A £7,000 donation to Wilts and Berks Canal Trust was gratefully received at their new landing stage outside the Waitrose store in Wichelstowe on Friday 27 May.
Rod Bluh, Chairman of WBCT and former leader of Swindon Borough Council, was presented with the cheque by branch manager Dan Morehead, as a contribution towards the installation of the landing stage which is attached to the store.
Rod Bluh said: “The Trust is delighted to receive this contribution from Waitrose towards this great facility, which has enhanced the canal side at Waitrose Wichelstowe and has allowed many people who visit the store, to access the canal and discover the pleasures of enjoying the canal environment from our trip boat Dragonfly. We are very grateful to Waitrose for their generous contribution, and look forward to working with them again in the future.
“The landing stage offers a boost for the Trust, giving us a platform to showcase the canal to the general public. Swindon is right at the heart of the southern ring of canal networks, and completing the Wiltshire and Berkshire restoration will allow tourists to explore a much greater area from the water.
“The momentum behind the Trust is growing exponentially, and Swindon is key to that expansion. During my tenure as leader of Swindon Council, regeneration was one of my key focuses and on a national level, you do not see urban renewal without the involvement of a waterway.”
The new landing stage, which is a popular viewing point for wildlife on the canal, is the departure and landing point for the canal trips run by WBCT volunteers, using the Trust’s canal boat Dragonfly, between Kingshill and Wichelstowe. The canal trips provide boat experiences for visitors to the Waitrose store at Wichelstowe, for residents from Swindon and for many people from further afield, in order for them to enjoy this section of the canal, its tranquillity and its wildlife.
Mr Morehead added: “Waitrose always support the local community where we can, and regularly donate £3000 a month to local causes. The Wilts and Berks Canal offers something unique to our branch, with the new landing stage proving popular with customers. There is clearly a desire from local people to use the waterway.
“On a personal note, I am proud to work for a company like Waitrose that is so involved with the community. The new landing stage is a fantastic feature for our branch.”