The Chesterfield Canal Trust has appointed its first ever paid employee. Up to now the Trust has prided itself on being run entirely by volunteers, however the Trustees feel that this is the time to engage someone to work full-time on getting the remaining nine miles of the canal restored. The aim is to have the canal fully reopened by 2027, which will be the 250th Anniversary of its completion.

George Rogers was appointed at the end of February. He will be taking up the post on May 13th. He will be working from an office in the beautifully converted stables at Staveley Hall. From his office window, he will be able to see Staveley Town Lock, which he helped to build.

Kath Auton, who convened the appointments panel said: “George is a very talented and inspirational young man with a passion and vision for the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal by 2027.”

After earning a Masters degree in Engineering from Trinity College Cambridge, George’s previous employment was as a Chartered Civil Engineer for a small engineering consultancy in Derby, specialising in the design of civil infrastructure works for National Grid substations.

George also has wide experience within the voluntary canal restoration sector.

He is a Trustee of the Friends of the Cromford Canal, and leads their Strategic Restoration Committee, focusing on restoration planning, strategic direction and transitioning the FCC to a major delivery organisation through structural and policy changes.

George is a Director of the Waterway Recovery Group, the national organisation which runs working holidays for volunteers on canal restoration projects across the country. He has been Site Leader or Cook on over 20 week-long canal camps, and a volunteer on over 30 further weeks, including multiple weeks on the Chesterfield Canal at Hall Lane, Staveley Town Lock, Hartington Harbour and Constitution Hill Bridge. He has been responsible for project planning and delivery, leading teams of 18 volunteers of mixed age and ability. He is a member of the Restoration Hub High Level Panel of the Inland Waterways Association. This group provides insight into strategic issues and common problems faced by canal restoration schemes that can be influenced at a national level.

George said: “The Chesterfield Canal restoration is a very exciting project, and one that I have become deeply passionate about since first volunteering on a Waterway Recovery Group work camp in 2010. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and working with all of the highly dedicated volunteers, partners and communities to complete this ambitious project.”

In November 2014, George received a Point of Light Award, which honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK. Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Through his work, George is helping to safeguard the heritage and culture of Britain’s canals for future generations, which is of great importance. He truly deserves this Point of Light award.”

The first job will be to pull together all the work that has been done in the past, not least by Dr Geraint Coles, who was employed as a Development Manager by the Chesterfield Canal Partnership between 2004 and 2013. George will then create a sequence of costed projects which will form the basis of a series of major funding bids.