Over the past nearly eight years, and despite repeated recent lockdowns, the dedicated husband and wife team (pictured holding the Tetlow Cup on the skew bridge at Wappenshall Wharf, near Telford) have worked tirelessly at Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust (SNCT) work parties in Wappenshall Wharf and in Shrewsbury, Newport and also Norbury in Staffordshire as well as at several WRG Canal Camps.

Not content with regularly getting their hands dirty at work parties, Jim and Marion have also been busy helping to update the SNCT website as well as improving the Trust’s social media presence.

In addition, the couple have developed the health and safety system used by SNCT and have written and published a Work Party Leader’s Manual for the Trust which has been key to enabling volunteers to continue working at Wappenshall throughout much of the pandemic.

In nominating Jim and Marion, who live in Telford, Shropshire, for the award, Bernie Jones, chairman of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust, said: “They have given their all to the restoration of our canals as regular attendees at all our work sites and also they have worked proactively behind the scenes sourcing materials and tools – often at their own expense before later reclaiming.” Bernie added: “Jim and Marion have worked hard to build up our Social Media presence and continue to do so. There is really nothing more they could possibly fit into their lives to help progress our restoration.”

Mike Haig, chairman of IWA Shrewsbury District and North Wales Branch, presented the cup to Jim and Marion and congratulated them at a Wappenshall work party in April 2022. The couple were totally surprised and were left somewhat speechless! Later Jim said: “It was a real surprise for Marion and I to receive this award from IWA.” Many fellow SNCT volunteers and others have added their congratulations on Facebook saying the award was’ very well deserved’.

The 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 efforts of those who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to ensure work continues to restore and enhance inland waterways in the UK. A previous local awardee was Peter Jones shortly after his retirement from ‘Jones the Boats’ at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal.

Wappenshall Wharf is a three-way junction of the old 1797 Shrewsbury tub boat canal with the 1835 Newport Canal which linked to the national network at Norbury Junction on the (now-named) Shropshire Union Canal. The extensive recent voluntary work by Trust volunteers there has poured a concrete ‘floor’ and retaining walls to the huge East Basin prior to re-watering. The two-storey warehouse is also currently being renovated for use as function rooms and café.