Prestigious award for campaigner

By Rob George Friday 26 October 2012 Updated: 02/11 12:53

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Buy photos » Max Sinclair and current town mayor Coun Anne Taft unveiled the plaque at the formal opening of Droitwich’s canals in 2011. Picture by Alex Bradbury 2711012ABR10 Order this picture at

A DEDICATED Droitwich resident who campaigned for more than half a century to re-open the town’s canals has been awarded a prestigious English Heritage Angel award.

Max Sinclair was one of five people nationwide to be honoured with an award to recognise his drive, commitment and vision that made the restoration of the Droitwich Canals possible.

The caring 82-year-old was among 16 individuals or groups short-listed for the awards in August and was handed the honour for Best Rescue of a Historic Industrial Building or Site at a gala ceremony in London’s West End on Monday (October 22).

Founded last year by Andrew Lloyd Webber to celebrate the efforts of local people in rescuing their heritage, the award scheme is run by English Heritage and inspired by its Heritage at Risk Register.

Max first began campaigning in 1959 and was responsible for founding the Droitwich Canals Trust in 1973.

Together with other organisations, his work encouraged thousands of volunteers and raised millions of pounds worth of

funding to restore the canals.

He said: “I was a war-time child and hated to see destruction. By the late 1960s the Barge canal was overgrown, silted up and missing most of its operational parts.

“I knew I had to do something. Through grit and determination thousands of volunteers helped in the repairs and now, more than 30 years later, the canals are fully restored and once again enjoyed by all,” he added.

Mr Lloyd-Webber chaired the judging panel which also comprised English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley, author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, Charles Moore of the Daily Telegraph, historian Bettany Hughes and the Bishop of London, the Right Revd Richard Chartres.

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