PREPARATIONS are under way as a canal group gets set to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Plans are being drawn up for major celebrations to commemorate five decades of the Ashby Canal Association in 2016.
The group was formed in 1966 in a bid to try to prevent further closures along the waterway.
Chairman Peter Oakden said: “The year 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Ashby Canal Association.
“The group was formed in 1966 to try to prevent any further closures along the canal.
“It was borne out of concern caused by progressive closure of the northern eight miles due to mining subsidence.
“The association is now actively promoting the restoration and reconnection to the navigable canal and, over recent years, the association’s work parties have significantly contributed to the voluntary effort of the restoration project.
“Furthermore its stated aim was, and still is, to ensure that the Ashby Canal is restored to Moira.
“We intend to make 2016 a special year with suitable celebrations marking the anniversary and recognising what the association has achieved in its first half-century.”
People who would like to play a part in the celebrations, or who have any ideas about how they would like to mark the anniversary, is urged to visit www.ashbycanal.org.uk
It comes after the group learned that, on April 17, UK Coal’s Minorca surface mine will be making the third of five payments of £250,000 to Leicestershire County Council for the restoration of the Ashby Canal.
A spokesman for the canal group said: “Looking to the future we are optimistic about progress, although timing is uncertain and, as ever, finance is the deciding factor.”
In 1944, the stretch of the canal between Donisthorpe and Moira was officially closed due to mining subsidence.