Today’s work party was about two visits that had been arranged independently but turned out to mesh together extraordinarily well. So we all assembled in Coed Gwilym Park.

Our first visitors were the Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Mrs Louise Fleet, JP and her Deputy, Mrs Jane Clayton, DL. They had asked to visit us informally to meet the Society prior to the official presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service that will be made by Louise when the pandemic permits.

Our second visitor was Mark Evans, Regional Director of the Canal and River Trust Wales and South West, accompanied by David Morgan, Development & Engagement Manager, Caroline Kendall, Volunteering Development Co-ordinator, and Hannah Booth, Area Operations Manager. They were here to present us with a plaque to recognise the completion of 50,000 volunteer hours worked since May 2016, an astonishing achievement of which the Society is rightly proud.

Also present were Paulette Smith and Gordon Walker, the City and County of Swansea Councillors for Clydach. Of course, Gordon is our very own chairman and inspiration.

Gordon welcomed our guests, Mark and Louise spoke enthusiastically about the canal, the Society and its achievements and then Mark handed the plaque via Louise to Gordon, all the while keeping as socially distant as possible.

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 Group1  Pres1
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Although the day was mainly about the plaque, we still found time for some work. Here we see the CRT team helping out with weeding, Bob finally securing a large tarpaulin over the work boat, Annette nearing completion of the canoe launcher, Sue and Mike the Rubbish doing what rubbish collectors do best, Martin doing what Martin does best (gardening!) and Mike the Paint continuing to revitalise the lettering.

 Work11  Work2
 Work4  Work9
 Work7  Work12

And finally, it was an absolute pleasure to see Dom on parade. As you probably know, he has had health problems over recent times but thankfully is now feeling nearly ready to return to active volunteering.

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What an amazing morning! It is such a privilege to have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June and now to be recognised for having completed 50,000 volunteer hours. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of our friends and colleagues throughout the community, so these awards are for you all.