UK’s waterways.

Robin Evans, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust commented: “Our canals are an important part of our nation’s heritage which are used more today than at any time in their 200-year history.

“We know that 91% of the population already value the canals as a national treasure. By becoming a Friend of the Canal & River Trust anyone can now contribute directly to help preserve and maintain these precious waterways for future generations”

For more information on becoming a ‘Friend’ of the Canal & River Trust go to: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/get-involved/donate-now

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