England

Volunteer lock keepers are sought for Grand Union canal

Volunteer lock keepers are being sought by British Waterways (BW) along the Grand Union canal.

The locks that need staffing are in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

They are at Marsworth, Napton, Stoke Bruerne, Braunston, Buckby, Hillmorton and the Three Locks at Soulbury.

A BW spokesman said the ideal volunteer would be a friendly face with a fund of local knowledge who could also help with water control and prevent leakage.

Up until now boaters have had to operate and negotiate the locks themselves.

'Historic canal network'

British Waterways' team leader, Bill Smith, said: "Earlier this year we recruited 50 volunteer lock keepers who have already completed their training and are out on the canal network helping to look after the locks, as well as welcoming visitors to some of the waterways most picturesque spots.

Image caption Dek Owen is one of 50 volunteer lock keepers so far recruited to work on the British Waterways network

"The first group of volunteer lock keepers are working very well, and we'd like to encourage more people to come forward and volunteer with British Waterways at more sites and help care for their local, historic waterway."

Ben Bray, volunteer lock keeper at Foxton Locks in Leicestershire, said: "I find the historic canal network fascinating and really enjoy being outside in the fresh air, so volunteering to be a lock keeper was an obvious step."

British Waterways said volunteering was central to its plans in England and Wales to move the canals and rivers out of state control and into a new waterways charity by April 2012.

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