Chesterfield Canal Trust has appointed its first ever paid employee after announcing that George Rogers is to be its new development manager.
George has a masters degree in engineering from Cambridge University and was previously a chartered civil engineer for a small engineering consultancy in Derby, specialising in the design of civil infrastructure works for National Grid substations.
However, he is no stranger to the voluntary canal restoration sector, having been site leader or cook on more than 20 week-long canal camps, and a volunteer on more than 30 others on top of that.
He is a trustee of the Friends of the Cromford Canal, a member of the restoration hub high level panel of the Inland Waterways Association, and a director of the Waterway Recovery Group, the national organisation which runs working holidays for volunteers on canal restoration projects across the country, including multiple weeks on the Chesterfield Canal at Hall Lane, Staveley Town Lock, Hartington Harbour and Constitution Hill Bridge.
Up to now, the Chesterfield trust has been run entirely by volunteers, but trustees felt it was time to engage someone to work full-time on getting the remaining nine miles of the canal restored.
The aim is to have the canal fully reopened by 2027, which will be the 250th anniversary of its completion.
George said: “The Chesterfield Canal restoration is a very exciting project, and one that I have become deeply passionate about since first volunteering on a Waterway Recovery Group work camp in 2010.
“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and working with all of the highly dedicated volunteers, partners and communities to complete this ambitious project.”
In November 2014, George received a Point of Light Award, which honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.
David Cameron, then Prime Minister, said: “Through his work, George is helping to safeguard the heritage and culture of Britain’s canals for future generations, which is of great importance.
“He truly deserves this Point of Light award.”
George’s first task in his new job will be to pull together all the work that has been done in the past, not least by Dr Geraint Coles, who was employed as a development manager by the Chesterfield Canal Partnership between 2004 and 2013.
George will then create a sequence of costed projects which will form the basis of a series of major funding bids.
Kath Auton, trust member, said: “George is a very talented and inspirational young man with a passion and vision for the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal by 2027,”