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Have you ever looked at this building—the old gas works social club next to the Basin—and thought how excellent it would be as a canal centre for boating and community activities? This is one of the forward-looking ideas in the Friends’ vision, Making the Canal Matter Again. It’s on our website


Members’ update 7 March 2021

About, and about, we go


Dear <<First Name>>

Committee meetings and a members’ special meeting haven’t yet brought us a volunteer interested in being the chair or vice chair of the Friends.
So the committee decided on Friday (5 March) to advertise through Reach, an online volunteering charity that connects people, skills and good causes. 
As well as for a chair and vice chair, we will be looking for people with skills and interests in campaigning, press relations, marketing, website maintenance and co-ordinating other volunteers.
And, of course, enthusiasm for the future of maritime heritage and canals will help! 
These are all areas where, with active involvement shared among the members, the Friends could grow.
We hope the move will recruit new committee members as well as encourage present members who want to be involved in one or other of our projects. Please contact me if you are interested!
Topsham Lock Cottage
Our long-planned ideas for Topsham Lock Cottage are back on our agenda. 
Eagerness for the project is as strong as when Exeter City Council first said we could use the cottage. With the prospect of covid restrictions gradually being eased, Bob Lucas and Andrea Gallagher, who have been co-opted onto the committee, have been discussing details. 
Essential maintenance is needed at the cottage after last winter. Then the Harbour Master and his team will use the premises temporarily while their base at Exmouth is refurbished. Assuming the Friends have access by the end of June, Bob and Andrea are hoping to open Topsham Lock Cottage to the public on Sundays this August.
Our plan is gradually to develop the cottage as a centre of interest and involvement that will add to people's enjoyment when they use the Canal and the area's footpaths.

Bob and Andrea have some exciting ideas, starting with what it was like to live in the cottage when it was built and what the lock keeper's duties were. From that we hope input from schools, local artists and others will grow. There might also be a small cafe! 
They have assembled basic display equipment. We already have a library of interesting books and leaflets for visitors. What Bob and Andrea need now is our support and expressions of interest from members in helping get the cottage and the displays ready when the time comes. Please contact Bob Lucas for more information. 

The Quay Words programme of live literature events at the Custom House on Exeter Quay will have a maritime flavour this April. 
Popular author Philip Marsden will be live-streamed from the Custom House on the evening of 23 April as part of the Quay Words programme. He will read from his recent book The Summer Isles: A Voyage of the Imagination, the account of a single-handed sailing trip up the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland. This is a free event. 
For people interested in writing about their experiences on the seas, Philip will also be running a masterclass on travel writing on 24 April. Find out more and book for both events here.

Do take care of yourselves.
With every good wish

John Monks
Friends of Exeter Ship Canal
01392 493559

We are always keen to welcome new members who are supporters of the canal. If you know anyone who may be interested please feel free to forward this newsletter to them.

Membership is:
Individual – £8 a year
Family – £15 a year
Lifetime – £100

Corporate or business membership can also be arranged.
For all membership enquiries please contact:
Mick Green, secretary
Copyright © 2021 Friends of Exeter Ship Canal, All rights reserved.

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