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No. 48. August 2020.
Welcome to our August Bulletin

It's good to get back to near-normal life and there's a lot to update you on what's happening on the Canal.

Getting the ball rolling, Fiona Shipp, the Canal Manager, writes about the increase in the number of canoes, kayaks and paddle boards on the Canal - great fun and such a good way to get fit. Next up is an article from our long-standing Chairman Philip Riley who has very recently stepped down from his role. After many years in the chair and as a committee member, we are all extremely grateful for his support and leadership.

Other items include:

  • Breaking news: John Pinkerton II rated COVID-19 secure
  • Update about how our volunteers are helping to maintain the Canal,
  • How the ABA is helping elderly and disabled people to access boat trips,
  • History corner: Who built the Canal and why?,
  • Volunteer profile: Canal Lengthsman,
  • Live theatre is back with the show 'It's up to us now!',
  • A photo competition for our 2021 calendar,
  • Shout-out for volunteer support for press/PR and for new Trustees.

Looking ahead, in September we'll be sharing details of the major projects that we are planning. Your support to help fund these projects is vital and we need to get lots more people involved by becoming a Member of the Canal Society. It costs just £15 per person. If you are not already a Member, it would be fantastic if you could Become a Member now - and invite your friends as well.

Last but not least - when you click through on an article below, you'll see that we have a brand new website where you can book a boat trip, sign-up as a Member, discover how to volunteer and much more.

Take care.

Ken Sankey,
Editor, Basingstoke Canal Bulletin
Update from the Canal Authority

"There has been a big increase in usage of the Canal during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Indeed, as soon as travel restrictions were lifted the Canal has become a haven for people exercising on the water in canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. Where at one time I might have passed fewer than 10 unpowered boats while carrying out licence checks on the Canal, suddenly I was passing 50+ boats."
Read more from Fiona Shipp, Canal Manager at the Basingstoke Canal Authority.
Read more
Public face of the Society and champion of canal boating

Philip Riley recently stepped down as Chairman of Basingstoke Canal Society. A passionate advocate of the waterway since his first involvement with the Society as a volunteer, in the 1970s Philip served on the committee in various roles before taking the helm as Chairman nine years ago.

Philip has made an astonishing contribution to the Society over the years as an active member, volunteer and in roles such as Secretary and Chairman. The Society was recognised with The Queens Award for Voluntary Service under his guidance in 2018, of which we are extremely proud.

Although no longer leading the Society, Philip remains on the committee to offer his support and experience.

Read Philip's letter to the Society's Members - 'Reflections of changing times'.

Read more

Breaking News: John Pinkerton II rated COVID-19 secure!

Following a great deal of work and effort by many people, we are absolutely delighted that the first charter trip following the lockdown ran on John Pinkerton II on Saturday 1st August.

The trip operated from Odiham with approvals from not only Hampshire County Council, but also form the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). In addition, we also complied with HM Government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. Read more.

More details

Our volunteers' fantastic work

To help welcome visitors back to the Canal, our volunteers are starting to get everything looking at its best.

Work parties have recently been involved in removing fallen branches from the water, pulling out and cutting weed from the Canal and tidying up the footpath at Woking Wharf, to name just a few of the many tasks that are needed to maintan the Canal. Read more.

Read more

Helping elderly and disabled people to access boat trips

The Accessible Boating Association (ABA) is based on the Basingstoke Canal at Galleon Marine in Odiham.

On 2nd June 2020, the Association received confirmation that it had been granted the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. It’s a huge honour and acknowledges the efforts put in by all the volunteers for over thirty years of working to improve people's lives.

More about ABA

History corner: Who built the Canal and why?

Walking or boating down the Canal today, it is hard to envisage a more bucolic, pastoral environment. Basingstoke Canal seems to be the epitome of rural isolation and charm. Far from the madding crowd, and distant from the dark satanic mills of the industrial revolution, how did a canal end up wending its way through some of the south’s loveliest countryside?

Who built it and why?
Read story

Volunteer profile: Canal Lengthsman

Historically canals required a considerable army of workers to keep them operating efficiently. Each stretch would have Toll Collectors to collect the money people paid to use the canals, Lock Keepers to watch over locks and Lengthsmen responsible for simple maintenance tasks.

Read about Volunteer Matthew's story (and his Springer Spaniel - Poppy) - 'Life of a Lengthsman'.
Read Matthew's story

Live theatre is back

Following the disappointing news that the Drama, Comedy and Song theme-cruise planned for July onboard John Pinkerton had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, the good news is that live theatre is back.

On Saturday 22nd August, Hampshire Theatre Group is putting on an open-air show at
Hatchwood House, Farnham Road, Odiham RG29 1AB.

The drama 'It's up to us now!' is set in July 1940 when following Dunkirk, England is poised for an expected German Invasion and the Basingstoke Canal is designated as the Last Line of Defence.

There will be two performances, at 3pm and 7pm.
The location is stunning with beautiful sloping lawns. You'll need to bring your own chairs and blankets, plus food and drink (as there is no catering on site). More details
Book your ticket
Enter photo competition for 2021 calendar now!

We are delighted to announce that we will be producing a 2021 calendar, once again featuring YOUR photographs.

Subjects can be boats, canal activities, volunteers, wildlife - as well as scenery on the Basingstoke Canal, in any season or weather.

Photos must be your own work and you must be an amateur photographer. Each entry should be in colour, high resolution, 137mmx190mm @300dpi and landscape orientation.

Each entrant agrees that their photos may be used by The Basingstoke Canal Society on its calendar, Facebook and Instagram pages and in our Bulletins and Newsletters.

Closing date for entries is 30 September 2020. The judges' decisions will be final and each winner will be contacted by email.

Please email your entries with a title for each photo to
Winners will each receive a free calendar.

Submit your photo

Your Canal needs you!

As we adjust to the 'new normal', we need help with getting our message out via the local press. If you can help, or if you know someone with press/PR experience, please get in touch. We are also looking for more Trustees to help lead the Society and build stronger links with local councils.

Please contact Ken Sankey for more information.
Find out more

About Basingstoke Canal Society

As the guardian of Basingstoke Canal, the Society promotes and campaigns for the sustainable future of the Canal as a navigation.
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The Society received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018, equivalent to an MBE, in recognition of more than 50 years' outstanding contribution to the local community.
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Copyright © 2020 The Basingstoke Canal Society, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
The Basingstoke Canal Society, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1WA.

General enquiries to the Society by phone, on 07305 340 547.

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