The Hotel Boat section of British Marine Inland Boating has awarded their prestigious Lock Keeper of the Year award for 2015 to John Lobley, Richard Moor and Nick Stead of lock keeping team at Bingley Five Rise on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
The award was presented on Tuesday 17 May when the luxury Hotel Boat Lady Teal passed through the spectacular Bingley Five Rise staircase of locks.
Recipients are nominated and voted for by all BMIB Hotel Boat operators so that they can recognise the support they receive from the people working ‘on the ground’ as they take holidaymakers around Britain’s inland waterways.
Hanna Rees-Jones, chair of the Hotel Boat section of BMIB, described why they make the award: “As professional boaters we like to recognise the professionalism of navigation authority staff, especially when they give exceptional service to boaters. What makes Britain’s canals unique is their living heritage of boating, distinguished from being a giant linear park by the boats navigating amazing structures such as the Bingley staircase of locks.
“Hotel boats are some of the most widely travelled craft on the inland waterways, cruising up to 1,500 miles each summer season, and between them visiting almost the entire network of canals and rivers.
"The award is open not only to lock keepers, but to all bank side waterway staff who are judged by BMIB Hotel Boat members to have given outstanding assistance to waterways users. Every nominee for this award should feel justly proud of this recognition. We are grateful for their fantastic support with maintaining our schedules as hotel boat holidaymakers enjoy the relaxed pace of the waterways and spectacular experiences of aqueducts, tunnels and flights of locks.”
Nick Mead of Lady Teal added: “All the hotel boat crews that nominated Richard, Nick and John say they are all really helpful. Their priority is the safe and smooth use of the locks which they all do with confidence and ease, also managing the water levels.
"They are a wealth of knowledge for boaters about local facilities and great ambassadors for the area, plus a big part of their job is with the many visitors to Bingley. On a sunny day there will be many 'gongoozlers' who gather to watch the boats; the Canal & River Trust lock keepers remain unruffled, answering questions as they work and keeping an eye on everyone's safety at the same time.”