The work, in north Shropshire, extends the connected Montgomery Canal to within two miles of the Welsh border, and was officially re-opened to Bridge 85 at Crickheath on 2nd June 2023

The Tetlow Cup is an IWA regional trophy for outstanding services to the waterways and this year’s presentation was made at the annual Montgomery Canal Forum in Oswestry on 21st June 2023.

The 8-year long restoration project has seen the Society’s volunteers reconstructing 630 metres of canal channel and towpath across a former peat bog. The section of canal had been disused for nearly eighty years, and in many places the banks had disappeared altogether. The society’s volunteers overcame several major challenges during the work including very poor ground conditions, high water tables, relocation of great crested newts and latterly the Covid lockdowns.

the Society’s chairman, David Carter, said: “Our volunteers have worked tirelessly for eight years on a very complicated piece of canal construction work of a type not normally done by volunteers. In doing so they have overcome a whole range of ecological, construction and logistical challenges.  The fact that they managed to complete the work to deadline, on budget and safely is to their very great credit.

IWA’s Michael Haig said the work has required enthusiasm, dedication and tenacity as well as very high levels of skill by the many volunteers who have given several hundreds of hours to the project.

Michael added: “It has extended the boundaries of works normally considered suitable for volunteers. The Shropshire Union Canal Society and its volunteers are worthy winners for their heroic work over eight years to complete the restoration from Pryces Bridge to Crickheath.

A fresh funding appeal has now been launched to enable the Society to proceed with their next stage of the canal restoration, dubbed ‘Crickheath South’. This will extend the connected navigation south from Crickheath Basin to Schoolhouse Bridge (Bridge 86), where contractors are currently rebuilding the dropped former bridge to allow the canal, and the boats it will carry, to pass underneath the road.

The IWA’s Tetlow Cup is named in memory of a former Commodore of the Lymm Cruising Club and is awarded annually by IWA North West Region to recognise outstanding efforts of those who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to ensure work continues to restore and enhance inland waterways in the UK.

Previous local recipients include Peter Jones formerly ‘Jones the Boats’ at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal and Jim and the late Marion Weir of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust at Wappenshall.

[The photo shows (left to right) Michael Haig (IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales chair), presenting the award to David Carter (chairman and former restoration project manager) of the Society and Tom Fulda (current restoration project manager of the Society), with Cllr Olly Rose, Mayor of Oswestry, looking on – by Alan Wilding]