Funding awarded for re-watering Bourton Meadow

Buckingham Canal Society Patrons, The Rt Hon John Bercow and Lord Boswell of Aynho, recently joined Society members and other local community leaders to cut the first restoration sod at Bourton Meadow, on the outskirts of Buckingham. On the 25th of January 2013 the first spade entered the ground to mark the start of the re-watering of the Buckingham Canal, which has not held water in Buckingham for over 100 years. This follows a grant award of nearly £70,000 from WREN which was enabled by over £7,000 of seed funding from an Aylesbury Vale Community Chest grant.

Both of these grants follow substantial support from residents in and around Buckingham. Buckingham Canal Society (BCS) and its members believe the canal restoration can bring multiple benefits to the towns and villages along the canal corridor. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of many BCS volunteers as well as the support of BCS’s members and partners.

Front Row left to right: Athina Beckett (BCS Chairman), The Rt. Hon. John Bercow, Lord Boswell of Aynho, Terry Cavender (BCS Project Manager), Ruth Newell (Mayor of Buckingham).
Back Row left to right: Cllr David Pollhill, Helen Preston, Nigel Preston, Cllr Pearl Lewis, Cllr Tim Mills, Cllr Paul Hirons, Claire Cavender, Miami Holt (VAHT/Community Chest), Masaud Subedar (VAHT/Community Chest).

Whilst digging the first sod John Bercow said, “In the time I have been involved with the Canal Society it has gone from aspirational plans for restoration to this very tangible project. A lot of hard work and time has been invested by many of the Society’s supporters, members and committee’’. Lord Boswell added, “My long term involvement with the Society has always been looking forwards to this first true step of practical restoration of the canal. It is wonderful to see plans coming to fruition.”

In advance of the event, Emma Brooks from WREN said “It gives me great pleasure to be awarding this grant of £69,985 to BCS. The grant body was thrilled with the application and really excited by the project.’’ Kate Russell of Vale of Aylesbury Housing, current Chair of the Community Chest said “The Grants Panel was pleased to provide seed money for the WREN grant and in doing this significantly increase the value of the Community Chest grant to the Society, its supporters and the local community who will benefit.

The project site is at Bourton Meadow, Buckingham and consists of a section of canal just over 350 metres long. Preparation works include removal of some existing vegetation and enhancing a natural river ford to enable ready access to the site with machinery. The canal will then be lined with a special material called Bentoline SS100 clay liner before it can be filled with water. Finally, part of the Ouse Valley Way that was the original towpath will be resurfaced as well as nearby hedges being replanted and enhanced. BCS are indebted to the landowners Nick Hawes and his family for their ongoing support of the project which was initially supported by his father who wished to have the canal restored.

From left to right: Athina Beckett (BCS Chairman), The Rt. Hon. John Bercow, Masaud Subedar (VAHT/Community Chest), Lord Boswell of Aynho, Terry Cavender (BCS Projects and Partnership Manager).

This project received £7,698 seed funding from the Community Chest, a grants scheme for community projects run jointly by AVDC and Vale of Aylesbury Housing.  If you would like more information about the grants available, please call the Community Chest Grants Officer, Sarah Rothwell, on 01296 585634.

The seed funding unlocked a £69,985 grant from WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited). WREN is a non-profit making Environmental Body registered to fund projects, which are eligible under the Landfill Communities Fund, which is in turn regulated by ENTRUST. WREN receives the majority of its funding from the government’s landfill tax. For this particular grant, this money is collected by FCC Environment from companies sending material to landfill at their site near Bletchley. For more information about WREN please visit


*****Press Release has just been published in The Buckingham Advertiser*****  Support in spades for restoring canal