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A day of welcomes, welcome backs and “Well, come on in and have a Fruit Shoot”.

Rhian Gardiner (pictured above), a Swansea University student, joined as a new volunteer. She was shown how to manually handle a canoe (rule one, never attempt it on your own), how to adjust a buoyancy aid (there are six straps plus the zip, the buckle and torso supports for young children) and, of course, warned of the dangers of working near canal water (it’s wet and muddy, for starters). She is going to be a real asset.

We welcomed back Chris Jones who has not been able to assist us recently due to family commitments. She was kind enough to return her CRT tops which can be used by others while she is away. You can’t keep Chris out the water, though, and she got into a kayak and paddled up to Trebanos Locks to check on the water levels there (pictured above). Since the stop planks have been replaced, there is a significant build up of silt below the Lower Lock. Not only did she report that the canal was canoeable up the Green Farm Riding Stables but she returned with a haul of plastic bottles and cans. Once a litter picker, always a litter picker.

Another returnee was young Sam Kneath, who has not been with us recently due to a house move (he’s moved, not the house, of course). Sadly, Sam has only moved to Godre’r Graig and not to Neath which would have been wonderfully alliterative. It was good to have him back, though, pedalling up and down the tow path, keeping a watchful eye on the young and inexperienced.

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Gill brought her grandson, Daniel (above), to join in the fun and he had a ball counting the ornamental bricks which will be relaid over the disturbed areas where the two large trees fell in February. His reward was to be allowed the first retail Fruit Shoot which are now available for sale at the canoe store from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm. I must stress that no money has exchanged hands for the Fruit Shoot brand placement here and that other proprietary, sugar-free soft drinks are available from all reputable outlets.

Welcome, one and all.