April 1976

Surry section bought
9th AGM report
Working parties
Social Diary
Gongoozlers' Gossip
Cover Pictures

Contact the Society


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No. 67APRIL 1976

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On Monday morning, March 8th, a Surrey County Council official left County Hall, Kingston, by car bound for Basingstoke. He took with him a signed contract and a cheque for 40,000. By mid-day the 17-mile eastern end of the Basingstoke Canal, from Ash embankment to the junction with the Wey Navigation, had changed hands. Now, at last, after a 10-year campaign, the 32-mile canal is public property. Owned jointly by Surrey and Hampshire County Councils.

Our congratulations to Surrey County Council. And our thanks and appreciation to all those Councillors and Officers of both County Councils, District and Parish Councils, who gave us their support. Many gave up their free time to meet us, listen to us, and helped us to win our campaign.

The Surrey section will be managed by the County Council's Country side Officer, Mr Ray Stedman, with an assistant and two full-time wardens. We are glad to learn one of them will be Mr Les Foster who was employed as lengthsman by the previous owner.

A Consultative Group will be formed under Mr W Britton, the County Valuer. The group will include three other County Councillors; representatives from Hampshire; riparian District and Parish Councils from Surrey; the Army; the Thames Water Authority and a number of user interests including the Society and the Inland Waterways Association. Mr Stedman hopes the group will provide th Council with views and guidance on the development of the canal's amenity facilities.

The Society will also be represented in a Restoration Planning Group led by Mr Stedman. Riparian District Councils and the Army will also be represented, and officials from Hampshire will be invited as observers. The group will be responsible for planning and progressing the day to day work of restoration.

One innovation, which Hampshire might do well to follow, is the preparation of a Planning Policy which will be submitted to the Consultative Group. It is hoped that the Policy will provide guide lines for developments and so help to protect the canal's amenity value.

Surrey County Council is expected to make 35,000 available in the first year's budget, starting April 1976. But by the time salaries and essential overheads are paid, there won't be much left over. So Surrey (and Hampshire) will be relying heavily on the contribution made by volunteers.
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The long, hard campaign for public ownership is over. But the second part of our campaign - restoration - is only just beginning. We need your support - both active and moral - more than ever before. Both County Councils have publicly stated that they would not have undertaken full restoration without the promise of voluntary support.

So far we've contributed work to the value of 20,000 plus. The estimated value of voluntary input needed was put at 141,000 in 1975. Now, with the squeeze on public spending, the two Councils will be after an even greater voluntary contribution if we want the canal re-opened by 1980.

So please continue to support the Society. There are a lot of membership renewals outstanding. Is yours one? If it is, please send us your subscription to-day. Thank you.
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News of the forthcoming acquisition by Surrey County Council of their section of the canal was given by Mr Ray Stedman, Surrey's Countryside Officer, at the Annual General Meeting of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society held at St Paul's Church Hall, Camberley on Saturday, February 14th.

Mr Stedman's announcement was warmly applauded by over 200 members who attended the meeting. He went on to say that the Council did not finally use the compulsory purchase orders which it had been granted. Instead, a voluntary agreement had been reached with the canal owners which included the purchase of some additional land. Mr Stedman confirmed that the Council had agreed on a policy of full restoration for the canal. He said that a meeting had been arranged with Hampshire County Council because of the need to treat the canal and the restoration programme as an entity.

Mr Stedman acknowledged the value of voluntary participation, and said that without such support the Council might not have undertaken the project. He added that a Consultative Group would be set up to avoid conflict between the various interested users of the canal.

The Society's President, the Earl of Onslow, thanked Mr Stedman for attending the meeting, and told the audience that the participation of volunteers would be vital to the successful re-opening of the canal because of the limited funds currently available from the County Councils.

The Society's vice-Chairman, David Millett, reported on a busy working and social year. He revealed that the Society's 'Buy a Brick' appeal for the repair of bridges over the canal in Hampshire had raised over 1,000. Highlights of the year were the Society's second May Ball which raised 250, and 'Water Nobsurd' which attracted over 1,000 spectators to the canal at the New Inn, Colt Hill, Odiham. David also reported that the Society's sponsored walk along the canal towpath from Byfleet to Ash, in September, had raised nearly 2,000 despite a day of torrential rain. Other events included trips to other waterways, regular social evenings and the purchase of the 42-year old barge Aldershot which was built at Ash Vale and traded on the canal until 1950. The Society hopes to restore the barge and use it as a floating museum.

