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IWA Ipswich Branch is proud to celebrate its 40th Anniversary this year, starting with a big thank you to all who have been involved with the Branch and its successes over this time.

IWA Ipswich Branch was founded in 1974 and since then has worked to promote and help protect inland waterways across Suffolk and later Norfolk. This has included organising everything from social events that bring together those with similar interests to supporting local waterway trusts at work parties that improve and restore waterways.

One key achievement that the Branch is keen to remember on its 40th Anniversary is its work to establish the River Gipping Trust in 2007. This came from over twenty years of restoration work on the River Gipping, all carried out by the Branch who eventually sought to create a group that would specialise in the restoration of this waterway. Today the Branch still supports the group in a number of ways and the River Gipping is constantly being restored and improved.

Work like this has been carried out throughout the Branch’s forty years and all by volunteers. It is the achievements of those who give their time and skills for nothing that the Branch is very proud to celebrate in 2014. Plenty has been going on to mark the occasion, beginning in September, when Branch members had the chance to head off on a long weekend away to Kent, all organised by the Branch committee. This was followed by a celebration lunch on 4th October, attended by Branch friends new and old as well as speakers Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, Steve Hayward, waterways author, and David Stevenson, a founder member and former Chairman of IWA Ipswich Branch.

Current IWA Ipswich Branch Chairman, Chard Wadley said “IWA Ipswich Branch has been a source of proud moments for me. The Branch has started its own restoration project, developed good relationships with land owners, local councils and the EA, formed The River Gipping Trust and won several awards including the Anglian Water Caring for the Environment Award in 1996 and the Dorothea Award for Conservation from the Association for Industrial Archaeology for the Restoration of Creeting Lock in 2006 . These achievements must be credited to the team of Ipswich Branch volunteers and committee members, all of whom I hope have enjoyed their time with the Branch volunteering, making new friends and giving something back to the waterways as much as I have.”

IWA Ipswich Branch celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year and all involved with the Branch would love to see it continue its brilliant work for another forty. To achieve this, the committee is always looking for more support from the huge area it covers. If you would like to get involved with the Branch and be a part of its next forty years please contact IWA Ipswich Branch Chairman, Chard Wadley at [email protected] or IWA Branch Campaign Assistant, Stefanie Preston at [email protected] or on 01494 783 453.