27 September 2022

Winners of the Inland Waterways Association National Awards were announced at this year’s AGM. The awards are presented annually to volunteers and groups who have made a significant impact through the work they do and their overall commitment to IWA. Please join us in congratulating the winners of the 2022 awards:

Cyril Styring Trophy

This is the Association’s premier award. It is presented to an IWA member who has, in the opinion of trustees, made an outstanding contribution in furthering the Association’s campaigns. The recipient of this year’s Cyril Styring Trophy is John Fevyer.

We think that it is fair to say that due to John’s efforts over a prolonged period of time, IWA has been able to reliably promote its campaigns all over the country in a way that would not have been possible without his superhuman and consistently reliable efforts.

John has worked tirelessly for many years to ensure IWA has a presence at events such as Canalway Cavalcade, Festival of Water (and its predecessor National Waterways Festivals), IWA Campaign Festivals , Trailboat Festivals, AGMs and also at non-IWA events such as the London Boat Show, Boat and Caravan shows at the NEC in Birmingham, the Crick Boat Show, the Braunston Historic Boat show, the Rickmansworth Festival and various other events. John joined IWA in 1970 and has worked at IWA events every year since he attended Earls Court Boat show in 1972!

He ensures that the appropriate display panels and equipment arrive at an event in good time and frequently works long hours to load, drive and unload the hire van and then, after a drive of 2-3 hours, assists local volunteers to set up marquees, display stands and sales items such as boxes of books and maps. He then does all of this in reverse at the end of a show!

Christopher Power Award

An award for a person, society or trust who has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway. This year, we presented the award to Terry Cavender from Buckingham Canal Society.

Terry regularly organises and attends up to two work parties per week. This involves preparing plant and material for tasks as well as obtaining machinery for the society.  He trains members of the society to operate this machinery while also proposing them for courses.

Terry chairs regular committee meetings and attends various events throughout the year to promote the canals such as council meetings, college/work/volunteering talks, and civic events. He liaises with Canal & River Trust, local councils and other bodies to promote and apply for permissions to further the restoration of the Buckingham Canal. Terry also develops and organises work days on the canal for companies and organisations. He is also a member of IWA’s Restoration Hub‘s High Level Panel.

Branch Achievement Award

This award is for the IWA branch which has made the greatest progress and achievement in promoting the Association’s aims and objectives during the past year. The Branch Achievement Award went to IWA Lichfield Branch this year although there were many strong contenders including West Country, North Staffordshire and South Cheshire, Northampton and the newly invigorated West Riding Branch with their campaigning on Salterhebble Lock.

IWA Lichfield Branch has a strong team who work in conjunction with Canal & River Trust to cut back the off-side vegetation once a week over the winter months. Their Planning Officer responds to 200+ planning matters per year and is the lead on HS2 for IWA . The branch has close links and donates money to all the canal restoration societies in their area. Several branch members man the national IWA sales and recruiting stand at various venues around the country: Crick Boat Show, Festival of Water and Canalway Cavalcade. Members actively recruit new supporters for IWA within their branch area and have regular monthly meetings over the wintertime. They also organise walks at least 6 times per year for members and non-members, and publish an interesting branch magazine every quarter. Above all, the members of Lichfield branch enjoy themselves!

Richard Bird Medals

The Richard Bird Medals were presented to members whose efforts and support are considered to have brought significant benefit to the Association over a sustained period. The 2022 award recipients are as follows:

David Carrington

David joined the Finance Committee in 2009 and became a member of the Investment Working Group, which he has subsequently chaired for the last 10 years. His financial advice and experience have been invaluable to IWA. David has also been a director of Essex Waterways Limited since 2013.

Mike Elwell and Jane Elwell

Mike and Jane Elwell were part of the supplies team for the old National Festival for several years. They have since been key members of the Festival of Water team since 2014, where Mike looked after finances until 2018. Jane has taken on various roles over the years including Supplies Director from 2014 and then Chair from 2017.

Sue Schwieso

Sue has recently retired from IWA Kent & East Sussex Branch committee. She joined the committee in 2005 where she immediately offered to take the vacant role of Social Secretary. She typically organised a social event every two months from September to May, with free entry to members of all waterway groups and to the public at large. Events were mostly funded by raffles to be financially neutral. Sue organised a variety of venues for the event, located throughout the wider branch area. Several group visits were arranged to places including the Royal Gunpowder Works, the Cross Ness Steam Pumping Station and a meal and boat trip up the River Rother to Bodiam. Sue has also been an active member of the Thames and Medway Canal Association with her husband.

John Hawkins

John has been a director of Waterway Recovery Group for over 30 years, during which time he has organised printed materials with help from his wife Tess (who has now sadly passed away). This has involved physically printing and collating not only Navvies, but all WRG’s leaflets from his garden shed up until very recently! John has also worked on very many WRG weekends and Camps on restoration projects throughout the country.

Mike Slade

Mike moved to Bridgwater around 2013 and it wasn’t long before he joined IWA West Country Branch and subsequently became the Volunteer Co-ordinator. Under Mike’s leadership the work parties went from strength to strength and have now recovered completely from the hiatus caused by Covid. Mike manages almost 100 registered volunteers and runs between 2 or 3 work parties every week at either the Bridgwater or Taunton ends of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal or at Langport. The Branch has two 5-mile adoption agreements with Canal & River Trust and an agreement with Somerset County Council for the volunteer work at Bridgwater Docks. Mike also runs a separate Facebook page for the volunteers, which has more than 400 followers. Mike and his volunteers have won a number of awards and many accolades for their work. Their recent awards include the Keep Sedgemoor Tidy Award  as well as an award from the Canal & River Trust for the branch achieving 25,000 hours of volunteer work to date.