David finished by saying that membership stood at 2,340, which showed a net increase of 160 since the last AGM.

A report on the Society's voluntary working parties on the Hampshire section of the canal was presented by the organiser, Frank Jones. He told members that dredging, using the Society's 70-ton steam powered floating dredger and mechanical excavators, had cleared the canal from Colt Hill to within a short distance of Swan Bridge, North Warnborough.

Volunteers had also re-built Artillery Weir at Aldershot and work was progressing well on a replacement weir at Farnborough Wharf Bridge. Work had also continued on clearing silt from bridge holes in the Dogmersfield area, and regular working parties had cleared trees and undergrowth from the banks of the canal.

Frank also reported that the Society had used volunteers and their own contractor to re-build Blacksmith's bridge, Dogmersfield, with the help of the Inland Waterways Association, who contributed 500 towards the total cost of 2,000. He added that Hampshire County Council had repaired four culverts during the year, re-built four bridges and restored the eastern portal of Greywell Tunnel to its original attractive condition as a contribution towards European Architectural Heritage Year.

The Society's Honorary Treasurer, Peter Youngs, presented the Society's accounts, making particular reference to a donation of 2,500 from the Inland Waterways Association. He was followed by Peter Fethney, the Society's Sales Manager, who reported, a profit of 500 and invited members to suggest new items.

After refreshments and members' questions, Robin Higgs, the Society's Chairman, concluded the meeting. He said that the Society had enjoyed a busy and successful year which had culminated with the news that Surrey were about to take over their section. 'This, you must all agree, is absolutely wonderful news. We are delighted that after 10 years of campaigning the canal has now finally changed hands'.

But Robin warned members that with the current restrictions on public spending voluntary workers would be needed more than ever before.

'We have some pretty daunting targets to reach in the years ahead', he said, adding that some three miles of dredging and five locks repaired each year would be needed for the canal to be re-opened by 1980.

A charitable trust to manage restoration and ths subsequent use of the canal was the Society's objective, said Robin, because a trust would be in a better position to accept funds and offers of help from other voluntary organisations who might not be prepared to make contributions to the County Councils.

In the meantime, he said it was imperative for both County Councils to work together and treat the canal as a whole in deciding priorities for restoration work. The main priority in the Hampshire section of the canal would continue to be dredging. And in Surrey, priority should be given to repairing Ash Embankment, breached in the September 1968 floods and the repair of 28 of the canal's 29 locks.

Robin finished by saying that the Society could take pride in what had been achieved since it was founded in 1966.

'From the original dozen or so, we have a Society of over 2,000 people', he said. 'The first half of our campaign is well and truly behind us. The canal is now, in its entirety, in public ownership. We must aim to finish the second stage - the restoration - in half that time', adding 'It can be done'.
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MONEY MATTERS by Peter Youngs, Treasurer
Payment of Subscriptions by Bankers Orders
There remains a number of members who have not yet returned their amending bankers orders authorising payment of the new subscription rates which came into effect from 1 March. It is necessary to make this the FINAL REMINDER to those who have so far failed to return their forms that they will receive no further newsletters after this issue until they become fully paid-up.

Life Membership
Congratulations to our first three life members, Messrs M A Handford, R Towner and G Jackson, who obviously have sufficient faith and confidence in our intentions to restore the canal, however long it takes, to back our words with their money. Life membership benefits the Society when money is most needed - the early stages of restoration - and I am sure the enterprise of our three members has set an example that others will want to follow. Interested members should contact me as arrangements can be made for the subscription to be paid by two half-yearly or four quarterly payments if desired.
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1st weekend of month
Dates: 3/4 April, 1/2 May, 5/6 June, 3/4 July
Sites:Lock 25Lock 26Lock 27
Leaders:Peter JonesJim ChisholmTony Robinson
Tel. No.Enfield 39513. Wokingham 785146.   01-688 0942

