Wiltshire

Mayor of Devizes opens event celebrating Wiltshire's canals

Kennet and Avon Canal Trust building in Devizes
Image caption The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust has its headquarters in Devizes

The mayor of Devizes has officially opened a waterside party honouring 50 years of Wiltshire's canals.

The event at Devizes Wharf, Couch Lane, has been organised by the Devizes-based Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT).

It also celebrates the "hundreds and thousands of hours" the trust's volunteers have given over the years to "bring the waterway back to life".

Attractions include parades, exhibitions, music, dancing and boat trips on the Kenavon Venture.

'Difficult restoration journey'

Entrance is free, with funds from the sale of refreshments going towards maintaining of the historic buildings and artefacts along the canal.

Dr Paul Jakeman from KACT said the celebrations "crowned the efforts of the generations of enthusiasts" who saved the canal from dereliction.

"Our job is to now ensure that the historically important buildings and machinery associated with the canal continue to be maintained to the high standards that we have encouraged over that long and difficult restoration journey, so that the waterway remains a key part of the life and the economy of Wiltshire," he added.

In 2010, the canal was granted cruiseway status by the government.

In August, KACT launched a campaign to raise £1m to redevelop its HQ in the council-owned wharf building in Devizes.

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