Steve Swann, of the Grantham Canal Society, talks about its fund-raising efforts and its pride and joy – The Three Shires narrowboat.
The Grantham Canal Society (GCS) has been formed since 1969, both with and without the additional word ‘restoration’ added into its name.
However, restoration is what the GCS is all about. During the earlier years work progressed slowly with many hurdles having to be overcome, but with the help of the British Waterways Board, now the Canal and River Trust, the Inland Waterways Association and the Waterways Recovery Group, work really started in the 1980s.
In 1997 the Canal Partnership was set up to co-ordinate the efforts of all the organisations involved and since then extensive progress has been made.
Funds for the restoration, whether they are provided from national sources or local authorities, are invariably granted on a back to back, or matched fund basis.
This means that if they offer an amount of money the society must source the corresponding amount either as money or volunteer labour or a combination of both.
Volunteers are both trained and equipped by the GCS and are responsible for providing the labour for large projects as well as a good deal of day-to-day general maintenance work.
With over 40 regular volunteers involved in general maintenance it comes as no surprise that where there are new projects in the offing, that number will increase significantly and that is why the society is looking for a volunteer co-ordinator at present.
Our main fund-raiser is The Three Shires trip boat. This is a 35ft narrowboat purpose designed to a GCS specification and includes a fitted kitchen and toilet. Bespoke seating adds the finishing touch to complete a well found, comfortable and attractive little narrowboat.
She was launched in April 2010 at Denton slipway. The total cost from design of launch was just under £35,000. All this money was raised by sponsorship from over 50 generous individuals with two major sponsors, namely Lincolnshire County Council and Anthony Wilkinson. The society is indeed indebted to everyone concerned.
The Three Shires has a fully trained skipper and crew on board and offers pre-booked cruises of two- to four-hour duration along the section from Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir towards the A1. Short trips are available at Bank Holidays to provide a taster for those wishing to see a little of the canal and what it has to offer. Our next short trips take place over the August Bank Holiday on Sunday 24 and Monday 25.
For further details, please visit our website www.granthamcanal.org, or The Three Shires Facebook page.