1st Sunday of month
Dates: 4 April, 2 May, 6 June, 4 July Sites Lock 14
Leader: David Morgan Tel. No. Weybridge 49235

2nd weekend of month
Dates: 10/11 April, 8/9 May, 12/13 June, 10/11 July
Site: Ash Lock
Leader: Mike Tomlinson
Tel. No. Basingstoke 21343
Site: Farnborough Road Weir
Leader: Peter Mayne
Tel. No. Camberley 24701

2nd Sunday of month Dates: 11 April, 9 May, 13 June, 11 July Site: Lock 6
Leader: Pablo Haworth
Tel. No. Byfleet 42081

3rd Sunday of month
Dates: 18 April, 16 May, 20 June, 18 July Site: Deepcut Flight
Leader: Mike McGrath
Tel. No. Weybridge 49235

4th weekend of month Dates: 27/28 March, 24/25 April, 22/23 May, 26/27 June
Site: Farnborough Road Weir
Leader: Peter Mayne
Tel. No. Camberley 24701

Last weekend of month
Dates: 27/28 March, 24/25 April, 22/23 May, 26/27 June
Site: Offside bank, Hampshire (See below)
Leader: David Millett
Tel. No. Fleet 7364

Every weekend
Site: Dredging
Leaders: Ian Cripps (Dredger) Tel. No. Fleet 7381
Roger Thomas (Bankside support) Tel. No. Fleet 7381 Farnborough 40389

Lock Gate Building
Site: Castle Grove Nursery, Chobham
Leader: Bob Bowhill
Tel. No. Woking 62916

Details of all the above working parties appeared in the December newsletter. Members are reminded that full details of all the Society's restoration work can be obtained from the Ansaphone facility on Farnborough 45032. BEFORE ATTENDING ANY WORKING PARTY, PLEASE CHECK WITH THE ANSAPHONE OR INDIVIDUAL WORKING PARTY LEADER WHO FILL BE PLEASED TO GIVE YOU DIRECTIONS TO THE SITE.

Rapid progress is now being made, so it is essential that you telephone the Ansaphone system or David Millett on Fleet 7364 to ascertain details of the working party site.
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If you want a change of scene and need some exercise, ring Farnborough 45032 and join a voluntary working party.

A few weekends ago we dialled the number - the Society's Ansaphone service - and got the location of four canal work sites in Hampshire alone.

First port of call was Swan Bridge, North Warnborough near Odiham (A32). We parked at the rear of The Swan, crossed the road and set off down the towpath. Just round the corner, out of sight of the bridge, Roger Thomas and his bankside support team for the dredger were busy laying 900 feet of railway track for the silt-carrying skips. The track layout is the responsibility of 15-year old Dave Meller of Camberley. The next phase of dredging will start soon, so Roger would like to hear from more volunteers.

Half a mile eastwards we found the Society's 70-ton steam-powered floating dredger with Ian Cripps at the controls. Ian told us that he and Penny Gaskill were taking a week off work to keep the dredger going non-stop. Other regulars on the dredger were Brian Bane and Peter Field. John Peart was away for the day leading a Society ramble. Over a pint at The Swan, Clem Hebert recalled his 'private' working parties, before the Hampshire take-over in 1973. Clem did a great deal of work and generated a lot of local interest in voluntary working parties.

After lunch we moved down to Sprats Hatch Bridge, Winchfield, where Dave and Rosemary Millett had a 40-strong party of volunteers clearing the canal bank opposite the towpath. This secluded woodland region of the canal makes an attractive setting for a day out working with the family. Janet and George Hedger with their son David were among the regulars, Ted Hyde of Farnham, Ted and Shirley Gordon from Aldershot, Bill Bristow and his son Stephen of Fleet, Phil Le Cornu and his wife from Basingstoke, and Peter Cooper who travels all the way from Ealing. Gill Oakley was also there, taking time off from lock building, and Bert Saunders with his usual entourage.

At Farnham Road Wharf (A325, Farnham-Farnborough road) there were all the signs and sounds of a building site. Peter Mayne is re-building the let-off weir. Helping him were Ron Baugham of Camberley, Pat and Ernest Clutterbuck, Christine and Andy Gray and Peter's wife Dorothy. Mike Hammersley, who is making a documentary film about the restoration of the canal, was also lending a hand.

