A CANAL enthusiast, whose hard-fought 50 year campaign helped re-open Droitwich Spa’s waterway, has been recognised with a top honour.

Max Sinclair has been given an English Heritage angel award for the major role he played in the restoration of Droitwich canals.

He was named the winner in the best rescue of a historic industrial building or site category at a gala ceremony in London’s West End on Monday (October 22).

Mr Sinclair, who founded Droitwich Canals Trust, first began campaigning in 1959.

Together with partner organisations, his work mobilised thousands of volunteers and raised millions of pounds worth of funding to restore the canals, culminating in the reopening of the full navigation in 2011.

The Droitwich Canals formed part of a navigable 27-mile ring passing through Worcester and Droitwich and were used throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century to facilitate the salt trade, before becoming abandoned in the 1930s.

Mr Sinclair said: “I was a war-time child and hated to see destruction. By the late 1960s the Barge canal was overgrown, silted up and missing most of its operational parts. I knew I had to do something. Through grit and determination thousands of volunteers helped in the repairs and now, more than 30 years later, the canals are fully restored and once again enjoyed by all.”