An ambition to hold a big community event on a stretch of the Grantham canal was revealed this week.
A festival on the waterway on the Earlesfield estate is being suggested by a group of volunteers keen to make the most of the area.
Community leaders are hoping to form The Grantham and Earlesfield Canal Society with the aim of maintaining and further improving the waterway, which has just undergone a major clean-up.
During a month-long project, diggers were brought on to the canal between Earlesfield Lane and the A1 by contractors to clear rubbish, including bicycles and shopping trolleys.
Thick weeds and other vegetation was also removed from the water and canal bank as part of the work carried out for the district council.
Now the fledgling Earlesfield Canal Society is appealing for volunteers to help turn the former eyesore into a delightful open space for the whole community to enjoy.
Jim Wheeldon, who lives in Stathern Walk overlooking the waterway, is one of three local people spearheading the new organisation.
He said: “Our first job is to appeal for volunteers to help keep the place tidy for the benefit of everyone.
“We have already seen an increase in the amount of wildlife here since the work was completed.
“I have seen a couple of herons, and there has been a big increase in the number of ducks, which are now able to swim in the water. There have also been buzzards flying overhead.
“It is very encouraging that since the litter was cleared hardly any new rubbish seems to have been dumped, but we need to make sure it stays that way.”
Local councillor Charmaine Morgan says maintenance will be a vital task for the society, but she hopes lots of people with other expertise and interests will come forward to help develop the canal as a major attraction for locals as well as visitors.
She believes the canal is a valuable asset to the area for many reasons, including its history, wildlife and ecology, as a tourist and business attraction and for leisure and recreation.
She says a festival to celebrate all these features could be an exciting focus in the future for the canal society.
She said: “This part of the canal was allowed to get in a terrible state and we hope that by working with the community we can make sure it is not allowed to happen again.
“As well as people prepared to help keep the canal clean, I hope we will be joined by birdwatchers, anglers, local history enthusiasts, artists, nature lovers . . . in fact all sorts of people interested in making this a wonderful resource for the whole community.”
Also taking a leading role with the society is Jeff Mawood, secretary of Grantham Angling Association.
Anyone who would like to volunteer to support the canal society, can call Jeff on 07827 722885, Charmaine on 01476 574748, or Jim on 07752 619617, or email email@example.com