The Inland Water ways Association.

Earth Rise

Apollo 8 not as famous as Apollo 11 with Messrs Armstrong. Aldrin and Collins, but never or less Apollo 8 should certainly hang on to the coat tails of Apollo 11 in importance for Apollo 8 was the first mission to the moon the 3 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders orbited the moon 10 times and returned to earth. They were the first humans ever to escape the clutches of earth’s gravity and to orbit another world. But there was a legacy that was created from that mission. On December 24 1968 at 1600 hrs GMT Bill Anders took a photo during the 1st orbit which can only be described as one of the most iconic photos ever taken. This photo has been given the name Earth rise. This photograph tells us a great deal about us. To actually get to that point in space and to be able to take that photo sums up one thing. If mankind puts his mind to it he can achieve great things. Project Apollo was the accomplishment of some of the worlds greatest minds, Scientists, engineers, technicians, mathematicians and administrators, over 400,000 in fact. But also the photo showed earth hanging in the dark void of space fragile and somewhat innocent. Earth is what we call home. Everyone who has ever lived, lived there, every dream that has ever been dream’t has been dream’t there on the bluish whitish object. This is home.

No comment.

There is however only one earth and Mans presence has been a burden a some what nuisance, mankind has indeed fouled his nest. It is scarred and stained by rubbish and pollution. There is no Star Fleet with the likes of captain Kirk or Jean Luc Picard to take us to another planet. Earth is the only home and we have to make do with what we have got. It is up to us to treat our planet with the respect it deserves, it is up to us to do our bit, We only borrow the planet for our life time then pass it on to the next generation. Surely it is up to us in the here and now to make sure that when we hand over the property it is in a fit and habitable state.

Mike Slade the founder member.

Well there is hope, a start, that little acorn that could some day turn in to a oak tree a light at the end of the tunnel. That sub set within society, the lets not sit on our backsides let get out and do our bit brigade. I am talking about the volunteer. The person who seems fit to contribute to make a difference, no matter how small. One such group is the Bridgwater contingent of the IWA the Inland Waterways Association. This motley band of people turn up at 10 am every Tuesday and Saturday at Bridgwater docks. The head of the group, the operations manager if you like is the one and only Mike Slade. This chirpy happy go lucky chap was the one responsible for starting of the group simply advertising for volunteers and in his own words “by Putting up posters on lamp posts” Mike an ex long distance lorry driver, Taxis business owner and Environment Agency worker started the group 5 years ago. This guy is a person with many fingers in many pies. He sits on the local transport forum, The town development forum and liaises with the canal and rivers trust, Sedgemoor district council and Somerset county council. PHEW

Others members of this clean up clan are.

In the fore ground is Glyn Downs an ex chip shop owner, In the middle with the blue woolie hat is Elizabeth Mckennon who has lived in Scotland for over 40 years but now lives the other side of Langport, The guy on the left is Mike Aldridge, although retired his does a small job inspecting foot paths for the council.

Note the flat raft that Mike and Elizabeth are on, This is known within the group as the paint flat. This raft was acquired from Portsmouth harbour where sailors from the Royal navy used it to paint the hull of their ships.

This is Julian Gibson one of the stalwarts of the gang . Julian is a gardener handyman and also drives gritting lorries when needed. Julian also provides some of his own tools for the group to use and also provides his van as well.

These two intrepid Eco warriors are Jonathan Henry (Left) and Mike Wheatly. Jonathan to give him credit cycles all the way from Highbridge to make a contribution. Good effort mate. Now if you want to know anything about show jumping Mike on the right is your man. Mike was a show jumper for many years but now is an active bell ringer at St Mary’s Church in the town.
This husband and wife team are Mark and Julie Howden. Both have been active members of the group for two years,
This hands on guy is Paul Labuschagne. He really is a roll up your sleeves and get on with it type of person.



On the left is Pete Radford, I not giving away this guys age but he helped to service the first colour TVs in the 1960’s. On the right is Greg James who we wouldn’t see for a few weeks because he be going on holiday to Spain. Lucky so an so..


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This is Pete Lowe. He travels all the way from Drayton which is near Langport every time on his motorbike to contribute. Pete is also a volunteer at the Westonzoyland Steam Museum.
This smiler is none other than Liz Gruffydd Jones, Liz travels from Brent Knowle every time. Where she lives on a small holding.

Well what exactly does the group get up to, Well we do a variety of jobs. We do our best looking after the docks. The main stay is picking up the litter and rubbish. This is done either by volunteers walking around the docks or sailing around on our own raft the paint flat. Weeding and painting are other tasks we perform Other areas also covered are the canal, we have worked all the way up from the docks to the bridge on squibblers way. We also keep an eye on two local ponds. Brownes pit of of Elmword Avenue and Taunton road pond between Taunton road and the canal. We also do litter picking on the river Parrett between Black bridge and Saltlands bridge.

We are not the only ones.

You anglers may well ask what is the purpose of this post on a angling blog. Well I am a member and I think its’ appropriate.