Member Rachel Stewart, President of the C & O Canal Association, of Arlington, Virginia, sadly passed away on March 8th. Rachel led the effort to restore the Big Slackwater section of the C&O canal towpath, and accepted an award on behalf of the C&O Canal Association for Excellence in Citizen Stewardship in 2012 from the US Park Service. The Association traces its origins to Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who fought against a plan to replace the 184-mile long canal between Cumberland, Maryland, and Georgetown with a paved highway. An avid hiker and lover of the outdoors, Rachel regularly hiked the C&O Canal (including completing the 184-mile Thru-Hike in 2009) and a portion of the Appalachian Trail. She also frequently hiked in Scotland (this picture was taken on St Cuthbert’s Trail, at the England-Scotland border) and regularly took part in the World Canals Conference: Dublin/Belfast in 2001, Edinburgh in 2003, Kingston in 2008. IWI members also enjoyed her company on several canal tours, starting with the tour of Serbia in 2009. She combined hiking through the Cévennes with presence at the WCC in Toulouse and joined the pre- and post-conference tours in September 2013. She will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathy to family and friends.
Paul Leech passed away peacefully on March 6. A lifetime campaigner for the English canals, Paul was a Civil Engineer and enjoyed a long career within British Rail and latterly with Interfleet working on both the national and London Underground networks. On the waterways, he promoted the work of the Inland Waterways Association, the Wendover Arm Trust and the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway project amongst many others. He had only recently taken on the task of chairing the Wendover Canal Trust. He was a regular cruiser both on his own narrowboat Katherine and on organised tours around the world. He is seen here in an open trip boat on the canals of Ghent during the tour of Belgian Waterways organised by the Canal Society of New York State, IWI and Euromapping in October 2012. Following a small gathering at the crematorium in Southend, a memorial service will take place on Friday March 21 at 1:30 pm at the Methodist Church, Thorpe Bay, Southend on Sea, Essex