Generous donations fund new maintenance boat for Grand Western Canal rangers

Posted on: 23 July 2015

Rangers at Devon County Council’s Grand Western Canal are celebrating today after receiving a new work boat donated by generous residents.

The Friends of the Grand Western Canal bought the new boat and outboard engine with money raised following the breaching of the Halberton embankment in 2012.

The boat, which is very stable and virtually indestructible, will be used  by the canal’s rangers for accessing offside banks to carry out inspections and maintenance work including clearing debris and recovering fishing tackle lost in the branches of trees so it doesn’t cause harm to the wildlife. It will also be used to deliver staff and equipment to locations along the canal without vehicle access.

Rangers will also be able to transport the boat by road to any part of the canal, so will be able to respond quickly and efficiently during emergencies.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for the Grand Western Canal, said:

“The canal is a popular visitor attraction, and is well loved by both tourists and residents.

“We value the support of the Friends of the Grand Western Canal group in helping us promote and protect one of Devon’s best natural assets, and their generous donation is gratefully received.

“This boat will help our canal rangers continue their excellent work in managing and maintaining this beautiful canal for everyone to enjoy for many years to come.”

Chair of the Friends of the Grand Western Canal group, Robert Hodgson, said:

“This wonderful little boat is the first donation by all the canal’s friends to the ranger service.  It is speedy and manoeuvrable, enabling timely access to clear trees, maintain banks and so on.  It can be loaded onto the truck and moved along the canal in minutes for immediate response to crises.  It’s a great support for the ranger service and will help them keep the Grand Western Canal good for another 200 years. ”

The Friends Group held a public competition to name the boat, and ‘Mayfly’ has been declared the winner.

Mr Hodgson explains:  “The name ‘Mayfly’ reflects the month the boat arrived in Tiverton as well as her aspirations of speed. I’ve no doubt that Mayfly will give many years of invaluable service.

“We’ll be looking for more ways to use the money everyone has donated and I’d like to thank all the Grand Western’s Friends who have given so much to making our canal the South West’s grandest amenity.”

Cllr Des Hannon, Devon County Council’s local member for Tiverton East said:

“The Friends group works to preserve our Canal for future generations. This is the perfect example of looking after the canal in a practical way. The boat is easy to move to where rangers need it which saves a lot of time and money. If you care about our canal, I highly recommend joining the Friends. We’re very lucky to have their help and it’s much appreciated.”

Posted in: Community | Environment