Crowd-fund a canal link to the Lakes

February 2017 - Frank Sanderson looks at the efforts of a determined canal restorer and the tremendous impact he is having in the North West of England.

Colin Ogden is one of those enthusiasts who embody the spirit of the early canal restorers back in the 1950s and 60s when authority was there to be challenged.

He is determined to see the abandoned Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal restored.

Stepping away from the squabbles between the Canal & River Trust and the Lancaster Canal Trust, and ignoring the ineffectual Northern Reaches Restoration Group of local councils and societies, he has actually achieved some restoration in just a few months, as well as getting backing from landowners along the route of the canal.

Colin has been studiously ignored by the Canal & River Trust but has turned his attention to sections of the canal no longer owned by the charity.

Now he is making a direct appeal to the public of the North West and canal fans everywhere by setting up a crowdfunding page to get funds to extend the work already under way.

Colin said: “We are hoping to continue our work restoring the grade 2 listed bridges on the Lancaster canals disused northern reaches.

“We have already made good progress having restored one bridge, and work is continuing clearing another section of abandoned canal.

“Our aim is to eventually raise funding to open up a 5 mile section and restore a flight of locks at Tewitfield.

“Doing this work ,we will encourage visitors and this will substantially regenerate the local economy and create much needed employment.

Some of his support has come from local businesses who take the view that what Colin's doing will ultimately bring more business, as a restored canal attracts many more visitors.

Although he has had donations of £5 and £10, one has been for £100 towards an initially modest target which will enable him to work with his team of volunteers to clear more of the dry canal bed and restore historic bridges.

His efforts have already gained much publicity in the local media, including a recent appearance on BBC Radio Lancashire.

If you want to help, clicking on the link below will take you to Colin's Just Giving page, where you can donate towards the work of a modern canal hero.

-- Click here to donate to Colin's appeal --

Colin says; "What we are trying to achieve has been talked about for the past 50 odd years.The Landowners have welcomed us, and kindly given permission for us to carry out Bridge restorations and canal bed clearance.The public and press response has been overwhelming since we started our campaign. Local businesses are supporting us. Despite all the setbacks by certain parties, we intend to carry on with or without them. Thanks to you all for the support. Colin."

Photos: (Top) Larkrigg Hall Bridge - restored by Colin Ogden and his team, (Bottom) Colin Ogden at BBC Radio Lancashire, promoting his restoration work.

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