Top honour for Wey and Arun Canal Trust

JPOS Mid canal'Sally Schupke and Eric Walker (centre) receiving the Community award certificate, and another showing Loxwood Lock and Bridge, the subject of the award and a Commendation in the Design & Construction Category.
JPOS Mid canal'Sally Schupke and Eric Walker (centre) receiving the Community award certificate, and another showing Loxwood Lock and Bridge, the subject of the award and a Commendation in the Design & Construction Category.

The Wey and Arun Canal Trust (WACT) has received top recognition at the 2011 Waterways Renaissance Awards, known as the ‘Oscars of the Waterways’, for its Loxwood lock and bridge project.

The project has been named the outright winner in the community category, and also received a commendation in the category for design and construction.

The Waterways Renaissance Awards, run by the Waterways Trust, recognise exceptional projects that use canals and rivers to enrich people’s lives across the UK.

WACT was up against a number of high-profile, professionally-run projects in these national awards.

WACT chairman Sally Schupke, along with project manager Eric Walker, received the award at the ceremony in Birmingham.

“We are overjoyed to receive further recognition for our lock and bridge in Loxwood,” said Sally. “The judges were particularly impressed by the fact this was an entirely volunteer-led project.”

Loxwood lock and bridge were designed and built by WACT volunteers.

The new lock was necessary because the level of the canal had to be lowered so boats could pass under Loxwood High Street, part of the busy B2133 road between Wisborough Green and Alfold.

The lowering entailed reducing the rise of the lock at Brewhurst, and building the new Loxwood lock on the other side of the road crossing to bring the water level back to its original height.

A total of 19 outstanding projects along canals and rivers in the UK were recognised by the 2011 awards, which were sponsored by CPC Civils, Halcrow, May Gurney and Morrison Construction.

Other winners included an innovative engineering and construction scheme in the Olympic Park, London, a pioneering environmental initiative on Merseyside and a project to promote the rich heritage of the Crinan Canal in Mid-Argyll, Scotland.

Roger Hanbury, chief executive of the Waterways Trust, said: “This is the ninth year of the Waterway Renaissance Awards and it is truly inspiring to see that, even in these very challenging economic times, people and organisations are continuing to work together to realise the benefits of our canals and rivers for communities across the UK.”