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The charity making life better by water

Michelle, lock keeper

Two volunteers on a canal inspection

I'm a volunteer lock keeper on the beautiful Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. I started volunteering in April 2017 following an article on the Welsh news about Llangattock. They also gave out some information about volunteering, and here I am.

I have no waterway or boating background. I'm a midwife and I volunteer on my days off. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to get involved. From my initial introduction, I was hooked, though I was a little worried about my lack of relevant experience. Then I met the rest of the team, and they reassured me that all would be well given time.

New skills

The locks are formidable feats of engineering and the power of water is deceiving, but I'm amazed at the new skills I've acquired. I remain very much a novice, but willing to learn.

Recently I attended a canal inspection, and I've also been learning the basics of steering a boat. This is a very useful skill if we need to help first-time boaters who are in trouble.

I've learned that canals and canal life is varied, one day is always different to the next. I feel extremely well looked after by everyone here. I'm so grateful to the people I work with and all the people in the background who contribute to canal life.

Criticism comes so very easily, as I know, working in a hard-pressed NHS. I have nothing but praise for the Trust and the people I have met. I'm very privileged to be a volunteer.

Two volunteers in high vis jackets gardening on the canal towpath

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Group of volunteers walk passed a boat along the towpath in life jackets carrying painting equipment

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