A DETERMINED volunteer, whose 50-year campaign helped re-open Droitwich Spa’s canal network, has been made an honorary freeman of the town.

Max Sinclair was officially given the honour at a special meeting of Droitwich Spa Town Council last night.

The high accolade marks the major role he played in the restoration of Droitwich canals.

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 waterway, 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 was given the Honorary Freedom of Droitwich Spa at a service at Droitwich Community Hall in Heritage Way.

The proposal was first made by the former mayor, Councillor Anne Taft, and had the full backing of all members of the town council.

The ceremony was put on hold until Monday whilst urgent repairs and refurbishments were carried out at the hall.

Councillor Taft said: “Max has been a real inspiration to all and for those of us who love Droitwich he has been a man of vision, as well as having an overwhelming lifetime commitment to the scheme to restore the Droitwich Canals, which is why he is so special.”

Mr Sinclair said: “I am very proud to get this honour. I like to think it has been deserved because of the hard work of all the volunteers that have helped over the years.

“The fact i’m being recognised in this way means the importance of their work is also being recognised.

“It was a long and hard battle at times but it is now great to see the canals as they are today. They are a fantastic amenity for Droitwich and it is brilliant to see they are being supported by so many people.”