With enormous sadness

It is with enormous sadness that I must advise you of the very sad loss of Graham Mabbutt who passed away on 22nd June 2022. Everyone involved with the John Bunyan Boat and the B&MK Waterway Trust will know just how much Graham contributed to our Trust and enterprises in both Milton Keynes and Bedford. To say he will be greatly missed is an inadequate understatement. Graham put his heart and soul initially into the Waterway Trust and then the John Bunyan boat, and in 2019 into inspiring and leading the initial development of the Electra project. Until his recent illness forced him to step down Graham was a constant presence on the John Bunyan. Its overwhelming success as a real icon of Bedford and the River Great Ouse is down to him. It was Graham who persuaded me to join the Trust, “ just for a year or so”, and that was back in 2014. Graham was highly persuasive with his infectious smile and dogged attitude. He has made all of us involved with the Trust and the operation of the John Bunyan boat what we are today. We can never thank him enough.

We were due to make a presentation to Graham at the Trust AGM this year to mark our very deep and sincere thanks to him. Sadly the presentation never happened as Graham was admitted to hospital that morning. We will, in due course, make a presentation to his family. What he achieved with and for all of us will be remembered with great affection and respect: he has been an inspiration to us all.

Photo courtesy of Steve Ashley © 2022
Graham earlier this year unveiling the
Queens Award for Voluntary Service
awarded to the John Bunyan Boat Volunteers.

Jane Hamilton
Chair, Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust

Welcome to the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Park

The Waterway Park is an ambitious project to link the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes with the River Great Ouse in Bedford. Just 16 miles (26Km) in length it will have a huge regional impact creating a waterway park and establishing a green corridor right at the heart of future developments on the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, a legacy for future generations.

The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust is a charity and company limited by guarantee. It was established in 1995 to “promote and assist in the provision and maintenance of a new waterway and associated facilities and structures connecting the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes to the River Great Ouse at Bedford, for the benefit of local inhabitants and visitors”.

Help secure benefits for the Waterway Park by responding to Bedford Local Plan 2040 consultation

Bedford Borough Council is currently consulting on its Local Plan 2040 which sets out policies and proposals for the future of the Bedford area. The Waterway Park has been included in the Local Plan for some time but in this latest version a new site is added which can help secure delivery of the Waterway when the site is developed. See Policy HOU13 on page 58 of the Plan

The Local Plan can be viewed HERE

It can help the Council ensure this policy remains in the plan if it receives support from people who respond to the local plan consultation. This is what the Trust has said in response:

The B&MK Waterway Trust welcomes the emphasis that the draft Plan places on the Waterway Park as a strategic green/blue infrastructure project. In particular the Trust supports Policy HOU13 Land at Gibraltar Corner, and its reference to provision of land to facilitate the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park to the east of the housing allocation.

The Trust strongly supports the inclusion of the route of the Waterway Park in the Key Diagram.

We are looking for your comment on the Local Plan and your support of the inclusion of the route of the Waterway Park in the Local Plan.

Your comments can be emailed to planningforthefuture@bedford.gov.uk

The consultation ends 29th July.

What’s happening in the BMK Waterway Park

We are always busy promoting the Waterway Park, raising funds and awareness through our community boats and working on projects along the route. View all news here


Your donations are making the waterway park a reality

Extending the navigation on the Gt Ouse, marking & securing the route as well as technical and economic studies, these are just some of the projects we are working on.

Make a Donation

Would you like to volunteer with us?

All of our work from running the community boats to planning and promoting the route is carried out by volunteers. We are always looking for enthusiastic people to get involved.

Find out more