Boater & his dog die on board boat

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samaraLocal Boaters we shocked to learn of the death of Spike & his dog Millie on board their canal boat Samara at Banbury.

His brother Shaun has asked us remind people to check they have a working Carbon Monoxide alarm and adequate ventilation.

Spike & Millie were well known throughout the boating community both locally and by those travelling through our area.

Our sympathies are with his family and friends at this sad time.

The cause of death is still being investigated but Watch Manager John Calloway of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue issued a statement saying:

“Although the cause of this tragic incident has yet to be determined and is an ongoing investigation by the police, there are a number of appliances common to both boats and caravans (as well as houses) that have the ability to produce toxic fumes.

“It is our advice that all such equipment is professionally installed by a qualified technician and serviced regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

“We also recommend that both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted and tested weekly.”

The Banbury Guardian reports

Mr Mason who was 63-years-old, and his Staffordshire Bull Terrier Milly were found dead by neighbours on board their canal boat Samara on the Oxford Canal shortly after 1.30pm. Ambulance crews were called to the scene followed by fire-fighters who checked the boat for toxic gases before retrieving the bodies.

The cause of Mr Mason’s death is still being investigated but information released last week by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service suggested he may have died after breathing in toxic fumes, most probably from an on-board solid fuel stove.


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The BCP is working to make the Banbury Canal better for you and for the local community.
We are a volunteer group and so we need your support.

Public support is one of the most important assets for the Banbury Canal Partnership
and membership is the best way to demonstrate this.

We value each and every member immensely, not least because when the Partnership applies for grant funding, we are always asked about our current membership figures.

There are three key ways you can help:

  1. Become a Member to share your views and influence the direction of BCP Download Membership Application Form
  2. Share a little of your time to help us achieve our objectives
  3. Make a donation.  All donations are welcome, however small, but a small regular commitment would be ideal. You can send a cheque to:

Banbury Canal Partnership
c/o Fort Locks Self Storage
Lower Cherwell Street
OX16 5AY

If you would like to become a member of BCP, please contact us on 01295 277 477 or fill in the Membership  Form here. We’ll be in touch with you to confirm your membership and to let you have further details of our current projects and upcoming meetings.

As with many things in life, many hands make light work. ‘Little and often’ is one of our watchwords when it comes to membership – so please don’t feel shy; please help us in any way you can!

Every member counts! Your membership is truly valued.


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Press Releases

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Would you like to get involved with life on the Canal?

tooleys boatyard
Tooleys Boatyard – Banbury Town Centre

As most Banbury residents know, the Oxford Canal passes through the town centre. The Canal creates an attraction with visiting boats passing through the town right next to the shopping centre.

The canal also provides an important green corridor between Oxford and the Midlands, which can be enjoyed not only by boaters, but walkers, cyclists, canoeists and fisherman alike.



Gongoozlers at Banbury Lock

Reminders of the town’s canal heritage are exhibited in the museum and as living heritage at Banbury Lock where gongoozlers[1] can witness the operation of the 200 year old technology and at Tooley’s Boatyard and Drydock[2], nestling against Castle Quay Shopping Centre, which has operated there since the canal arrived in 1790.

Until quite recently, UK’s canals have been administered by British Waterways. Since July 2012, The Canal and River Trust has been responsible for about 2,000 miles of the England & Wales’ canals and rivers.

As a result of the new, charitable status the opportunity has arisen to form partnerships with The Trust and so The Banbury Canal Partnership was recently formed to draw together organisations and individuals with a common interest in canal related matters connected with leisure, tourism, industry and heritage.

The Canal & River Trust says “At present, we do not have an active group of volunteers based within the Banbury area….If a group of volunteers emerges which is willing to undertake some volunteering with CRT in the Banbury area, we would be more than willing to support them.”

The newly formed Banbury Canal Partnership is currently looking at projects to help preserve and improve this local and national asset and is encouraging individuals and groups to come and experience these treasures for themselves, and to get involved with volunteering opportunities for conservation and protection of this environment.

Would you, or your group/organisation, consider getting involved? The BCP would be delighted to arrange some time for you to explore our local heritage and perhaps experience boating at first hand.


Don’t hesitate! Please contact us now on 01295 277 477.

Best regards

Banbury Canal Partnership Or visit our web site:


[1] Boatmen’s [affectionate] name for sightseers!

[2] Tours available by arrangement

Inaugural AGM

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Banbury Canal Partnership was formally constituted at the inaugural AGM last evening (11th December 2013)

Along with the business of electing a Chairman, Membership Secretary and Committee Members there followed a discussion about the proposed development of Castle Quay 2 and how it would affect the canal, and a decision was made that our first volunteer project should be painting and tidying up at Kings Sutton Lock. (Watch out for the date in our Events Calendar!)

Banbury Canalside Redevelopment Proposal

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A planning application was submitted on 18 Oct 2013  for a canal-side development in Banbury town centre being referred to as CQ2 (Castle Quay phase 2)

The proposal includes the demolition of the northern car park and the General Foods Sports and Social Club and includes the erection of a glazed canopy over the canal. This is sure to provoke a wide range of opinions from Banbury residents.

The planning application can be seen at

Comments and detailed response have already been made by our partner organisation the Banbury Civic Society and further details can be viewed on the Inland Waterways Association’s website.

The Banbury Guardian reported here back in August.

Our Plans

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We hope to gather volunteer groups to carry out tasks to improve the canalside environment, including clearing overgrown hedges & painting locks.


For further details see Future Projects and here.

Our Area

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Our target area is from between The Rock of Gibraltar (Enslow) in the south to bridge 141 (Three Counties Bridge) in the north, but  we may consider extending further towards Oxford in the future.


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The Banbury Canal Partnership is a joining together of people/organisations with common interests concerning the Oxford Canal, concentrating, initially on the immediate area around Banbury.