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Celebrating the renaissance of our waterways

A SERIES of events are taking place to celebrate 50 years since the renaissance of the West Midlands' network of waterways began.

Many of the region's canals and rivers were saved from dereliction and destruction by the 1968 British Transport Act and with the hard work of volunteers and canal lovers they have become vital outdoor spaces that reach into the heart of many towns and cities.

To mark this anniversary the waterways charity Canal and River Trust is putting together Towpath Taskforces ahead of a several events throughout July.

They will carry out tasks such as litter-picking, clearing vegetation, gardening, painting lock gates and making small repairs.

One takes place on Thursday, 12th July, at Lock 53 on Maidenhead Road in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Ian Lane, acting regional director for the Canal and River Trust in the West Midlands, said: “Our waterways have seen remarkable change from carrying freight, through their use for leisure activities to a new era for improving the wellbeing of visitors.

"In the 1960s many of our canals were within a hair’s breadth of being lost forever – today they are important outdoor spaces that can play a vital role in transforming the health and wellbeing of our nation.

“Without the Act and the extraordinary efforts of volunteers we wouldn’t be able to offer outdoor spaces sorely needed by today’s modern society for exercise, quiet reflection and relaxation.

"We know that there is still much work to be done to ensure that our canals are cherished as special local places everywhere, and we are delighted that so many communities are coming to see their value and taking pride in helping us to care for them.”

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