Get tunnel vision and help with a great local history preservation project!

LHCRT Vice President David Suchet (left), chairman David Dixon (centre) and engineering director Peter Buck launch the David Suchet Tunnel Vision appeal at the London Boat Show Picture: LHCRT

Tom Reid from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust has been in touch to let us know about the launch of their Tunnel Vision appeal, which has been established to raise funds in order to construct a canal tunnel under the railway near Lichfield.

The appeal is supported by Vice President of the trust, Poirot actor David Suchet who’s a keen boater himself and a great supporter of the restoration project.

The tunnel will be vital if the drained canal, currently undergoing extensive restoration by volunteers, is to be restored and completed to it’s former glory.

If you’re unaware of this remarkable and large project that’s steadily progressing this excellent blog post by Christine Howles explains more about it. The trust run regular work parties and all are very much welcome, whether you’ve a specialist skill or not!

To find out more, please pop along to the Lichfield and Hateherton Canal Restoration Trust website here.

Tom Reid wrote:

lhcrt-cross-city-canal-tunnel

An artist’s impression of the Lichfield Canal tunnel under the Cross City railway line, with the Lichfield Southern Bypass railway bridge upper right. Picture: LHCRT.

David Suchet Launches Lichfield Canal Trust Appeal

David Suchet CBE put Lichfield’s canal on the national stage when he officially launched a £1million appeal.

The actor, most famous for playing Hercule Poirot in the television series for almost 25 years, announced Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s Tunnel Vision Appeal at the London Boat Show held at the ExCel Exhibition Centre last week.

Mr Suchet is Vice President of the Trust and also Vice President of the Inland Waterways Association, who kindly agreed to host the appeal launch.

He said: ‘I really do think that it’s very important that people like myself, who are fortunate enough to be in the position to have a very high profile, do give our support to causes that we care for.

‘I’m not only a supporter of the inland waterways but I’m a huge enthusiast and a practitioner, I actually use them, and I would like to bring awareness on a national level to the support groups and individuals who not only help to maintain the canals but are actually responsible for bringing these dead canals back to life.’

LHCRT is restoring a seven-mile section of canal linking the Birmingham Canal Navigations near Brownhills to the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford.

The Trust has overcome many obstacles since its foundation in 1988, including the construction of an aqueduct over the M6 Toll Road which Mr Suchet also supported by leading an appeal.

And when the Lichfield Southern Bypass was built, the Trust raised £490,000 to install a canal culvert under the new roadway.

Now plans to extend the bypass are well advanced and these will include a new railway bridge which is to be installed during a brief possession of the Cross City line, probably in late 2019.

lhcrt-canal-network-map

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals’ central position in the Midlands canal network. Graphic LHCRT.

LHCRT intends to take this opportunity to drive a canal tunnel under the railway line near the new bridge, and is working very closely with Staffordshire County Council to ensure the maximum cost benefit for both schemes, but to do that it must raise £1million by Spring 2019.

Describing the tunnel as one of the major missing links for the canal going through Lichfield, LHCRT Engineering Director Peter Buck said: “This tunnel will not only create a canal link but will also be a vital link for the community.

‘There are some proposed housing developments on both sides and this will be the safe community link for getting underneath the railway.’

To donate to the David Suchet Tunnel Vision Appeal, visit the appeal page here where you can download the Tunnel Vision donation form, donate via the PayPal Giving Fund, or donate directly on that page.

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