River Weaver focus of festivities

The River Weaver has a special place in the history of Tata Chemicals Europe. So, the staff was quick to join in the fun during this summer's River Weaver Festival.

A procession of more than100 narrow boats and historic vessels kicked off the weekend, which was officially opened by David Briggs, HM Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mike Jones, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Graham Evans MP, Weaver Vale.

TCEL colleagues donated their time to man a stand at the event, where people could get more information about the company's rich history with the river. It drew a great deal of interest from visitors and allowed many to reminisce.

The ancient waterways were a life source for TCEL for more than 100 years. Coasters and barges used the river to carry soda ash, calcium chloride liquor and sodium bicarbonate manufactured at the Winnington site to the docks at Liverpool, as well as provided links for salt produced in mid-Cheshire.

TCEL's flotilla of boats included the affectionately named 'Brunners', a steamer brought into service at the end of WWII and forever associated with the former Brunner Mond operations.

The river was last used to transport soda ash in the early 1990s, but it plays an important role for TCEL even today. Around 100,000 cubic metres of water is taken daily and used as a coolant in the manufacturing process. The water is then returned to the river through a series of outlets, in accordance with its licence with the Environment Agency.

Other events this summer included the Northwich Festival. TCEL sponsored the main marquee, which hosted events including a Las Vegas-themed casino night and musical performances from local musicians throughout the weekend.

The inaugural Northwich Guardian Soapbox Derby concluded the summer's revelries. TCEL got involved through five apprentices who put their design and driving skills to the test. Anthony Pearson, Joshua Morris, Stuart Smythe, Sean Houghton and James dans Cernandas pitched in to create a vehicle. A valiant effort in the race saw them take second place.