Report on the AGM and social evening on Monday 13th January 2020

In spite of Storm Brendan bringing high winds and torrential rain, 41 members managed to attend the ACA’s annual AGM at Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre starting at 7:30 pm. Chairman Peter Oakden reviewed the year’s events and gave an update on the pending transfer of the Transport & Works Act Order from Leicestershire County Council to the Ashby Canal Association. Treasurer Bob Taylor presented an overview of the healthy state of the accounts, and Secretary Cyril Blackford presided over the re-selection of three committee members.

The formal meeting finished at 8:30 pm. It was followed by the premiere of a short film in which founding member, Brian Osborne, reminisced with the late Tom Henshaw about coal carrying on the Ashby Canal, the early days of the ACA, and the royal opening of the restored Stratford Canal in 1964. The film was made in 2016 by Tom’s daughter, Lesley, who was also in the audience.

Unfortunately technical gremlins that evening led to the audience having to initially watch a film with no sound, and soon after listen to an audio with no visuals. In the end we listened, rather than watched, an interesting and witty conversation between two long-standing friends.

Amongst other anecdotes, Tom and Brian recalled the construction of a concrete platform at Gopsall Wharf, which enabled lorries to offload coal into barges, without the danger of the lorry reversing into the canal. “Who built the concrete platform?” asked Brian. “It was the local boy scouts!” replied Tom. A member of the audience then mentioned that he had been one of those boys scouts involved in its construction. There was further interaction from the audience as another attendee recounted some technical problems with offloading the coal at Gopsall Wharf.

The entertaining evening finished at 9:45. Once the film has been uploaded to the internet, this website will include a link to the video, so that other members can enjoy their memories.