Work Party: Tuesday 31st October 2023 – The “Open Day”

Work Party: Tuesday 31st October 2023 – The “Open Day”

Today was all about our first Open Day. The day started badly with a short cloudburst but thereafter the weather improved steadily into warm sunshine. We had no real idea what to expect but it proved to be a great success, as recorded by Martin. A great story came from a friend of Moira’s, who remembers her father rescuing a girl with orange hair from drowning in one of the locks near what is now Cwmtawe school. She ran home, petrified, dripping wet and made up some cock and bull story for her mother so the truth of the fall into the lock was never known. Years later, rescuer and the girl met in Pontardawe, as they say, across a crowded street. He recognised her by the colour of her hair.

It was wonderful to see so many local people attending our first open day. It gave them an opportunity to see close up the work we have done in Phase 1 of the restoration of the hidden lock and the 120 metres of the canal in Clydach that was buried in a pipe more than 50 years ago. Our volunteers were available to show the visitors round and answer any of their questions. Here Alan T, John Gw, Andy, Gill and Annette explain the finer points at the tea, coffee and cake break

Claire and her friend were impressed by the wild flowers still in bloom in the new garden and were kind enough to let the flowers have a prominent place in the photo.

Gill fell into conversation with Phil who had been a Swansea Canal volunteer in the 1990s. He brought along some photos of the amazingly preserved Swansea day boat which was left in the silt in the canal. He, Clive Reed and the other volunteers rescued the boat and gave it to the Swansea Museum to look after. Sadly, he also had a photo of the boat outside the museum years later, having been allowed to decay and deteriorate.

John Gw was pleased to show Peter Russell, the treasurer of the Clydach Historical Society, around the site. Peter is a keen photographer and took photos of the Buried Lock site for the December issue of the CHS newsletter. We look forward to seeing that issue.

And lastly, the long view taken looking up the new by-wash under the perfect blue sky of an Autumn day. We thank all our visitors for coming and all our volunteers for their hard-working in making the day such a success.

Elsewhere, worked continued as usual. One major task was to remove a huge willow tree that was slowly collapsing into the canal. The indefatigable Gordon took to “Nellie” and after several hour’s work by him and a crack team of draggers and cutters the tree was gone.

Andrew was able to tear himself away from his beloved mixer long enough to pull out another ton of weed.

Martin managed to squeeze in some time in the garden, this time planting several rowan saplings generously donated by Sharon.

What a grand event! Our first Open Day was a fabulous success that we hope to repeat very soon. We enjoyed the opportunity to share our endeavours with the local community and it is really most gratifying to receive so much positive comment and support.

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