Kennet & Avon Canal Trust seeks nominations for annual award

This Is Wiltshire: John Gould. Picture courtesy of Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Archives John Gould. Picture courtesy of Kennet and Avon Canal Trust Archives

Nominations are being sought by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT) for the annual John Gould Award, which is presented annually to a person or group who has undertaken noteworthy actions or deeds for the waterway.

This year’s award covers work undertaken from January to December 2012.

John Gould, from Newbury, Berkshire, inspired many to embark on a 40-year restoration campaign that ended with the reopening of the Kennet and Avon waterway by the Queen in 1990.

Born in Newbury in 1913, he began his love affair with the waterway as a small boy playing with toy boats on the River Kennet, which flowed past the backyard of his grandfather's harness shop in the market square.

He played an active part in the Kennet & Avon Canal Association (later to become the KACT), acting as secretary of the Newbury branch and as a trust council member, typically turning up to meetings wearing his favourite duffel coat, complete with windlass, a device for raising objects onto boats, poking out of his pocket.

He ran his hire boat business until the late '70s and even after retirement he continued to manage moorings in Newbury and act as a British Waterways agent.

In 1986 he was made an honorary life member of the IWA and in 1992 was awarded the MBE. In 1997 the Kennet & Avon Canal Partnership, which was established to oversee the £25m Heritage Lottery Fund grant awarded to BW and the KACT to complete the restoration of the canal, invited Mr Gould to unveil a plaque at Newbury Lock, recording a public vote of thanks for his dedication to the waterway.

Mr Gould died in 1999 and the award was subsequently set up in his memory.

Nominations should be addressed to chairman of the K&A Partnership, Rob Dean, via Jean Cook trustadmin@katrust.org.uk by February 28 and should be accompanied by a one-page submission summarising the reasons for nomination.

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