A Lichfield woman’s idea to create a special place to celebrate her best friend’s life has resulted in the restoration of a picnic table and a much-needed cash boost for the city’s canal trust.

Beth Toovey launched an appeal on JustGiving to sponsor the restoration of the table at Lock 18 on the Fosseway Heath section of the Lichfield Canal in memory of Geraldine Agnew.

Beth Toovey on the restored picnic bench

Geraldine was gym manager at Lichfield Health and Fitness Club for many years, with Beth revealing that she had become a huge part of the local community.

“I had the pleasure of Geraldine as my best friend – we shared so many good times together and were also keen runners.

“Many of our runs were along the canals and that particular spot is really close to one of our favourite longer runs.

“It is in a beautiful spot with great views. Geraldine would definitely approve!

“I wanted to do something that was easy for friends and family of Geraldine to get involved with and feel part of creating a special place where we can remember and celebrate Geraldine’s life.

“We also arrange walks and runs just to get together and thought it would be lovely to incorporate this stretch of the canal as part of the route.”

Beth Toovey

The response to the appeal saw £603 raised within 12 hours, smashing her target of £500 – and it has now risen to more than £920.

“If you would like to contribute it will really help Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust restore this whole area and get the canal moving again.

“We hope to arrange a walk to celebrate Geraldine as soon as we are able along the canal route.”

Beth Toovey

The picnic table was restored by Trust volunteer Tony Cadwallader, who has built more than 50 benches now in place along the Fosseway Heath, Tamworth Road and Summerhill sections of the Lichfield Canal.

Details on how to sponsor a dedicated bench can be found on the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust website.

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  1. Lichfield council will chase the money. If there’s more money in a road than there is in trees then the new slip road is an inevitability.

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