Chairman: Jackie Lambert
As our branch name suggests, we cover the most interesting (that’s what we think anyway!) stretch of the river from Old Windsor through bustling and cosmopolitan towns and tranquil countryside, passing historic palaces and national monuments, to Teddington Lock, the first non-tidal lock on the River Thames.
We are a very lively branch, currently the second largest, and combine activities to support the overall aims and objectives of the Society with a social programme tailored to the needs and wants of our members. At one end of the spectrum there are monthly pub lunches, normally at riverside hostelries, when members can get together for a chat and exchange views on current developments affecting our river. On a slightly more formal note we arrange evening talks by guest speakers on a variety of river-related subjects. For example, recently we’ve had talks on the history and continuing story of the Dunkirk Little Ships, the design, engineering and future of the Thames Barrier, a fascinating insight into the work of the Met Police’s Marine Response Unit, the history of the Thames bridges on our stretch from medieval times to the present and an equally fascinating and meticulously researched history of some of the Thames' islands. Additionally there are occasional visits and outings, such as a trip on an amphibious vehicle (DUWK) along the Thames at Windsor and a visit to Mapledurham Mill.
To further enhance the mission of the Society we represent our branch at River Users Group (RUG) meetings and report back to our membership on issues that may affect them. This ranges from illegal mooring, flooding issues right through to inappropriate development. We have attended many of the River Thames Scheme forums and drop-in sessions and have provided what we consider is some very useful input. Our River Wardens continue to carry out sterling work on their regular inspections of the river and reporting back on specific issues that need addressing.
Members of the Teddington to Old Windsor Branch are kept regularly updated by our electronic newsletter TOW in the Water, which not only informs the membership of our programme of events but also alerts them to river-related issues which may affect them.
Any organisation is only as strong as its membership and there is an ongoing recruitment programme involving stands at locks and appropriate events along with constant handing out of publicity material and one-to-one “selling” by our boat owners on their cruises up and down the river.
Current Activities (April 2021)
Potential plans to develop the riverside in Staines-upon-Thames are causing us concern. Several blocks of high-rise flats and a hotel are proposed. The TOW Committee is monitoring these developments closely.
In Elmbridge, we and many members) have objected to the use of two boats as residential properties (near Cherry Orchard Gardens). The planning applications have been refused but are now subject to appeals.
We are disturbed by the activities of a 'tree-felling maniac' who is cutting down trees along the river in the Walton-on-Thames area. Surrey Police and Elmbridge Borough Council are trying to locate the culprit.
A Spelthorne Councillor who supported environmental matters has had his application for riverside development on the green belt refused. Here is a report from Get Surrey website.
Our forthcoming events will be listed in the Events Diary once lockdown conditions allow..