Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) operators of the M6toll have proudly donated £50,000 to Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

MEL's CEO and Director of Motorway Operations; accompanied by the Trust's Patron, Michael Fabricant MP attended a ceremonial meeting with the Trust Management in the shadow of the Lichfield Canal Aqueduct over the M6toll last week.

President Eric Wood accepted a cheque for £50,000 from Tom Fanning, MEL CEO.  The donation goes towards the modification of the Lichfield Canal Aqueduct in readiness for opening as a pedestrian route from Brownhills to The Boat Inn on the A461.

Michael Fabricant MP said, “"Roads, canals, and rail lines were the making of Britain when they connected the nation - often with parallel routes side by side. And so it is wonderful and fitting that MEL is donating £50,000 to the restoration of a canal which will connect existing canals around the heart of England. As a Patron of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and a keen narrowboater, it is a real pleasure to have handed over such a generous cheque to the Trust Management.  I eagerly hope for the day when I will be on one of the first narrowboats to cross the M6toll on the very aqueduct which was built for the Lichfield Canal when the M6 Toll road first opened.

Chairman of the Lichfield Canal Trust, Brian Kingshott, presented Mr Fanning with a certificate bestowing on him honorary life membership of the Canal Trust.  Mr Kingshott said "this was in recognition of the generosity of MEL and recognised the close co-operation between the two organisations in progressing  this stage of the project"

When completed, the Heritage Towpath Trail will give the public access to a walking route of about 7 miles from Huddlesford Junction, east of Lichfield, to the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Ogley, on the outskirts of Brownhills. Much of the recent work has been financed by an SIB grant. All this is an important step towards restoring the whole 7 miles of canal to full use hopefully within a decade.

Tom Fanning, who will retire as MEL's CEO at the end of May added "it was a great honour to have been awarded with Honorary Life Membership of the Trust.  I will look forward to receiving regular updates as the progress and wish them every success with the project"


From Left to Right Front - Brian Kingshot (LHCRT Chairman), James Hodson (MEL Director of Motorway Operations), Tom Fanning (MEL CEO), Michael Fabricant MP, Peter Buck (LHCRT Engineering Director) and Eric Wood (LHCRT Founder and President)