New chairman for Canal & River Trust

Published: Thursday, 04 August 2022

DAVID ORR, CBE, IS  proposed for appointment as next Canal & River Trust chairman.

This is subject to formal approval at the meeting of the trust's council in September and subsequent endorsement by fellow board members the following day.

DavidOrrProvide direction

David will join the trust for an initial term of three years in the unpaid role and alongside the charity’s other volunteer board directors, will lead the trust’s decisions on policy and strategy, legal oversight of its wide range of statutory duties, and provide direction to the chief executive and his team.

David joins the trust following a 30 years career working in the housing association sector at chief executive level where he lobbied for, and worked to provide, good quality homes and great neighbourhoods for people on low incomes first at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and then as chief executive of the National Housing Federation. Since retiring from executive positions in 2018, David has continued in non-executive roles, including chairing the Clarion Housing Association.

Walks the towpaths

He often takes daily walks along the network and has enjoyed canal boat holidays. He will replace Allan Leighton, who steps down having completed his three terms on the Canal & River Trust board, including serving as Chairman since 2015.

 Dame Jenny Abramsky, Deputy 'Chair' of the trust and 'Chair' of the its Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee, comments:

“We are delighted to welcome David to the trust and thank Allan for his powerful leadership and unwavering commitment over the past eight years which has seen the trust take great strides forward as a new charity.

 “David’s understanding of the trust’s purpose and value to society, together with his passion for campaigning and experience of engagement in political circles, will be vitally important as we work alongside our partners in government to secure the support and funding needed to protect and preserve the canal network and the range of significant benefits it provides to people and communities.”

Involved in care and upkeep

 David Orr comments:

“The canal system across England and Wales is the finest network of industrial heritage in the world, still navigated by boats 250 years after it was built. The creation of the Canal & River Trust ten years ago has been transformational in the way the waterways are cared for—with more people and more diverse communities using them and involved in their care and upkeep than ever before.