Marsh Specialist Volunteer Award with the Canal and River Trust

This Award recognises those who volunteer with the Canal and River Trust within specialist teams such as engineering, hydrology, and marketing. These volunteers contribute expert and technical skills which are a huge asset to the organisation, and often come up with new ways of working.

Nominations for the Award are submitted to the Canal and River Trust and are judged by a panel consisting of Canal and River Trust and MCT representatives.

Pictured: 2015 Award winner David Payne delivering a school visit to a canal

Bill Darch 2018

Bill has been volunteering at the National Waterways Museum since 1982, looking after and running the steam engines. He worked for almost 40 years in the mechanical industry and his specialist knowledge of steam is rare and valuable and the Museum is dependant on him. He is committed to his volunteering role and can often be seen at the Museum five days a week, yet he is quiet and never seeks praise for the invaluable support he provides.

For some time, the Museum has been struggling to fix technical issues with steam boilers and unable to run the engines, but Bill has stuck with them throughout. He is now working with the museum to create operating manuals for the engines and boilers so that new volunteers can be trained in how to use them.

Bill is absolutely committed to the museum and wants it to be exciting and vibrant as well as communicate his passion and knowledge to visitors and the general public.

Previous Winners

John Lageu

John works on the Canal and River Trust’s H2DB Migration project, which involves transferring the Trust’s data from an historic database system that is becoming increasingly defunct, to the new system so that it is not lost. John developed the process and supporting tools for the project, and then took the time to deliver training sessions to other volunteers. John began working with the Water Management Team on this project in September 2013, contributing nearly 900 hours of his time to the project across that period.

The Water Management Team manages the water resources of the Trust’s network, both operationally from week to week, and more strategically with long term planning, and data is a critical part of the work that they do. John has become an integral part of the team, and his dedication has enabled the project to be a success, thus enhancing the work of the whole team. He embodies the Trust’s values, by contributing to their Strategic Goals and being an Ambassador for the Trust in his local community.