Eric Wood

Eric Wood, chairman of Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LHCRT), was nominated for a lifetime achievement award, while Tom Wright was nominated in the young volunteer of the year category.

The Volunteer Star Awards recognize the work of the many volunteers who contribute in Staffordshire.

Eric Wood, nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award by Christine Bull, Chair of the LHCRT, had a vision in the 1980s to restore disused stretches of canal to provide a navigable link through the northern West Midlands .

In 1988 he and four other waterway enthusiasts established what is now Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and served as its first chairman.

Christine said: “Eric stepped down as President in 2001, at the age of 70, and has continued to be our supremely valued and passionately interested and active President ever since.

“Eric’s incredible charisma, warmth, kindness, ability to inspire others and his vision for restoring much of the old Wyrley & Essington Canal has led so many to volunteer with which is now much more than the restoration of the canal because, probably more importantly, it creates a green corridor for wildlife and biodiversity and safe routes for walking, cycling and jogging next to much of the new housing developments.

Volunteer Tom Wright

Tom Wright began volunteering with LHCRT for his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award three years ago, aged 14, and quickly progressed to working with the trust’s small team on the maintenance and use of the plant.

Christine, who appointed Tom, said: “Over these three years he has certainly learned a lot, but perhaps more importantly for LHCRT, he has been of immense help.

“He learned to weld, replace excavator tracks, automotive electrical and electronics, engine repair and plant maintenance, and at age 16 earned his tractor license for to be able to move the plant between our sites.”

She added: “”Tom works almost every Saturday from 9am until at least 3pm, often cycling the five miles to and from his home. He is always on time, he puts in extra days when needed, especially during his school holidays and will do any task that is asked of him.

“We’re not looking forward to him going to college, but he’s such a great person that we wish him luck!” »

The 2022 Lichfield District Volunteer Star Awards will take place on the evening of Monday June 20 at School House, Weeford.