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News article created on 15 July 2016

Appeal to unlock 'iconic' waterway role

We are inviting local people to give lock keeping a go at a taster session planned on Wednesday 20 July.

Hatton bottom lock, Grand Union Canal Hatton bottom lock, Grand Union Canal

The hour long sessions, which run between 10am – 3pm, are being held at the famous staircase of locks at Hatton in Warwickshire and budding volunteer lock keepers are encouraged to come along, learn more about the role and meet the current team of volunteers.

Lock keepers have been part of canal life for hundreds of years and volunteer lock keepers play a crucial role in keeping the age-old tradition alive.

The role of the modern day volunteer lock keeper is to help look after the waterways, including assisting boaters through locks, providing a friendly welcome to visitors and helping the Trust maintain the canal network.

Volunteer lock keepers are being sought for:

  • Hatton Locks near Warwickshire
  • Wilmcote Locks near Stratford Upon Avon
  • Knowle Locks near Solihull
  • Lapworth Locks near Solihull

Paul Roache, one of the Trust’s volunteer lock keepers, said: “I would recommend the role to anyone, it can be hard physical exercise at times, opening and closing the lock gates, but that’s what I like about it.

“The summer is the busy time, helping boaters to operate locks, but I love what I am doing, it keeps me fit and I even volunteer during the winter by helping to maintain the canal and facilities.”

"I love what I am doing"

Sue Blocksidge, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “Volunteer lock keepers provide a fantastic service and they really are the friendly face of the Trust - boaters love them. The role involves talking to boaters, helping them through locks, telling them about the local area and the history of the canal.

“The volunteers all receive training before they are let loose on the canal and they play a vital role in keeping customers happy and the canals in good working order. Volunteer lock keepers can help with water management and waterway staff really value their input. Volunteers can be of any age as long as they are reasonably fit and healthy and enjoy meeting new people.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer lock keeper and don’t mind being outside and meeting new people, find out more and to book your session please contact Sue Blocksidge on 07917 585 838 or email sue.blocksidge@canalrivertrust.org.uk