THE National Waterways Museum will fall under the banner of a planned new charity next year.

The Waterways Trust has agreed ‘in principle’ to merge with the charity which will be formed from the public body British Waterways next year.

Last year, the Government announced that it would be changing British Waterways in England and Wales from being a public corporation to a new charity – similar to a ‘National Trust’ for waterways. The transition will be complete by next April.

Frances Done, chairman of The Waterways Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able support the new waterways charity in this way. Over the last 12 years we have learnt many lessons which will be important for the new charity. We have also seen success in a number of key areas including fundraising, building partnerships and attracting and working with volunteers, and look forward to building on these as part of the new waterways charity.

The Waterways Trust’s three museums, in Ellesmere Port, Gloucester and Stoke Bruerne, will be transferred as a group and continue to be managed together in the new charity.

Moving British Waterways out of the public sector and into the voluntary sector would create the 13th-largest charity by income and the fifth-largest fundraising charity.