2 September 2021

The Inland Waterways Association celebrated its 75th anniversary year at Perdiswell Park in Worcester. The IWA Festival of Water during the August Bank Holiday weekend attracted thousands of eager visitors keen to join in the fun.

Close to 100 boats moored along the towpath for the festival. Traditional working boats and modern narrowboats decked with bunting, flags and flowers attracted a constant stream of admirers.

Visitors also enjoyed the Worcester heritage walk, following the waterways from the centre of Worcester to Perdiswell Park. This included a short length of the River Severn, Diglis Docks and the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

Children had plenty to do in the ‘Find it Do it’ Worcester arena, ‘Wild over Waterways’ marquee and Victorian funfair. The quality of delicious food – from pizzas and doughnuts to stew and irresistible duck fat roasted potatoes – was excellent. The sun brought out queues of people to sample the real ale. Likewise artists in the Entertainments marquee, including local groups, played to full houses.

A fitting celebration

Councillor Adrian Gregson, Deputy Mayor of the City of Worcester, opened the festival on Saturday. He said he was delighted to welcome The Inland Waterways Association back to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, where its formation was first mooted just a few miles away at Tardebigge. Since then, many hundreds of miles of waterways have been restored by the 75 years of campaigning work of IWA.

Volunteers worked tirelessly for the past two years to put on this event – despite it having to be cancelled in 2020 owing to Covid. Paul Rodgers, National Chair of IWA, said: “I am extremely grateful to the team at Worcester City Council for their unwavering support, to the caterers and stall holders who held the faith and to all the volunteers who gave their time and put in so much effort to ensuring the event was such a success.”