Peter's only complaint was that most of the volunteers were his neighbours, and if he was to remain friends with them he badly needed more volunteers from the Society. You'll be helping to finish an important project and learn how to mix and lay cement. Ring Farnborough 45032 now.

Thanks to Hymac for the loan of a 21,000 digger which spent a week in February clearing 130 yards of the canal below Swan Bridge, North Warnborough. This would have cost the Society 500 if we'd had to pay the hire fee.
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5 Pub evening. Prince of Wales, St Johns, Woking xx
12 Pub evening, New Inn, Colt Hill, Odiham
14 Illustrated talk at Farnborough Teachers' Centre xx
25 Ramble xx

3 Pub evening, Prince of Wales, St Johns, Woking
7 May Ball
10 Pub evening, New Inn, Colt Hill, Odiham

6 Canal cruise on Southern Oxford
7 Pub evening, Prince of Wales
14 Pub evening, New Inn
20 Afternoon ramble
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SOCIAL JOTTINGS by David Millett, Fleet 7364
On Wednesday April 14th Frances Pratt, Assistant Press Officer of the British Waterways Board and her husband Derek will give an illustrated talk entitled 'Unusual Aspects of Canals in Britain'. Derek Pratt's colour scenes of canals are second to none and have been featured in many inland waterways books and publications.

Part of their presentation will cover canal architecture and wild life on the canals. The time is 7.45 and the venue is the Teachers' Centre, St Albans Hall, Lynchford Road, Farnborough. Coffee and biscuits will be available and the bar will be open. Details of the May Ball and the first canal cruise of the season are given on the separate sheet enclosed with this newsletter.

Pub Evenings
1st Monday in month. The venue has been changed from the Row Barge, St Johns, Woking to the Prince of Wales, St Johns (about 1/4 mile along Robin Hood Road).
2nd Monday in month. This continues as usual at the New Inn, Colt Hill, Odiham.
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On 18 February John Gagg, one of the best known and most respected people on the inland waterways scene, spent the afternoon casting his experienced eye over the Hampshire section of the canal.

In the evening, at the Teachers' Centre, Farnborough, he entertained a packed audience with an illustrated talk on the northern waterways. He covered over a dozen waterways aboard his boats, Nike Three and Nike Four. The affection John Gagg has for our waterways, and which is the hallmark of his numerous books, came through in his commentary on the Calder, Huddersfield Broad, Lancaster, Leeds and Liverpool and many others.

The one sad note to the evening was a picture of a Bacat at rest on the Aire and Calder, a brave attempt to increase commercial traffic on our waterways which has been thwarted by union action.

John finished the evening off with a pictorial quiz on the waterways network, from which it was evident that some of our members did know that there are waterways north of the Thames.
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RAMBLES John Peart
The first walk this year was very well supported, with twenty-eight people and two dogs enjoying a most interesting ramble on the canal towpath between Greywell and Fleet. Hampshire CC and the Society are to be congratulated on the remarkable improvement apparent on this section of the canal.

The next ramble in this series will continue eastwards from Fleet to view the remaining section of canal in Hampshire and commence on the Surrey section, where working parties are now very busy. Points of interest will include the new weirs at Fleet and Farnborough, Ash Lock and Embankment, Frimley aqueduct and the Deepcut 14, where volunteers are restoring the locks.

Sunday, 25th April 10am. Meet at Reading Road bridge, Fleet for 14 miles walk to Brookwood (return to Fleet by train if required). Lunch stop at The Swan, Ash Vale. Please ring me on Farnborough 46554 by Tuesday, 20th April to book your lunch. (please do not phone during Easter weekend).
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Like last September's sponsored walk, the prize giving ceremony, held on January 31st, was organised with a distinct sense of military precision and thoroughness.

The event was held at New Haw Middle School by kind permission of the Headmaster, Mr V A Munnings. Many of the pupils with parents and Society members filled the school hall, the afternoon started with a BWB film about the country's inland waterways. Then our Chairman, Robin Higgs, presented the prizes to the winners published in newsletter No. 65. Afterwards everyone enjoyed tea and refreshments.

