Buy a brick and help Grantham Canal become a top attraction

Work is well under way on refurbishing lock 15 on the Grantham Canal.

Work is well under way on refurbishing lock 15 on the Grantham Canal.

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Major restoration work is taking place on Grantham Canal aimed at turning it into one of the region’s top attractions.

And a Grantham store is putting all its weight behind the canal by making it its charity of the year.

Debbie Wrightson, manager of Sainsbury's in Grantham, holds one of the important bricks which will be part of the restoration of lock 15 on Grantham Canal. She is pictured with Sainsbury's staff and canal volunteers.

Debbie Wrightson, manager of Sainsbury's in Grantham, holds one of the important bricks which will be part of the restoration of lock 15 on Grantham Canal. She is pictured with Sainsbury's staff and canal volunteers.

Sainsbury’s customers voted it to be the Grantham store’s charity, with money going to its Buy a Brick campaign. The campaign should be a big boost for the Grantham Canal Society which wants to see all the locks on the waterway restored so that the canal can become an attraction for all kinds of activities.

The campaign wants people to buy a brick for £1 or they can donate £25 and have their name put on a brick which will go into a wall at lock 15, which is currently undergoing restoration. Work has begun on restoring four locks – 15, 14, 13 and 12 – which will complete the Woolsthorpe flight. That will require 30,000 bricks to line the locks and so the campaign begins in earnest to raise the money for all those bricks.

Working together to restore the canal, Grantham Canal Society and the Canal and River Trust hope work on lock 15 will be finished by early next year, with work then continuing on the other locks to complete the flight of seven locks at Woolsthorpe.

Grantham Sainsbury’s manager Debbie Wrightson said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work with the Grantham Canal Society and make a difference in the community.

A pin from the original gates at lock 15 on the Grantham canal has been exposed by the resotration work.

A pin from the original gates at lock 15 on the Grantham canal has been exposed by the resotration work.

“It’s absolutely amazing to see so many people working on it and a great way to launch our Buy a Brick campaign.”

Mike Stone, chairman of Grantham Canal Society, said: “It’s really great that a local organisation is giving its support because we need to finish this work. We now have a strong link into Grantham and the people of Grantham are being really supportive.”

The work site at Stenwith is busy mainly with volunteers rebuilding the walls of lock 15. It has been completely drained and last week saw a delivery of 72 cubic metres of concrete laid as part of the walls. A total of 400 cubic metres of concrete will be needed in five separate pours to complete the lock. This is being provided by Tarmac from its cement works at Barnstone at a discounted price, saving £4,000 on the cost.

David Lyneham-Brown, of the executive committee at Grantham Canal Society, said: “We are very grateful for the support we’ve had from Tarmac. The amount of concrete required to restore this lock is extensive and is a significant cost of the project. It is fantastic that Tarmac is supporting us again and it means we should be able to complete these lock walls by October.”

A view of the work being carried out on lock 15 on the Grantham Canal.

A view of the work being carried out on lock 15 on the Grantham Canal.

A vital part of the work being carried out on the canal are the volunteers. Most people working on the restoration are unpaid volunteers who get involved in all kinds of work, from bricklaying, engineering, administration and publicity to being a ranger or helping crew the society’s own boat, The Three Shires, which takes people on cruises along the canal.

The weekend of August 5 is the local charity weekend for the Grantham Canal Society and they are aiming to do bag packing and a tombola in the Sainsbury’s store. Then from September 9 to 11 the store is holding its Big Bike Ride and the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks will be supporting the store on the Friday by cycling or rowing on static machines to raise money.

To support the campaign call into Sainsbury’s or go to www.granthamcanal.org where you can find out more about the canal and volunteering opportunities.

Debbie Wrightson, manager of Sainsbury's in Grantham, sits in the cab at the work site at lock 15. She is pictured with Mike Stone, chairman of Grantham Canal Society.

Debbie Wrightson, manager of Sainsbury's in Grantham, sits in the cab at the work site at lock 15. She is pictured with Mike Stone, chairman of Grantham Canal Society.

The site where lock 15 on the Grantham Canal is being restored.

The site where lock 15 on the Grantham Canal is being restored.