IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch

1 October 2023

Written by

Alan Wilding

Arranged and hosted by IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch to publicise the canal network, the exhibition also featured displays by three other local canal groups, the Shropshire Union Canal Society, the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust and the Friends of the Montgomery Canal.

One of the organisers Alan Wilding said: “We were all very pleased that Lezley joined us and she engaged with all the exhibitors before posing for a group photograph with some of the IWA team.” Councillor Picton, who recently spoke at the official opening of the reconstructed section of the Montgomery Canal at Crickheath said, “Our canals provide so many opportunities for us to get out into our lovely countryside whether it be on the water or walking the towpaths. I will continue to support the restoration of our canals and look forward to further visits in the future.”

Michael Limbrey, President of the Branch and also chair of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, commented that Cllr Picton, together with Craig Williams, MP for Montgomeryshire, had helped establish the new cross-border grouping, the Marches Forward Partnership. The partnership, between Shropshire, Powys and other neighbouring authorities, aims to encourage cross border economic activities of mutual benefit. Another exhibitor David Carter, of the Shropshire Union Canal Society, said he was pleased to hear Lezley tell him, during her visit to the exhibition, that the Montgomery restoration is Shropshire’s number one project in this respect. And Michael highlighted the fact that the Government’s recent Levelling Up investment in Powys has not been matched in Shropshire despite there being only two miles left to restore in England.

Co-organiser of the exhibition, Susan Wilding, said she was pleased that the IWA and the other three groups had been able to co-ordinate such a comprehensive presentation of local waterways and added: “It was good to hear so many positive comments about our canals from visitors and also to receive direct support in the form of donations and purchases of our 2024 waterways calendar.

[The photo shows people visiting the exhibition – by Alan Wilding]

Alan Wilding said: “The exhibition day also allowed us to discuss IWA’s vital campaigning work including its current national campaign, Protect Our Waterways and the multi-organisation Fund Britain’s Waterways, which seeks to persuade the government to increase its recently announced, inadequate future funding package for Britain’s waterways network.”

Susan added: “The Abbey Station has been a wonderful venue for this event and we are extremely grateful to the Shrewsbury Railway Heritage Trust for facilitating use of their premises. Our thanks are also due to our three canal groups whose plethora of exhibits overflowed into the station yard”.

There is a short video on our Branch Facebook page: (you will need to scroll back to its 23 September 2023 posting).

[The photo shows  Susan Wilding (branch committee member), Philipa Bursey (branch secretary), Michael Limbrey (branch president) –  Lezley Picton (leader of Shropshire Council) – Mike Haig  (branch chair)  at the exhibition  –  by Alan Wilding]