Marsh Volunteer Awards with the Canal and River Trust

These Awards are run in partnership with the Canal and River Trust and recognise the organisation’s outstanding volunteers working to protect our waterways, which have great importance for heritage, communities and the environment.

In 2017, the Awards recognised three categories of volunteer:

- Ambassadorial Volunteer
- Specialist Volunteer
- Impact Volunteer

Pictured - Dylan Manning, winner of the 2015 Marsh Young Volunteer Award, pictured litter-picking

The 2017 winners are Richard Higginbottom, John Lageu, Marcus Topham

Ambassadorial Volunteer – Richard Higginbottom
Richard is a Lead Towpath Ranger and also a resident expert on the Regents Canal, with an astounding encyclopaedic knowledge of the waterway. He is famous among staff for wearing his Canal and River Trust bowler hat on the very popular walks he leads from Angel Tube to Camden Market every other Sunday (and on other open days), inspiring both canal enthusiasts and those who are new to canals. He also coordinates pop-up events and Towpath Ranger activities in East London, home to one of the busiest towpaths in the country.
As a Towpath Ranger, Richard is a member of the main delivery team for the ‘Share the Space, Drop your Pace’ campaign in London, which aims to fulfil the Trust’s commitment to the Better Towpaths for Everyone policy – no mean feat in London, where thousands of people use the towpaths every day.
Richard is the area’s longest-serving volunteer Towpath Ranger and was key in developing the role, in particular developing the ‘Share the Space, Drop your Pace’ campaign. He is a constant guide and companion to other Rangers and encourages the hundreds who take part in his walks to get involved too.

Specialist Volunteer – John Lageu
John works on the Canal and River Trust’s H2DB Migration project, which involves transferring the Trust’s data from an historic database system that is becoming increasingly defunct, to the new system so that it is not lost. John developed the process and supporting tools for the project, and then took the time to deliver training sessions to other volunteers. John began working with the Water Management Team on this project in September 2013, contributing nearly 900 hours of his time to the project across that period.
The Water Management Team manages the water resources of the Trust’s network, both operationally from week to week, and more strategically with long term planning, and data is a critical part of the work that they do. John has become an integral part of the team, and his dedication has enabled the project to be a success, thus enhancing the work of the whole team. He embodies the Trust’s values, by contributing to their Strategic Goals and being an Ambassador for the Trust in his local community.

Impact Volunteer – Marcus Topham
Marcus holds a number of volunteering roles with the Canal and River Trust. He is a volunteer lock keeper on the Bingley 5 lock flights, assisting the team to move boats on a regular basis and also working closely with members of the heritage team on a variety of restoration and repair tasks.
Marcus has also taken a lead role in coordinating and organising volunteers to reinstate and refurbish the mile markers along the eastern section of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, working closely with the project officer to ensure that all health and safety, and indeed heritage, requirements were met.
In the last year, Marcus has taken on additional responsibilities, becoming a key lead volunteer in the North West Volunteer Team. This role involves organising volunteer meetings, ordering any additional kit and inducting and supporting new volunteers as they familiarise themselves with the role and the local area.
Marcus has given his time tirelessly as a volunteer for over three years, taking on a variety of roles and responsibilities, all of which are carried out with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Pictured: Richard Higginbottom and John Lageu receiving their Awards from David Booker, MCT Ambassador


Canal & River Trust

Head Office
First Floor North
Station House
500 Elder Gate
Milton Keynes

0303 040 4040