Chesterfield Canal Trust gets highest volunteer award

Published: Monday, 18 December 2017

THE Chesterfield Canal Trust has been presented with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017. This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.

The award was presented formally to the Trust by the Duke of Devonshire, on the 16th of December, who was acting on behalf of the Queen in his role at the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire.

Some of its volunteers

The brief ceremony was held at the Trust’s headquarters at Hollingwood Hub before an audience of some of its volunteers. There were other dignitaries in attendance, including the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and the Mayor of Chesterfield.

Robin Stonebridge, Chairman of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, welcomed the Duke and the other guests, saying how proud he was that this honour had been awarded and also how proud he was of the volunteers who had given more than 40,000 hours of their time last year.

Campaigning for the completion

He explained that 12 miles of canal had already been restored along with 37 locks, 11 major road bridges and two marinas. However, nearly nine miles still await restoration. To loud applause, he said that the Trust was campaigning for the completion of this restoration by 2027, the 250th anniversary of the canal’s opening in 1777.

David and Riochard AllsoppThe Duke spoke about his admiration for the Trust and the work it does to get the Chesterfield Canal restored. He wished all the volunteers the very best of luck in the future. He then presented a certificate, signed by Her Majesty The Queen, to David Fox and a domed English Crystal with the QAVS logo insignia to Richard Allsopp. Both David and Richard were original members dating back to 1976. (The photograph depicts David Fox, the Duke of Devonshire, Richard Allsopp.)

Recognising excellence in voluntary activities

The award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.
Besides the awards mentioned above the Trust has permission to use the official QAVS logo and Kath Auton (Membership Secretary) and Richard Allsopp represented the Trust at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in June. After the formalities, all the dignitaries stayed to talk to the volunteers.

The Chesterfield Canal Trust is a charitable company run entirely by volunteers. Its aims are to promote the full restoration and appropriate development of the Chesterfield Canal. It has 1,700 members.

Four trip boats

Amongst many other activities, it runs four trip boats and a promotional trailer. Work Parties take place on the canal every week-end and often during the week. There are many other volunteers doing tasks ranging from canal maintenance, to gardening, to running its shop. It expects to take over 2,000 on its current Santa Special cruises.

All at Queens Award

The photograph shows the formal party—John Baylis (Inland Waterways Association), Peter Moore (Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire), Mrs Liz Archer (Mayoress of Chesterfield), Cllr Maureen Davenport (Mayor of Chesterfield), the Duke of Devonshire, Robin Stonebridge (Chair of Chesterfield Canal Trust), David Fox (Chesterfield Canal Trust), Mrs Annie Hall (High Sheriff of Derbyshire), Cllr Linda Chilton (Chair Derbyshire County Council), Richard Allsopp (Chesterfield Canal Trust).