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Celebrating 10 years of volunteering

Over 150 of our volunteers have been with us since the first days of the Trust in 2012. As we’re in our 10th year, we’d like to introduce you to some of these volunteers here and celebrate the great things they do.

A Canal & River Trust volunteer poses in front of a lock


David has volunteered in a number of different roles including helmsman, governance volunteer and working parties in the Bath area. He also attends the Waterspace meetings to discuss projects and water safety on the River Avon.

Volunteer poses on a lock gate


Rosemary volunteers with the Bath and Dundas working party. She is always smiling and is really a lovely volunteer. Rosemary was involved with was restoring the Dundas Toll House. There is a long list of tasks that she has carried out, including painting locks, swing bridges, clearing vegetation, graffiti removal and clearing debris from the canal.

A Canal & River Trust volunteer poses in front of a work boat on the canal


Ian is another volunteer who has made lots of different volunteering contributions. He studied a stone masonry course in Bath a few years ago. With the skills he learnt he helped restore the Dundas Toll House. He has also repaired coping stones and rebuilt the Bathampton Lengthsmans Hovel with our heritage team.

Ian is a helmsman and was instrumental in getting a grant from Bath & North East Somerset Council to refurbish a Canal & river Trust workboat for volunteer use.


Colin is a very dedicated and reliable member of our Stoke Towpath Taskforce. He regularly comes out several times a week to work on a host of different tasks, such as digging out the reservoir feeders, clearing access paths, cutting hedges, litter picking, path laying, planting and more. Colin is a pleasure to be around and is a key contributor to the group banter!

Colin was interviewed in 2020 by the Trust:

Volunteer poses in front of a canal

Robert, volunteer lock keeper

Bob works on the non-tidal section of the River Trent at Newark Nether Lock. Bob is an important link on the River Trent, as Nether Lock is the last lock before the river becomes tidal at Cromwell.

Whilst on duty, Bob provides important information to our customers venturing to the tidal section. He is well known and well respected on the river by customers and his fellow volunteers.

Headshot of volunteer

Ian, volunteer lock keeper

Ian works predominately at Newark Town Lock and Hazleford Lock on the River Trent, although he is qualified to work at many others. Ian has a positive outlook and brings a wealth of experience to the role, remaining calm under pressure.

He enjoys interacting with our customers and offers advice and guidance to new boaters travelling through the big river locks – which brings many challenges to both customers and Ian. He is well known and respected by customers and colleagues alike, and it is always a pleasure to work and spend time with him.

Volunteer poses in front of lock

Neil, volunteer lock keeper

Neil volunteers at Holme Lock in Nottingham. He won the Marsh Christian Trust Award in 2019 for his significant contribution to volunteering for the Trust. He is an innovator and is always looking for ways to provide exceptional service to our customers and to support his colleagues.

He takes great pride in maintaining Holme Lock – mowing, painting and general maintenance. He has also been training new volunteer lock keepers having produced training documents to support them and other trainers.

Diana Thomas, volunteer


Diana was a sister in the cardiac unit for Stoke Hospital, working long hours and shifts. Despite this, she would often lock keep in Stone on a Sunday. She would also turn out most weeks to do her share of digging or planting.

Diana has struggled with a bad back for several years, but never let that stop her from getting “stuck in” to the job. She is a very caring person and often can be seen giving support to other members of the team.

From the team leaders


Gordon, West MidsGordon works on maintaining the boats, even during the winter months. He attends Icknield Port every week, where the boats are kept. He is also part of the offside vegetation team on the Coventry Canal.
Mike, Y&NEMike has been with us from the start and has joined in on many a project from sediment sampling to towpath survey and more recently fish monitoring. His main love is lock keeping and penning of the sand barges on the Aire & Calder. He is a great ambassador for us and even in his golden years still has an active role in his regular lock keeping duties at Fishpond Lock.
Heather, West MidsHeather works hard on maintaining the boats, making new cushion covers and painting roses and castles on the boat furniture. She particularly enjoys engaging with families and children at events.  She is also part of the offside vegetation team on the Coventry Canal.
Maurice, Ellesmere   Maurice is a valued and enthusiastic member of our team and a pleasure to work with. Colleagues in Ellesmere have expressed their gratitude for Maurice’s brilliant work on the archives. 
Joan, West MidsJoan is very good at working with children & families has also worked with the Explorers team.
John, volunteer, poses next to a canal

