Chippenham volunteer wins global award and £3,300 grant for canal restoration

Volunteer Derek Flexer in front of the restored Wilts & Berks Canal near Pewsham

Volunteer Derek Flexer in front of the restored Wilts & Berks Canal near Pewsham

First published in News

Chippenham volunteer Derek Flexer has received international acclaim for his exceptional support of Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.

Last year the 53-year-old, who is chairman of the local branch, donated nearly 300 hours of his spare time to restoring the waterway between Melksham and Chippenham.

Motorola has presented him with the 2012 CEO Award for Volunteerism, together with a $5,000 (£3,300) grant for the trust.

This is on top of an earlier $500 (£330) grant when he received the quarterly Service Corps Award.

Mr Flexer has asked that the total amount be put towards the ongoing restoration of the canal near Pewsham.

Members of the Melksham, Chippenham and Calne branch have already dredged and rewatered significant lengths, raised and widened the towpath, and rebuilt culverts and spill weirs.

They have installed information boards, benches and birdboxes, and worked with youth groups to plant trees in the meadow below.

Mr Flexer, manager for Motorola Solutions, said: “I’m delighted that an international organisation has taken such a keen interest in the restoration of the canal.

“Motorola is a strong believer in corporate social responsibility, encouraging and supporting staff to make a difference in their local communities.

“Their award will help to raise the profile of the charity and may even encourage some of my own colleagues to get involved.”

He was the only UK recipient of the quarterly award. Others were recognised for their work in North America, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Motorola spokesman Simon Craddock said: “The award encourages community involvement and recognises exceptional service.

“These employees represent some of the most successful volunteers in the company.”

For more information about the restoration work, visit www.melkshamwaterway.org.uk

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