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Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 11:05 GMT
Canal to be floodlit for Christmas
The Caen Hill locks
The historic Caen Hill locks in Wiltshire
A flight of 16 locks will be floodlit for the holidays to mark the completion of a 29.24m lottery-funded canal restoration.

The spectacle will take place on the historic Caen Hill locks at Devizes in Wiltshire on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The steeply stacked locks will be lit to create the illusion of a cascade of liquid colour which will stretch for more than half a mile.

The locks light-up on evenings from 16 December to 6 January will also herald 2003 as British Waterways' 40th anniversary year.

Heritage investment

Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund Liz Forgan said: "This is a significant day, the completion of Heritage Lottery Fund's first major project.

"What more evidence do we need of the regenerative properties of investing in our heritage?"

The 87-mile canal generates about 28m a year locally and supports 2,600 full-time jobs along the waterway from the River Thames at Reading to the Avon west of Bath.

The canal had fallen into a partially derelict state by the 1950s and by 1990 when it reopened, funding was needed to restore it.

Large award

A bid resulted in one of the largest ever Heritage Lottery Fund awards - 25m in 1996 for the restoration of the canal.

The award was dependent on a further 4.24m from the Kennet and Avon Canal Partnership, which includes British Waterways.

The chairman of British Waterways, Dr George Greener, said of the canal lighting: "It marks the end of the restoration and is an opportunity for everyone who cares about this historic waterway, all partners in the very widest sense, to celebrate with us."

"This spectacular event is a testament to their efforts."


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02 Jun 02 | England
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