Waterways trust needs help to keep the canal boats moving through the locks

The Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal.
The Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal.
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The charity that looks after the regions waterways is searching for new volunteers to take-up the role of the lock keeper.

The Canal and River Trust is on the lookout for people interested in volunteering at the locks in Marsworth and at Soulbury Three Locks in Buckinghamshire.

The volunteers will be helping passing boaters, welcoming visitors and giving a hand to the trust’s teams in maintaining the canal.

Volunteers will help to keep the historic tradition of lock-keeping alive along the canal, where lock keepers have been part of waterway life for hundreds of years.

Full training is provided and people of all ages and experiences are encouraged to apply. Volunteer lock keepers work on a shift basis throughout the year, typically a minimum of one day per fortnight, with busier periods expected between April to October. The trust is particularly on the lookout for people who can help at weekends.

Keith Simkin, who has volunteered as a lock keeper for four years, said: “I grew up near the canals so when the opportunity came to share that enthusiasm for my local area with boaters, walkers and visitors to the regions waterways I took it. I like being outdoors, doing some physical work and talking to the many people of all ages who are intrigued by the workings of the lock and the slow, stately passage of the boats.”

Miriam Linforth, Canal and River Trust volunteer leader, said: “Volunteer lock keepers do amazing work and we get so much positive feedback about them. It’s such an iconic role, and they are keeping that tradition alive. The waterways are perhaps more popular now than in any time in living memory, with people not only boating but cycling, running and fishing as well.

“The lock keeper role is really to be the welcoming face of the canal, and help out anyone who might need it. If you’re interested in working outdoors and meeting people, then this is a great opportunity, and I’d encourage people to get in touch.”

Find out more at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer or call 0303 0404040 The Canal and River Trust cares for 1,583 locks nationwide and there are approximately 3.8 million ‘lockings’ each year, that is, passages through locks.