More from team leaders


Don, West MidsRecently part of the Roundhouse Project in Birmingham.
Terry, West MidsTerry is an expert trainer and CAATS assessor who ensures the Skippers are well qualified to carry out their tasks.  Also, a big part of the Roundhouse Project in Birmingham, organising rotas for the busy summer programme.
Vince, West MidsVince is an expert trainer and CAATS assessor who ensures the Skippers are well qualified to carry out their tasks.  Vince has been part of the team since the beginning when the “Working Boats Project” started in 1999.
Jayne, Fradley  Regularly attends the Saturday Taskforce at Fradley. She is always keen to get stuck into any task and often brings along new members to help us.
Elizabeth, FradleyRegularly attends the Fradley towpath taskforce and assists with the Explorers education groups.
Peter, West MidsPeter has worked hard on the maintenance all through the pandemic. He also skippers local events. Peter is an experienced skipper and also trains other members of the team.
David Hargreaves, volunteer


David has been a valuable and reliable volunteer for our Blackburn Taskforce, always eager to do what he can to improve his local waterways and won't hesitate to take action.

His regular duties focus on canal clean-ups and vegetation removal but, as a boater himself, his main mission is to remove as much scrap and debris from the canal as he possibly can with his trusty net and grappling hook, not turning from a job until it's either done or he's exhausted all possible options. His dedication has been a huge boon to our efforts and his light-hearted friendly nature make him a joy to have on the team!

Foxton volunteers

by Alex, site manager

Each year Foxton Locks welcomes around 400,000 visitors and anywhere between 4,500–5,000 boats, which pass through the longest steepest staircase flight of locks in the UK.

The Foxton Locks destination has won various awards over the years, recently Green Flag status as well as getting TripAdvisor People Choice. All of these great achievements would not have been possible without the continued help from our amazing volunteering team. The team are professional and display excellence in both practical tasks and customer service.

All of our current 10+ year service volunteers are volunteer lock keepers. It is a vital role, ensuring the highest level of safety, customer service and professionalism. They also help to coach our newer volunteers, sharing their experience and understanding of how this unique destination operates.

I am so grateful and proud of all of my team at Foxton Locks (Alison, Alan, Bill, Peter, and Fraser)

More shout-outs


Phil, FradleyA lock keeper at Fradley, he also volunteers for offside veg, boat maintenance & assists with events.
Brian, TamworthRegularly attends Tamworth Towpath taskforce and is a lock keeper at Atherstone. He never stops till the task is completed.
Anthony, AtherstoneVolunteered in Birmingham at Farmers Lock before becoming a lock keeper at Atherstone. It is rare to not see him at top lock.
James, West Mids  Is a lead volunteer. Regularly attends the North Warwickshire, Coventry, Tamworth & Hawkesbury taskforces. He is also involved in the boat moving team.
Ian, West MidsRegularly attends North Warwickshire towpath taskforce, a member of the boat moving team & volunteers for the Ashby towpath taskforce.
Alan, West MidsAlan is involved in the North Warwickshire towpath taskforce & boat moving team. He also volunteers for the litter boat in Birmingham and the Ashby towpath taskforce
Maurice, HillmortonVLK at Hillmorton, “The man with the golden windlass”. He is also part of the boat checking team & volunteers for the East Midlands.
Maggie, FradleyRegularly attends the Fradley towpath taskforce, she is also a lock keeper and assists with the Explorers education groups.
Diana, AtherstoneWas a lock keeper at Fradley, now volunteers at Atherstone. She has also assisted with the heritage working boats.

Last Edited: 15 September 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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