BUOYANT TOP AVON TEAM SCOOPS NATIONAL AWARD
Avon Navigation Trust volunteers are feeling super buoyant after scooping top prize in a national competition.
The river squad has been voted Top Team by both a panel of judges and the readers of the Towpath Talk publication.
“Receiving this award is one of the most special moments I’ve enjoyed since I started working with the Trust (ANT) 23 years ago,” says Volunteer Chairman Paul Cronin.
“I am enormously proud of our Mobile Volunteer Team (MVT). We are thrilled to be recognised in this way,” adds ANT’s Volunteer Recruitment Director Nick Farr.
Evesham man Nick headed the drive to attract more volunteers for the Wyre Piddle-based Trust, which looks after the Avon and its boaters.
Numbers have swelled from a loyal handful in recent times to more than 100 this year, with the Avon-loving helpers looking after locks, moorings, support at events and river patrols.
Nick has no problem finding volunteers for the MVT, which is in its third season providing more hands-on support to free up the charity’s engineering squad to get on with the big jobs.
“All I have to do is explain that we’re a friendly bunch on a boat, who have a lot of fun (safely) doing non engineering maintenance... and people are hooked,” smiles Nick, whose team’s latest ticked off job was replacing all 1,000 boards at Pershore’s recreation ground moorings.
“The variety of skills they bring mean that we can tackle just about any job and we’re all learning new talents from each other.”
Towpath Talk launched the Top Team award category to celebrate unsung heroes who have gone that extra mile for their local stretch of towpath, canal or river, waterways association or community boat.
Joint runners-up were The Cotswolds Canals Trust and Welshpool Canal Adopters. Third place was awarded to Daniel Adamson steam ship volunteers and the IWA Northampton Branch.
Editor Janet Richardson presented proud Paul with the framed winners’ certificate at a special event in front of the MVT workboat Jubilant, which now boasts a Top Team plaque.
“The MVT was a clear winner in both votes for our first team award and its work sums up why volunteers are so important to our waterways,” she said.
The happy squad also received a prize of a celebratory canal day out from awards’ sponsor ABC Leisure Group and a £100 cheque, which will be spent on equipment for the team.
“We are delighted to be involved with the awards and it’s great that ANT’s team won. A lot of our boaters enjoy the Avon, which they help to keep looking so lovely,” says Haley Hadley, Sales and Marketing Director at the Alvechurch-based business.
Feeling pretty Jubilant are ANT Volunteer Recruitment Director Nick Farr and Volunteer Chairman Paul Cronin (pictured far right) in front of the workboat that bears its Top Team plaque, with Towpath Talk Editor Janet Richardson (second right) and ABC Leisure Group Sales & Marketing Director Haley Hadley.