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Dave Smallshaw 1946 -2017

It was with great sadness that I had to report the sudden death of David Smallshaw at the age of 71.  Dave had been Chairman of the Sankey Canal Restoration Society (SCRS) for a period of six years during which time the society had made great progress in its bid to bring together the three boroughs and CRT to work towards restoration of the Sankey Canal and to regenerate the whole of the Sankey Valley Corridor.  In September 2017 the formation of the Sankey Canal Partnership was finally announced and Dave had been eagerly looking forward to moving the project forward.  Sadly for him this was not to be, but the fight will go on.

At 12.00 noon on Wednesday 3rd December 2017 over two hundred family and friends packed into Thornton Crematorium to bid farewell to Dave, many of them standing out in the cold wind and rain listening to the eulogy of his life and times which was relayed via speakers situated in the entrance.

He was an avid sports man playing rugby union for Waterloo in his younger days and also a cricket fan being a member of Northern Cricket Club.  He was also a great fan of his home town rugby league team Wigan RLFC and a keen Everton FC supporter.  Along with these activities he liked walking, belonging to many rambling groups.  Gardening was another of his passions spending many an hour pottering around his garden.

I first met Dave in 1995 at the IWA National Waterway Festival in Chester where he was helping on the Towpath Action Group Stand.  He joined SCRS in 1999 and from then on became a regular member of our monthly work parties and also on our sales and exhibition stand at IWA National Festivals and local shows we attended throughout the years from then on. During that time he came to SCRS Committee meetings as on observer for the IWA Merseyside and North West Branch. 

In 2005 he was elected to SCRS Executive Committee and became Communications Officer in 2008. 

In 2011 he took on the task of chairman, a role in which he soon showed great leadership skills.


As a keen member of IWA he served on the committee of the Merseyside and North West Branch which later became IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch and was also a member of IWA North West Region Branch Committee. 

In 2016 he accepted a position on the CRT North West Partnership committee, a role to which he was well suited with his wonderful knowledge of things that were happening in the North West area.


A great enthusiast for all things to do with waterways, railways and industrial heritage, he belonged to many such associations, groups and societies.

Dave leaves behind a loving wife, three daughters and grand children.

He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Colin Greenall


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