MR AVON REMEMBERED
Mr Avon - Dudley CB Matthews MBE - would have been delighted that his memorial event is being used to launch his beloved Avon Navigation Trust's new guide. In fact he planned it.
The lifelong promoter and protector of the river left strict instructions to his son, ANT General Manager Clive Matthews, to make sure the celebration of his life would also embrace the new River Avon Navigation & Visitor Guide, which helps raise much-needed funds for the Trust's work.
'Dud' knew what he was doing. Clive has already had over 100 - and rising - requests to attend the event.
The lengthening list includes ANT Patron Timothy West, river users who are grateful for the work he did and representatives from national organisations including the Inland Waterways Association and the Canal & River Trust.
"It is a great comfort to know that my father was so well thought of and that his work and reputation reached so far," says Clive, whose father passed away peacefully on August 12, aged 95.
Long-time volunteer Dud and his late wife Enid were also behind the original Trust Guides. This year's, which includes the new feature Avon Canoe Trails, was the first he'd not been involved with.
Ever since he helped a friend build the 24ft motor cruiser Gauntlet in the 1940s, Dud has been a champion of the waterways.
He joined the IWA and the Lower Avon Navigation Trust in the 1950s, was involved in the restoration of the Lower Avon and then the Upper Avon.
Dud's long list of achievements include being ANT's founder member, director, President Emeritus and Chairman of Reach Masters & Associates.
Tony Hales, Chairman of CRT, commented: "Dudley Mathews was a giant figure in the movement for saving our waterways for future generations. The people around the Avon owe Dudley a particular debt. His influence lives on through his work and his family. We are all thankful for, and celebrate the life of, a great and loved man."
The October 3 Memorial and Celebration event will be held at the Wyre Mill Club, which he helped to found and where his boats were moored.
The River Avon Navigation & Visitor Guide, which includes a foreword by Canal Laureate, Jo Bell, is available from ANT (email email@example.com) and local bookshops and visitors.