Marsh Volunteer Award with the Canal and River Trust

This Award is run in partnership with the Canal and River Trust.

The Award recognises 6 volunteers throughout the UK who have made a valuable contribution to the Canal and River Trust and is an opportunity to thank outstanding volunteers. These volunteers contribute their time and skills which are a huge asset to the organisation.

Nominations for the Award are submitted to the Canal and River Trust and are judged by a panel consisting of Canal and River Trust and MCT representatives.


Ted Thompson, Ian Kelshaw, Ralph Gaskin, Neil Page, Robin Jones, Jennifer Martin 2019

North West - Ted Thompson

Ted has been a volunteer for 35 years, living and breathing the Canal & River Trust values the whole way through. Ted and his wife Christine Thompson campaigned tirelessly to secure funding to restore the Anderton Boat Lift to full working order in 2003. He continues to enthuse and engage visitors with facts and memories of the lift’s life.

Yorkshire and North East - Ian Kelshaw

Throughout 2019, Ian has led a team of volunteer lock keepers in Sowerby Bridge to cover the entire season in a self-sufficient manner with minimal involvement and oversight from the area team. Ian is greatly appreciated for his commitment, going over and above what is required from a volunteer and for his innovation and excellence. He is a great support for other volunteers and for upholding Trust values. Ian is a seasoned volunteer having worked with the Canal and River Trust since 2015, mainly on the Rochdale canal during the summer months. His commitment continues through the winter months when he volunteers his time to move workboats around the network on behalf of Direct Services.

West Midlands  - Ralph Gaskin (Lead Volunteer)

Ralph has been volunteering for the Canal and River Trust since 2012 and is respected by colleagues and fellow volunteers all over the West Midlands due to his involvement with so many different teams. He is a qualified Lock Keeper, Helmsman & CAATS (Competency and Assessment Training Scheme) assessor and more recently has started assisting with administrative tasks, including using the Trust’s national volunteering database. He regularly leads practical volunteering events, joins in at festivals and gives talks to community groups, portraying the Trust in a positive light. Ralph is the complete all-rounder and you will regularly see Ralph on social media promoting and supporting the Trust.

East Midlands  - Neil Page

Neil has shown strong demonstration of going above and beyond his role as a Volunteer Lock Keeper, one example of this was when he helped stranded boaters to attend local shops in order to gain supplies. Neil is clearly valued by colleagues and waterway users and has a great impact in his role as a Volunteer Lock Keeper.

Wales and South West - Robin Jones

Robin has been running along the Gloucester & Sharpness canal in his lunch break (he works next door to the canal at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge) and spotted the invasive species, Himalayan and Orange Balsam popping up along the banks. Robin is a keen naturalist and when he realised the balsam was spreading, he took action and started to pull up as many of the plants as he could every day

Robin is driven to stop the spread of this invasive species because he is aware of the damage it can do when left unchecked. He also wants to protect the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve next door as these habitats are home to the over wintering birds which make the Severn Estuary internationally important.

London and South East - Jennifer Martin

Jenny’s sincere dedication to volunteering with the Canal and River Trust has been proven time and again. Her capability to be warm and welcoming to the public makes her a remarkable ambassador for the Trust. She is a breath of fresh air and it is impossible to not have your wellbeing improved if she is at your side.