The big event so far this year has been the integration of our group into the B.W organisation. This has taken many hours of work but the results are now beginning to show, we have a good working relationship with B.W. safety and volunteering staff. The huge task of a complete renovation of the water wheel is well under way. The new timbers and other materials have arrived at the Pump House and other replacement materials, such as the wooden starts, which hold the wheel boards onto the wheel, are at Devizes waiting to be pre-machined by a B.W. contractor.
Because of the restoration works we have had to cut down on our opening hours. For the rest of this year we will only be open on Sundays. I would like to apologise to anyone who has turned up to find the site closed to the public but there are health and safety risks to be considered on a construction/restoration site as Claverton has become with this major restoration taking place. However a Sunday visit can be recommended, as now that the wheel is being restored, there are parts on view that can rarely be seen. Our tour guides will explain how the new timbers will be fitted and update you on progress.
Like other branches we are short of members and need to recruit many more. There are openings for tour guides, shop assistants, carpenters, engineers, painters, handy men and women also and in reality, anyone who would like being involved in an historic and unique site with good scenery and a fascinating and addictive piece of the canals history. We are open to all and will train people if required. Why not contact me and we can arrange a time and day for a chat and a look around at the Pump House and meet the current overworked volunteers.
The other major milestone this year took place in March. This was the completion of the Burbage Crane Reconstruction Project. A ceremony was held at the wharf where our President David Bruce manually wound the large handle to lift a light simulated load of sacks, the load was then slewed out over the canal. All who have worked on or assisted with this project should feel very proud of a job well done. We have now preserved another unique piece of the history of the way in which the canal functioned and it is on show for all to see. One person who deserves a special mention for the contributing in a major way to the success of this project, is the Burbage crane project leader John Webb. John brought the project to my attention some five years ago and has worked tirelessly to see it to its successful completion. Trust Council has recognised Johns work on the crane and many other projects by promoting him to the position of Vice President of the K&ACT . We all congratulate John on achieving this eminent position.