Published: 00:01, 19 June 2014
For the first time in 20 years, people have been able to use the water on the Thames and Medway Canal.
Last week, the Gravesend Messenger paid tribute to former canal association chairman Brian Macknish who died aged 82.
It was Mr Macknish’s passion to clear and restore the canal for use once again, something he unfortunately never got to see.
New association chairman David Rouse said: “Thanks to a grant obtained from Gravesham council from the Homes and Communities Agency, a pumping system has been installed on the Gravesend Marshes so that the Thames and Medway Canal now has a reliable source of water.
“This means that for the first time in 20 years, canoes from the Gravesend Sea Cadets are able to make use of the section of the canal from Mark Lane to the Swing Bridge.”
As part of their community involvement activity, 11 members led by Gravesend Sea Cadets’ civilian instructor Brenda Mackley and the Training Officer, Petty Officer Triona Chapman, visited the canal to clear litter.
Gravesend Sea Cadets, TS Lennox, was formed on April 9, 1942.
As the water level increased, litter that accumulated in the undergrowth floated free. Because of a fence and the railway line, this side of the canal is only accessible from the water.
Mr Rouse continued: “Each canoe was manned by two paddlers and a picker. The operation was highly successful and six bags of cans, plastic bottles and general rubbish was collected from among the undergrowth.
“Once the litter had been removed the canoes made their way the one kilometre up to the Swing Bridge and back.
“The members of the Thames and Medway Canal Association were very grateful for the Cadets’ assistance in improving the appearance of the waterway and look forward to future joint ventures.
"Unfortunately, our late chairman, Brian Macknish, did not witness this event for which he had worked so hard.”
The association was formed in 1976 and has been working ever since to see the canal and tow path brought into use as a multi-functional leisure facility.
To find out more and get involved, call Mr Rouse on 01474 362861 or visit www.thamesmedway.co.uk
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