The National Meningitis Trust, Fern House, Bath Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 3TJ, telephone 0453 751738.
Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund (Battersea Group), is holding a sale of paintings - 'Life and Landscape: A Celebration' - and an awareness- raising evening, on Thursday 10 June, at 7.30pm, at the Pump House, Battersea Park, London SW11. Over 50 paintings in oil, watercolour, pastel and charcoal, by Bridget Boulting, Honor Brogan, Gilly Elliott, Erica Macdonald, Patricia Selvaggi, Gwen Spencer and Judith Waters, will be for sale, priced from pounds 150. Money raised at the evening will go towards the Macmillan Nurse Appeal, which aims to place 260 specialist cancer care nurses in hospitals throughout the UK by the end of the year; it costs pounds 75,000 to support each nurse for the first three years at their post. Tickets for the evening, priced pounds 10, are available from:
Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund, Battersea, 18 Dorothy Road, London SW11 2JP, telephone 071-585 0328.
The roundhouse at Coates, Gloucestershire, one of five houses built as lengthsmen's or watchmen's cottages beside the partially derelict Stroudwater Navigation/Thames and Severn Canal. The Cotswold Canals Trust, formed in 1972, aims to restore both waterways, which together link the country's two longest rivers, the Thames and the Severn. So far pounds 10,000 of their pounds 50,000 target has been raised to restore the roundhouse and the nearby Sapperton Tunnel portals.
The Stroudwater Navigation was opened in 1779 to connect Stroud with the River Severn; 10 years later the Thames and Severn Canal was built by a separate company and thus made the final link. Both canals, which carried boats moving coal, wool, grain and stone, pass through beautiful countryside, including Golden Valley, west of the Sapperton Tunnel, where seven locks drop down towards Daneway in a narrow, heavily wooded ravine. Here, the canal intertwines with the River Frome. The trust is carrying out work to prevent further damage to these locks: clearing trees, scrub and brambles which are pushing stonework out of place. The Sapperton Tunnel, over two miles long, was built with two striking portals: one is in urgent need of restoration, having lost its pinnacles and castellation through vandalism; the other is undergoing restoration. Each Sunday the trust organises boat trips up the first 1,000 yards of the tunnel on the east side; eventually it hopes to open the whole tunnel.
The lengthsmen each cared for about a five- mile stretch of the canal when it was in commercial use (the Thames and Severn finally closed in 1933): they kept the towpath clear, mended gates and stopped leaks in the canal bed. Coates is the only roundhouse which collected water on its inverted roof and then stored it in a subterranean tank. Usually the lengthsman had stables and a kitchen on the ground floor and living quarters in the two floors above. The other roundhouses on the canal are now owned privately and Coates is loaned to the Cotswold Canals Trust by the Bathurst Estate: once renovated, the trust hopes Coates will house maps and information about the canals for the public.
For further information, contact: The Cotswold Canals Trust, The Flat Offices, CDC Depot, Chesterton Lane, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 1YE, telephone 0285 643440.