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Fund Britain's Waterways - Past Events

Fund Britain’s Waterways (FBW) held three events in 2023, plus a May Day weekend of activities in early 2024, followed by a second Campaign Cruise past the Houses of Parliament.  There was also a Questions & Answers session with Canal & River Trust, in April 2024.

13th August 2023 – Boat Gathering in Birmingham followed by a campaign tour to various events by historic boat Atlas and Malus.

27th September 2023 – Save Gloucester’s Waterways Campaign Cruise and Gathering

14th November 2023 – Campaign Cruise past the Houses of Parliament

10th April 2024 – Questions & Answers Session with Canal & River Trust

4th to 6th May 2024 – May Day Bank Holiday weekend of activities

8th May 2024 – Second Campaign Cruise past the Houses of Parliament

Check out the full video collection of Fund Britain’s Waterways events on YouTube.

Also see our Flying the Flag page – please send in your photos to [email protected]

Fund Britain's Waterways - Past Events

Second Campaign Cruise past the Houses of Parliament – 8th May 2024

Boaters attending IWA’s Canalway Cavalcade were invited to join the Campaign Cruise past the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 8 May, as the culmination of the weekend of action. Parliamentarians were encouraged to view the event and express their support for the continued maintenance of the waterways to enable them to keep on delivering economic, health, environmental and well-being benefits.

A flotilla of 20 boats  protested outside the Palace of Westminster to demand increased government support for canal and river navigation. ​ The boats included narrowboats, commercial freight vessels, sea kayaks, and privately owned narrowboats. ​ The protest coincided with a train strike and other unforeseen circumstances that prevented some supporters from attending. ​

Read the press release.





[The photo shows boats with banner amassed outside Parliament, with MPs observing from the waterside terrace – by Bob Fox]

May Day Bank Holiday Weekend of Action – 4th to 6th May 2024

May Day Bank Holiday weekend (4th to 6th May 2024) saw a range of events to highlight the impact of insufficient funding for Britain’s 5,000 miles of inland waterways.

Events for the weekend of action took place across the country on waterways managed by different inland navigation authorities. It coincided with IWA’s annual Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice in London, which this year was themed on Fund Britain’s Waterways.

Events included:

3rd to 4th May Ripon Motor Boat Club – Campaign Cruise to Ripon

3rd to 4th May, Electrika at Brinklow Marina

4th May, Gazebo and stall besides Johnsons Hillock locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

4th May, Swarkestone Boat Club cruise to Shobnall Fields, Burton upon Trent.

4th May, Fradley Junction, outside the Laughing Duck café (IWA Lichfield Branch to have an FBW stall)

4th to 6th May, IWA Canalway Cavalcade

4th to 6th May, Norbury Canal Festival

5th May, Anglo-Welsh Open Day at Great Haywood (IWA Lichfield Branch to have a Branch/FBW stall)

5th May, Broads Society rally at Acle Bridge, to support sustainable funding for the Broads, since Defra’s core grant provides nothing for the navigation function.  See Press Release issued by the Broads Society on 1st May.

See the full photo report here.

[The photo shows IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch’s stall on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, where passers by were lobbied for their support]

Canal & River Trust Questions and Answers Session – 10th April 2024

Fund Britain’s Waterways held a Questions & Answers session on 10th April 2024 at Hatton, which provided an opportunity for the Trust’s chief executive, Richard Parry, to explain to delegates the funding issues that it faces and to answer questions raised by waterways supporters.

Les Etheridge opened the meeting by thanking Richard Parry, Chief Executive, and Susie Mather, Director of Communications and External Relations of Canal & River Trust for agreeing to participate in the session. Les added that FBW appreciated this and believed it would be helpful in supporting the common desire to see the waterways funded at a level which enables them to be properly maintained.

Fund Britain’s Waterways member organisations had been asked to submit questions, of which many were in similar areas. The final list of questions submitted to CRT in advance of the meeting had brought together those submitted in terms of common themes and divided into three broad categories Value, Current Strategy and Future Plans.

A full list of questions and summary of the answers given, is available here.  This document has been checked for factual correctness with Canal & River Trust, but has been produced by the Fund Britain’s Waterways Steering Group.  A full recording of the session is available here.

Campaign Cruise past the Houses of Parliament, Westminster – 14th November 2023

Campaign Gathering at Gloucester – 30th September 2023

On 30th September, Gloucester Main Dock was filled with 70 boats, of which 30 arrived in procession 8 miles from Saul Junction, finally through Llanthony Bridge to start the proceedings. Many of historical significance they soon moored up making a great spectacle for the assembled press, local MP and senior members of Waterways organisations, local and national. Even the Severn Bore made it a special day, a 5 star, first in 4 years, but unfortunately prevented promised boats from Tewkesbury and Upton upon Severn.

Read the full report.   Scroll down this page for the video…

[The photo shows part of the procession of boats passing light vessel Sula – by Paul Nichols]

Boats arriving at Gloucester Rally – by Tony Aldridge

Boats gathered for Gloucester Rally – by Tony Aldridge

Campaigners with placards at Gloucester Rally


Narrowboats Atlas and Malus on Tour – August 2023

Birmingham Canal Navigations Society’s working boats Atlas and Malus undertook a ‘Fund Britain’s Waterways on tour’ trip around the Birmingham Canal Navigations. The boats started at the Fund Britain’s Waterways Campaign Cruise, which took place outside the Mailbox in Birmingham on 13th August.

It was here that Atlas and Malus joined approximately 50 other boats to stage a demonstration in support of the FBW campaign which calls upon national and local government to act now and protect the public benefit and natural capital of our waterways.

The next stop for Atlas and Malus was the Brownhills Canal Festival which took place from 19th – 20th August. The event, which is organised by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, took place on the Wyrley & Essington Canal at Brownhills in the Black Country. For Atlas and Malus, the next step of the journey involved cruising on the Birmingham Canal Navigations from Birmingham city centre to Brownhills. They stopped at Titford Pumphouse and also moored overnight in Wolverhampton on their way to Brownhills Canal Festival.

Following Brownhills, Atlas and Malus continued onwards IWA’s Festival of Water 2023 which was held in Pelsall over the August Bank Holiday weekend. While moored at the event on the Wyrley & Essington Canal, Atlas and Malus received a great deal of interest from festival goers who stopped by to admire these impressive boats and to learn more about the Fund Britain’s Waterways campaign. They also welcomed members of the public aboard to have a look inside the traditional working boats.

The end of August didn’t mean the end of the voyage for these two working boats however, as they continued the tour by attending the Black Country Boating Festival which took place in early September. It is an annual event which takes place at the Bumble Hole Nature Reserve on the Dudley No2 Canal. Throughout the duration of their voyage, Atlas and Malus sported the distinctive FBW boat banners and helped to raise awareness about the Fund Britain’s Waterways campaign – not only at the events but also while en-route to each location! We thank the BCN Society for their support of the Fund Britain’s Waterways campaign and for allowing Atlas and Malus to take #FBWonTour. Thank you also to the crew members that took part including: Steve King (Skipper), Mike Rolfe, Steve Melia and John Holian on Atlas and Mike Paine, Ann Wild and Phillip Wild on Malus.

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