Author Archives: Des Barnard

Boat Clubs help People

Many clubs of the AWCC are involved with the communities in which they are based offering social and fund raising events. It is sometimes possible to extend that cooperation onto the international stage. One such event took place recently when Black Buoy Cruising Club provided a day on the water for children from the Chernobyl Area who, aged between twelve and fifteen, are in remission from cancer.  Following the day’s boating the children were provided with a barbecue supper at the clubhouse. The outing was funded by Solihul Lions Club.
Each year, a group of children are hosted for a month by families in the Knowle-Solihul Area as part of the Chernobyl Children’s Project UK.
Keith Yeomans, commodore of BBCC said, “ We are delighted with the success of this joint venture. The Chernobyl Childrens Project provides recuperative holidays for cancer sufferers. Doctors say this helps boost their immune system helping them resist or recover from serious illness”.


Brian Curry Obituary


It was an emotional time as friends and family gathered at the north portal of Harecastle Tunnel to watch long-time Stoke on Trent Boat Club member, Brian Curry, embark on his last passage through the tunnel. Brian, for many years tunnel keeper at Harecastle, passed away on 2nd November, age 72. His final journey began on nb Patricia Jean which carried his woven willow casket through the tunnel towards Bradwell Crematorium in Newcastle under Lyme, where the service was taken by Father Brian Williams, a fellow boater.
Brian’s niece Jenny had recorded his wishes for this final journey, planned whilst he was in hospital. Jenny had spent many happy times with ‘the best uncle’ on his boat and said he was happier on water than on land! He was a skilled single handed boater. Fellow club member, Dave Rushton who had known Brian for many years called him a ‘smashing bloke’ with a good sense of humour, and the nicest person. Another life-long friend said of Brian that he would do anything for anyone, and was always up for a laugh.
A wicked sense of humour helped Brian deal with some of the more awkward boaters he encountered. One lady, demanding details of the part which Brian said he was waiting for, to repair a lock, went away quite happy to learn it was the ‘giggling pin’.
Brian had many boats but perhaps the most unusual was one built from two ex-army pontoons onto which he added a cabin created from the tops of two Bedford vans! When one of his boats was sold, the new owners were forced to change the boat name; Brian had been a very early riser, and people recognising the boat but not knowing it wasn’t his now, were most unpopular when they woke the new owners for a brew at first light!
Brian Curry was a legend of the waterways in Staffordshire, and he will be sorely missed by SoTBC and all who knew him.

brian curry

brian curry 2

AWCC Website Updated

The revised AWCC website has now gone live.

The main changes to the site comprise a complete revision to the way club details are held, allowing immediate access to the latest information. This is evident in the “Club Finder” page on the public side of the website, as well as in more comprehensive enquiry facililites within the password protected “Members Area”.

The Members Area has been extensively enhanced to provide on-line enquiries on the latest club data, as well as providing a facility to produce PDF files for full or partial Handbooks, including the facility to just include pages that have been updated since a certain date. There are also now two discussion forums within the Members Area, one for general boating matters, and one for topics relating to the running of member clubs.

At present, login IDs have been issued to all National & Regional AWCC Officers, and are currently being issued to other Club Officers on a phased basis. In the longer term it is intended to issue login IDs to other members of AWCC clubs, subject to suitable controls (still to be agreed), so that any member of an AWCC club would be able to access the latest handbook information on demand.

Election News


With the Election now in full swing, below is the message AWCC National Chairman, David Pearce gave at the recent  National AGM. This article is in the latest Newsletter AWARE available from the Newsletter tab at the top of the page.


Why you should read their manifestos ?

I made the comment in my report to the AWCC AGM that I believe that the waterways’ movement is facing a major crossroad, maybe the first really major one since the 50s and 60s.The consultant’?s report, ‘Setting a Course’ put forward the options to BW. The option of becoming a full-blown charity to run the inland waterways has been chosen, so it is now a distinct possibility.  If it is sympathetically implemented, it could be of great advantage to the many thousands of people who appreciate the inland waterways. It will allow us, the users to have a positive say in the way the waterways are run, via a Board of Trustees.

Will it become a reality?  I have met with the politicians and all three major parties appear to be signed up.  In the run up to an election many things are said and promises made.  After the big day, reality then strikes home with those that have won.  I can well imagine that matters of inland waterways will not be at the top of the political agenda – it never is, but there is every reason why we must try, and try hard, to ratchet it upwards.

The party manifestos are all in draft and will be published as soon the election date is confirmed.  My advice to all members is to make sure you read what they say about waterways and then quiz them when they come knocking on your door.  If enough people do this, they might just get the message that it is important to a lot of people who may just vote for them.

What are the main political issues?  Funding remains the matter of key importance and a change to charity status does not rectify that overnight.  However, charity status does create a more liberal tax regime and with a greater emphasis on volunteering, improvements can be expected.

What is essential is that the Government of the day continues to provide their grant, as this is effectively the contribution from the non-boaters who can only pay for the waterways via their tax contributions.

Of equal importance is that the new charity must have a substantial endowment.  This has to be the current BW property portfolio.  All national user group chairmen have fought hard on this one.  You may recall that I got a personal assurance from Gerry Grimstone on the matter a year ago, but a new government with other financial problems may be persuaded by a recalcitrant Treasury to take it away.  This would be extremely short sighted.

I am asking you the membership to get out there and lobby:

      Read their manifestos,

      Talk to them on the door step and in the meeting place,

      Send them letters and emails.

Get the assurance that they will, when they get to Westminster:

      Support the charity proposal,

      Not cut the Grant in Aid,

      Give the new charity the property portfolio as an endowment.

You know it makes sense!

David Pearce.

National Chairman.