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Our waterways are gaining a new voice as The Canal and River Trust team up with the Poetry Society to announce the appointment of the first ever Canal Laureate.

Boating poet Jo Bell will bring a new perspective to the canals and rivers and will encourage the public to see their local waterways in a new light.

The aim is to promote the partnership between the Canal and River Trust and Arts Council England, and they hope it will encourage more visitors to the waterways.

In her role as Canal Laureate, Jo will actively engage new and existing audiences through community workshops, performances, blogs and by verse getting her inspiration from the canals and rivers.

Jo came to the canals through her work as an archaeologist, working with historic Canal Boats and has lived aboard her 67ft Narrowboat for a decade.

This summer Jo made an epic journey of 249 miles from Manchester to Honeystreet in Wiltshire and this gave her a constantly changing crew of friends, a constantly changing landscape and enough time to look at it properly.

Jo says Good poetry is about noticing, I want people who already know the canals to notice how lucky we are to have them.

 For people who have not really noticed them yet, I want to show them the still green space on their doorstep, full of wildlife and histories.

Tony Hales, chair of the Canal and River Trust, said Many poets have been inspired by the magnificent canals and rivers that form the green veins of Britains landscape and they are firmly part of the national creative consciousness.

I am delighted to welcome Jo Bell as our first ever Canal Laureate and hope that her work touches people and encourages them to explore their local waterways, and maybe even craft some words of their own.

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