AVON Navigation Trust volunteers are feeling super buoyant after scooping top prize in a national competition.

The river squad has been voted Top Team by both a panel of judges and the readers of the Towpath Talk publication.

“Receiving this award is one of the most special moments I’ve enjoyed since I started working with the Trust (ANT) 23 years ago,” said Volunteer Chairman Paul Cronin.

“I am enormously proud of our Mobile Volunteer Team (MVT). We are thrilled to be recognised in this way,” adds ANT’s Volunteer Recruitment Director Nick Farr. Evesham man Nick headed the drive to attract more volunteers for the Wyre Piddle-based Trust, which looks after the Avon and its boaters.

Numbers have swelled from a loyal handful in recent times to more than 100 this year, with the Avon-loving helpers looking after locks, moorings, support at events and river patrols.

Nick has no problem finding volunteers for the MVT, providing more hands-on support to free up the charity’s engineering squad to get on with the big jobs: “All I have to do is explain that we’re a friendly bunch on a boat, who have a lot of fun (safely) doing non engineering maintenance... and people are hooked,” said Nick, whose team’s latest ticked off job was replacing all 1,000 boards at Pershore’s recreation ground moorings.

“The variety of skills they bring mean that we can tackle just about any job and we’re all learning new talents from each other.”

Joint runners-up of the Top Team award were The Cotswolds Canals Trust and Welshpool Canal Adopters. Third place went to Daniel Adamson steam ship volunteers and the IWA Northampton.