RESTORING a canal is no easy matter, and the restoration of the the Wey & Arun Canal is no exception—over 40 years of it.
Much has been written about the construction and operation of the Wey & Arun Canal but now a new book draws together the efforts over the last four decades to restore the canal to its former glory.
Started in 1970
The Wey-South Project by John Wood MBE records the work started by the Wey & Arun Canal Society in 1970, which is continued today by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, through to the opening of the new B2133 Loxwood Crossing in 2009.
John is well qualified to chart the history of the restoration work, Sally Schupke tells us, as he first became involved in 1971 and was awarded his MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2000 for his work on the canal. His wife, Joy, and their two sons regularly spent their Sundays in the 1970s 'jungle busting' and he has also taken on the roles of honorary secretary, company secretary and, more recently, vice president of the Trust over the last 40 years.
Nobody better qualified
Remarks fellow Trust member Geoff Perks:
"Nobody could be better qualified to tell the story of the canal's restoration. The book presents the history on a year by year basis and one can follow the progress made with each of the restoration projects. It is interesting to learn of the problems encountered in the early stages."
Another Wey & Arun Canal Trust volunteer Peter Foulger added:
"It is to be applauded that John has committed his memories to paper so that we can appreciate how an idea by a small group in 1970 could grow to where we were in 2009 and still to this day be expanding into ever more ambitious projects."
Copies of the book are available from the Canal Centre at Loxwood for £17.50, or by mail order from the Trust office for £22 (cheques payable to W&A Enterprises Ltd, The Granary, Flitchfold Farm, Loxwood, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 0RH).