Funding boost for Basingstoke Canal SocietyBy Stephen Lloyd
October 16, 2012
PEACEFUL trips on the picturesque Basingstoke Canal can continue for many years to come thanks to a bumper grant.
Hart District Council has given £5,352 to the Basingstoke Canal Society to help buy an historic barn and adjacent mooring at Colt Hill in Odiham.
The society will use the barn to support the operation of its passenger trip boat, the John Pinkerton, which has been providing trips on the canal in the Odiham area for more than 30 years.
Hart leader Ken Crookes said that as a major participant in the Basingstoke Canal Partnership, the council is keen to contribute towards the very successful John Pinkerton operation.
"The boat trips have provided so much pleasure to the local communities over the years and have also publicised the value of the canal as a major amenity in Hart," he added.
Basingstoke Canal Society chairman Philip Riley thanked Hart for its continuing support and its long-standing commitment to the canal.
He added the barn would provide a very useful workshop and storage facility for the boat operation.
The canal society has just placed an order for a new trip boat to replace the John Pinkerton.
Mr Riley said the new boat, the John Pinkerton II, should ensure the society continues to offer the opportunity for the public to enjoy the peace and beauty of the canal for many years to come.
The Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, now known as The Basingstoke Canal Society, was founded in 1966 to campaign for the then derelict Basingstoke Canal to be restored to a navigable standard.
After Surrey and Hampshire county councils bought the canal in the early 70s, the society organised a wide range of volunteer working parties including dredging 12 miles of canal in Hampshire, rebuilding 28 locks in Surrey, rebuilding bridges and weirs and clearing the towpath and offside banks.
Work was completed in 1991 and the canal re-opened from the River Wey Navigation in Surrey to Greywell in Hampshire that year.
Since then the society has worked with the Basingstoke Canal Authority and local authorities to improve the canal and preserve its distinctive features.
It continues to organise volunteer work, which recently included resurfacing the towpath from Norris Bridge in Fleet to Runway’s End in Aldershot.
Most of the society’s annual income comes from the operation of its trip boat John Pinkerton and it is hoped the John Pinkerton II will be delivered in time for the beginning of the 2013 season.