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News article created on 9 December 2014

Volunteer lock keepers sought

The Canal & River Trust are seeking volunteer lock keepers on the canal network across Lancashire.

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 helping boaters through locks, providing a polite and friendly welcome to visitors and helping maintain the canal network.


Volunteer lock keepers are being sought for:

  • Ribble Link, Preston which links the Lancaster Canal with the Leeds &Liverpool Canal via the River Ribble.
  • Glasson Docks branch of the Lancaster Canal.
  • Johnson’s Hill locks on the Leeds &Liverpool Canal, Whittle-le-Woods.
  • Barrowford Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Colne.
  • Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Blackburn

Graham Carlson, aged 64, from Upholland near Wigan has been a volunteer lock keeper for the past nine months and looks forward to every day that he is out on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

He retired after 42 years as a post office engineer and being a volunteer lock keeper gets him out in the fresh air, doing exercise, meeting people and helping others. 

A father of three, with three grandchildren, Graham said: "I would recommend the job 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 a busy time helping assisting boaters to operate locks, but I love what I am doing so much that I still volunteer during the winter by helping to maintain the canal around the Wigan flight of locks.”

North West Waterway Manager Chantelle Seaborn said: “Volunteer lock keepers of do a fantastic job and can be of all ages. They really are the friendly face of the Trust and 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 start and play a vital role in keeping customers happy and the canals in good working order. They can help with water management and waterway staffs really value their input. Volunteers can be of any age as long as they are reasonably fit and healthy.”


If you are interested in becoming a volunteer lock keeper and don’t mind being outside in any weather, contact Volunteer Supervisor Matt Taylor on volunteer@canalrivertrust.org.uk