The Society's exhibition boards were prominently displayed; the sales stand was doing a brisk trade and school notices took second place to a large display of 'canalia' on the official notice board.

We gather Jill Haworth (better half of Pablo) was responsible, together with the Sponsored Walk committee. And the military influence? Stuart Browning, BEM. Congratulations on your award in the New Year's Honours, Stuart, for 19 years service with the TAVR and recruitment in particular.
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A two-County effort this year, walking any 15 miles on the Surrey or Hampshire towpath. The date is July 18th, so plenty of time to get those walking shoes dusted. The contact in Surrey is Stuart Browning on Byfleet 42024 and in Hampshire Stan Googe on Fleet 5402. As usual any offers of help in the planning stage or on the day will be gratefully received. If any member knows of a firm which would donate a prize to the value of 30 or 50, then would they let one of the organisers know as soon as possible.

After last year's successful one day 'Water Nobsurd' it has been decided to hold a two-day event this year on July 10th and 11th at Colt Hill, Odiham. This year we will be using two large fields, the towpath and the grounds of the New Inn.

Amongst the events planned are the ancient canal game of 'Welly tossing' - so popular around the 1890s - canal vaulting and the usual greasy pole and tug o' war. If any members of a 'nutty' nature wish to help organire this zany event or wish to offer ideas on further games or competitions, they should contact Stan Googe on Fleet 5402, as should members wishing to take a commercial display stand or provide a service for the day.

The jumble sale on February 21st in Fleet was a great success, the net profit on the event being almost 100, which is a new record for the Society. Thanks are due to everyone who supplied jumble, to all who helped on the day and to the ladies' team who organised it. The executive committee are very appreciative of all fund raising events, as in these inflationary days it is becoming more than ever important to make use of every source of finance to help restoration.
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'Following two working parties I attended at Lock 6 I am prompted to put pen to paper. The work on these occasions involved digging out clay and sand from below the lock sill and carting it in wheelbarrows up to the towpath for dumping. However, the state of the ground underfoot was so bad that I found myself exerting almost as much energy in extricating myself and the barrows from the glutinous morass of wet sand and mud as I was in the work itself.

If the finances available will not extend to the use of a JCB digger or suchlike, could not some simple form of rope and bucket hoist be rigged up when undertaking work of this nature, as I feel that much more efficient use of the available manpower would thus be achieved.

Failing this, could some duckboards or matting be supplied to cover over the mud, in order to assist the movement of the barrows?'
C D Read, West Wickham

'Now that work on the restoration of the seven derelict footbridges in Hampshire is nearing completion, are there any plans to continue this work into Surrey? From a quick survey of the original bridges remaining in Surrey, the most obvious candidate seems to be Cowshot Manor Bridge, which is in a state of dereliction similar to the Hampshire even before work started.

Cowshot has the further advantage that with the old bridge rebuilt the later bridge removed and the lock restored, it would make a most attractive set piece. Now, with the expertise and experience fresh from the Hampshire job and, with luck, enough of the special bricks remaining, seems the right time to face this job'.
Peter Cooper, Ealing, W5
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36ft narrow boat, steel hull, at present fitted two berth but suitable for alteration to four berth. Lister diesel, fully overhauled. Apply Ottershaw 2583 after 6pm. Price 3,500.

3rd - 17th July. 60ft, 8 berth narrow boat. Skipton to Llangollen return, week or fortnight. Mixed party, 37.00/person/week including food and boat hire. Please contact Philip Alien, 6 Chiltern Farm Estate, Cove, Farnborough, Tel: Farnborough 41381 (office hours).
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Voluntary working parties are not the only way the Society is contributing towards the cost of maintaining and restoring the canal. Recently, the professional services of our member Don Neal made Hampshire County Council think again before spending an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 on work to 'stabilise' a canal embankment.

Don Need, an expert on embankment construction, surveyed the embankment and reported no major work was needed. He recommended a system of pegs to monitor any movement, and the insertion of stop plank grooves in two bridge holes so that the water can be cut off from the embankment. As a longer term measure, he suggested that the Council should buy an adjoining field and use it to deposit dredgings which would give added support to the embankment. He also recommended some piling at strategic points.

