A LUMP of coal to mark the 200th anniversary of the Lancaster Canal has been presented to the chairman of South Lakeland District Council on a stretch of towpath.

The unusual gift was given to Cllr Stephen Coleman by Alan Roberts, of Lichfield Cruising Club, as a nod to the fact the waterway was known as the "black and white canal" for its cargoes of coal from Wigan and limestone from Kendal.

Ken Hudson of the Lancaster Canal Boat Club arranged the event, ahead of the canal's bicentenary on June 18.

Cllr Coleman said: “The development of the canal to Kendal was a very important part of our town’s development.

“It is particularly interesting to learn each journey maximised carrying capacity by returning with limestone; perhaps empty lorries on our motorways could learn from this early innovation.

“Thank you to Alan Roberts for his dedication in presenting this coal to SLDC to celebrate this significant bicentenary.”