The CANAL and River Trust is hoping to have the Shropshire Union Canal open again by before Christmas following a huge breach earlier this year.

The breach, which has been confirmed to have been caused by human error after a lock was left open by a member of the public, happened last March in Middlewich, in Cheshire.

The canal passes through Whitchurch and into Ellesmere and will return boats from the north.

The collapse of the canal, which washed away a 200-year-old embankment, saw 20 boats stranded before they were eventually rescued.

Andy Johnson, senior project manager at the Canal and River Trust, said a huge amount of work has already gone into the project to repair it.

He added: “A great deal of work has been completed to get to the point where we can actually start to repair this huge hole.

“Behind the scenes, specialists have been ensuring the ecology, heritage and environment around the breach is safeguarded and engineers have been working on the complex design plan required to repair the canal.

"I’d like to thank everyone over the last few months for their support and kind donations to help us with the repairs.

"This has demonstrated the love that people have for the canal.”

To support the emergency appeal to repair the breach, head to or text LEAK515 to 70070 to donate £5.