Cath Munn, Barbarda Hillier, Thelma Edwardsand Richard Elkan
Yorkshire & North East
Cath Munn – Explorers Education Programme
Cath takes on a number of volunteering roles, including lock-keeping, towpath taskforce, boat master, tunnel boat chaperone and Explorers Education Programme volunteer. She has been volunteering for over 8 years and, in the past year, she has made a number of media appearances where she has proved herself to be a great ambassador for the Canal and River Trust. As a volunteer with the Explorers Education Programme, Cath has assisted in workshops with over 5000 pupils in April-July 2021, sometimes taking part in 4 workshops a day on a number of online platforms and facing all of the technical challenges that comes with that. Her can-do attitude and willingness to give things a go was a great support to staff who, like Cath as a volunteer, were experiencing delivering sessions online for the first time. She has received wonderful feedback about the sessions she has run, and she gives her time to help other volunteers with adapting to the online programmes. Cath repeatedly goes above and beyond in her volunteering roles, she is selfless, committed, dependable, warm and friendly. She is passionate about the waterways and boating and wants to share that passion and enthusiasm with others.
Barbara Hillier – Lead Volunteer, Nottingham
Barbara has been volunteering with the Canal and River Trust for a number of years, but during the past 12 months she has really stepped up in her contributions to the Trust. She is a well-known face in the local area and can often be found on the towpaths supporting the Trust in one way or another. She has been involved with over 20 volunteering opportunities and is currently the lead volunteer on the Nottingham Towpath Taskforce, planning and leading all the sessions for the volunteers and increasing the number of volunteers involved. Barbara has been a driving force on the Nottingham Canal Improvement Partnership and has been able to generate a great deal of community support for the scheme. Her drive and commitment to improving the local environment has seen her encourage volunteers to create bird nesting platforms out of decommissioned floatation rings, a project she appeared on the local news to promote. Barbara’s dedication to her volunteering and the crucial roles she has played are outstanding. She is a well-known and positive face, and without her drive and support over the past 12 months, the Trust would not have the level of volunteering activity that they do. Barbara embodies the values of the Canal and River Trust, she is committed to their work and dedicated to helping the Trust to achieve their goals.
Wales & South West
Thelma Edwards – Lead Volunteer, Greeter and Welcome Boat Team, Caen Hill
Thelma has been a volunteer at the Canal and River Trust since 2012 and has given over 2,500 hours across a number of volunteering roles. She started as a Lock Keeper but, when the opportunity arose, Thelma soon became the Lead Volunteer for the Welcome Boat and Volunteer Greeters. She spent time developing the Welcome Boat’s attractions, creating craft activities for children, a nature trail and ensuring that there was always information readily available about the Canal and River Trust and the local area. Thelma has been a Lead Volunteer for 6 years and is an important contributor in planning meetings. She has also trained, mentored and coordinated all of the Volunteer Greeters on the Welcome Boat. Her dedication is amazing, and she has a passion for canals and the environment, which she loves to share with others. Thelma is a fantastic ambassador for the Canal and River Trust, being able to inform the public both about the local history of the canals and the work of the Trust. She is a retired teacher who loves the opportunity to give something back to the local community. She is passionate about educating young people about canals and wants to ensure the continuation of this knowledge for generations to come.
London & South East
Richard Elkan – Walk Leader and Operations Team Volunteer
As a volunteer, Richard supports projects in many aspects of work on and alongside the water. He also volunteers as a ‘boat mover’ across the region and volunteers as a ranger. So far this year, he has contributed over 200 volunteer hours to the Canal and River Trust. Richard trained as a volunteer walk leader and led the first walk in Hackney after lockdown. When walks were halted during the second lockdown, Richard ensured that everyone stayed in touch and, when they were allowed to resume, he oversaw the running of the walks on a weekly basis. The group taking part in the walks has doubled in size and has informed and shaped the way that the canal walks programme has been rolled out across London and the South East. Richard has also volunteered to become a leader with the Let’s Paddle programme, encouraging more diverse communities out on the waterways for enjoyment and wellbeing. He is a man of many talents, offering up his time to support the Trust and share his knowledge with the public. He is a great communicator and listens carefully to his group of walkers to ensure that they get the most out of their time on the canal walks. The canal walks support the participants’ physical and mental wellbeing, and it is thanks to Richard that they are able to continue.