The Hampshire Authority Engineers were sufficiently impressed by the findings of the Society1s report to seek a second opinion. Their consultant came up with almost exactly the same recommendation which have now been adopted.

So, instead of spending thousands of pounds, it will cost the Council only a few hundred.
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At the March meeting of the executive committee the undermentioned officers were appointed for a period of twelve months:
Chairman: Robin Higgs
Vice-Chairman: David Millett
Secretary: Lise Hamilton
Treasurer: Peter Youngs
Membership Secretary: Alan Babister
Working Party Organiser: Frank Jones
Social Secretary: David Millett
Exhibitions Officer: Michael Williams
Publicity/Promotions Officer: Stan Googe
Press and Publications Officer: Dieter Jebens
Equipment Officer: Hugh Millard
Transport Manager: Jack Reddall
Minutes Secretary: Natalie Jones
Archivist: Doris Potter
Dredger Engineer: Ian Cripps
Safety Officer: D Tyler
I W A Representative: Jeff Holman
Fund Raising Officer: Malcolm Irwin
Talks Organiser: Raymonde Fethney

PS Wine Importers Ltd of Basingstoke have offered members wine at advantageous prices subject to a minimum order of twelve bottles and no less than six bottles of any one type. Price lists can be obtained by ringing Paul Phelps on Basingstoke 22461 or 66389, and don't forget to mention SHCS as the Society receives a commission on each sale.
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POSTMEN required for Ash Vale, Farnborough (West Heath Estate), Yateley, Blackwater and Camberley. Would volunteers please contact Janet Hedger on Fleet 7465.
New Minutes Secretary is Natalie Jones
MANY thanks for the stream of volunteers for the job of envelope printer.
MEMBERS Michael and Judy Handford have established what they claim to be the world's first specialist canal bookshop, Waterways Bookshop Ltd.
FLEET Carnival's 21st year in June. Any volunteers to build a suitable Society float, to David Robinson: Fleet 21376

4,000 bricks have been ordered for work on Curzon Bridge Lock.
OUTSTANDING Achievement Award received by the Society in the national Architectural Heritage Year scheme sponsored by Coca Cola. The special award - one of five out of an entry of 300 - was for voluntary youth work done on Blacksmith's Bridge; offside canal bank clearance and dredger support operations. Prizes of books, plaques and certificates of merit will be received by young representatives of the Society at a special ceremony in London.
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It could be! Renewals fell due on March 1st and in these hard economic times no subs means no newsletters.

Renewal rates are:-
Junior (under 18) and Old Age Pensioners 1.25
Adult 2.50
Family 3.50
Group Affiliation 4.00
Life is 50.00

The address is:- Mr D Herd, 23 Holly Road, Cove, Farnborough, Hants.

We waste about 35 each year sending out final reminders, so if you haven't renewed yet, send your subs off now. Remember, 35 pays for a Hymac to do a day's dredging on the canal.
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1. Working parties in progress in Surrey lead by Mike McGrath at Deepcut, Pablo Haworth at Sheerwater and the London Working Party Group of WRG at Deepcut.
2. Some of the award winners of the sponsored walk held last September (top) pupils of New Haw Middle School (left) Councillor David Boorman and family (right) Lise Hamilton with her daughter Helen and Robin Higgs.
3. The Earl of Onslow, The Society's President at the AGM.
4. Peter Mayne and volunteers working on the new weir at Farnborough Road Bridge.

COPY DATE for June newsletter - 1 May
Editorial Offices: 45 Durnsford Avenue, Fleet. Tel. Fleet 5308
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking. Tel. Chobham 7314
Working Party Organiser: Frank Jones. Tel. Farnborough 45032
Treasurer: Peter Youngs, The Coppice, 192 Upper Chobham Road, Camberley. Tel. Camberley 25819
Secretary: Mrs Lise Hamilton, 2 Frome Close, Cove, Farnborough. Tel. Farnborough 49651
Membership Secretary: Alan Babister, 31 Elmsleigh Road, Cove, Farnborough. Tel. Farnborough 46147
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Last updated April 2005