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The River Thames Society is pleased to administer the Thames Heritage Trust Awards, given annually to groups and organisations involving young people under that age of 25 which stimulate use of and interest in the river, as well as bringing benefit to the Thames.

The main THT Annual Award is aimed to encourage volunteer youth activities which significantly benefit the Thames community and environment, stimulating use and interest in the river.

the most outstanding scheme or group receives £2,500 and there are five further awards of £250 for schemes/projects in the five RTS branch areas.  

The John Coleman Trophy, named after the founder of the THT, is presented along with a cheque for £250 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Thames by promoting or protecting the river by working with disadvantaged, young or otherwise needy groups or educating others about the Thames.

Nominations for the THT Awards,  which are presented at the RTS AGM in April, are welcome throughout the year and are considered by a judging panel composed of Trust and Society officers with some outside representatives. 

To nominate an organisation or individual, please complete this nomination form and send to the RTS Administrator

2023 Update

The Thames Heritage Trust  was formed in 1979 by John Coleman to provide grants and loans for volunteer-led projects helping to develop or improve leisure, cultural or educational facilities along the non-tidal Thames.

Tangible reminders of the Trust ‘s work can be seen along the river, with improvements to areas and seats donated marked by plaques. Many organisations and individuals benefitted financially.

Following a period of inactivity the Trust was re-established in 2007 by John’s son Paul and Michael Willey, whose father Vernon had managed many of the original projects.

A new annual award, linked to a generous financial donation was introduced aimed at groups and organisations involving young people, with eligibility  extended to the whole river,  with lesser awards for runners-up within each of the five RTS branch areas. There was also the John Coleman Cup to be awarded to an individual making a substantial contribution to the well-being of the Thames.

These awards were administered by RTS ,aided by a judging panel of individuals from various organisations and they continued until 2021 when they were halted following the death of Paul Coleman.

The decision has now been taken to wind up the Thames Heritage Trust with the balance of the funds transferred to RTS, a move greatly appreciated by the RTS Council who will seek to commemorate the Trust in some way in the future.

Between 2007 and 2021 forty one organisations  from all parts of the river benefitted from a THT award and fourteen individuals received the Coleman Cup – a significant achievement for which the original and current Trustees should be righty proud.

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THT Awards 2021
THT Annual Award

The main THAMES HERITAGE TRUST AWARD, for volunteer youth activities of benefit to the river community and environment , went to Thames Sailability which provides accessible boating for wheelchair users, people with reduced mobility and those with learning challenges. Based at Walton-on-Thames and Shepperton their specially-adapted motorboat  Impossible Dream runs trips throughout the year, mainly for organised groups such as schools. Participation is encouraged and the relative peace and relaxation that comes from cruising along the river is greatly appreciated by teachers and carers.

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The first went to Team Keane Watersports School , based in Brentford, who provide opportunities in often-inaccessible river activities : sculling, rowing, kayaking and canoeing through schools programmes and community groups, together with regular scheduled sessions for individuals. Ken Creighton, Chairman of Team Keane Watersports School , together with young people taking part in activities , received the THT Branch Award at the Brentford base from RTS Upper Tideway Branch Chairman, Hilary Pereira.

The second went to 1st Cuddington ( Warspite) Sea Scouts, based at Thames Ditton and Stoneleigh, who provide adventure, challenge, personal development, fun and friendship for young people from 6 to 18 years of age through a range of river activities, including rowing, canoeing and power-boating. Roy Miller RTS Bargemaster and TOW Branch Chairman presented the award.

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The John Coleman Trophy

The Thames Heritage Trust John Coleman Trophy for an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Thames, was awarded to John Watson who has resurrected the old boatyard on Lots Ait, Brentford, a derelict brownfield site, into a haven for traditional crafts with slipways and open space for boat repairs and maintenance. He has brought river – related activity back to the area in the face of constant pressures for more lucrative but potentially destructive residential development. The award was presented to John by Lady Borwick, RTS Vice-President.

Download a list of previous winners of THT Awards.


Thames Heritage Trust Awards

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