HERITAGE enthusiasts are being urged to sign up for an opportunity to get hands on with history.

British Waterways staff are inviting people to join in the restoration of Stourport Basin by launching a new volunteer programme at an open day.

Susannah Ronan, arts and projects co-ordinator, said: "We want to ask volunteers to come in and help with restoration and repair work. They can do practical things like re-pointing brickwork or get involved with events programmes or research into the history of the basin.

"We need people on board before we can get started so that is what the open day is about."

The open day is being held at the basin on Sunday, from 10am until 3pm, when would-be volunteers can find out more about projects they can get involved in.

There will be a chance to sign up for forthcoming sessions or speak to waterways staff about future restoration projects, including painting of railings, helping organise events, setting up guided walks and clearing vegetation around the basin.

For people keen to get a taste of what will be on offer, there is also a vegetation clearing session running on the day.

Elizabeth Turner, waterways heritage adviser, has been learning how to repair brickwork with the help of a specialist conservation builder, David Sleight.

She said: "We get David in to run heritage skills for us and we've had him running a course to teach British Waterways staff conservation skills. He will probably run courses to do with working around the site."

Miss Ronan added: "With the volunteer programme, the more the better. It's not a cup of tea every 10 minutes sort of work either.

"We want people or groups interested in this sort of work or those interested in learning more about the type of skills being used, like brick re-pointing."

She said the programme was also open to colleges, with the opportunity for students to apply their skills in a working environment.

People looking for further information should contact 01827 252234 or log on to www.stourporttown.co.uk