Call for canal volunteers to become lock keepers at Bank Newton and Gargrave

Craven Herald: The Canal and River Trust are calling for volunteers to help at its locks at Bank Newton (pictured) and Gargrave The Canal and River Trust are calling for volunteers to help at its locks at Bank Newton (pictured) and Gargrave

Television and radio presenter Penny Smith is backing a campaign to recruit volunteers to man the area’s canal locks this summer.

Last year, 380 stepped forward to become volunteer lock keepers across the country, and now the Canal and River Trust is looking for help at its locks at Bank Newton and Gargrave.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal locks have been recently restored and attract thousands of visitors, in boats and on foot every year.

The trust, formerly British Waterways, says ideal candidates will enjoy spending time outdoors while making new friends in their community.

They will be needed to cover the busiest time of the year, from March to October, and should be able to commit to one or two days a week.

No experience is necessary, as full training, and a uniform, will be given.

Ms Smith, a former GMTV presenter, who currently co-presents a breakfast show on BBC London, said: “I am a huge fan of Britain’s canals – they’re fascinating and calming in equal measure.

“As someone who is indoors a lot either in a studio or working from home, I see the work of the volunteer lock keepers as a great excuse to get out into the fresh air, meet the locals, get fit and make new friends.”

Matt Taylor, volunteering coordinator for the trust, said: “We had an amazing response from the public last year to our recruitment drive and 99 per cent of volunteers enjoyed it so much, they’re coming back again this summer.

“We’ve several new sites that require teams or existing locations where we’d like more people to come and help us.

“Working outdoors and staying fit have always been incentives for people of all ages as well as giving them a sense of pride knowing they are part of an army of people helping to protect this 200-year-old place for people and wildlife.

“The enthusiasm and dedication of our volunteers is magnificent and they are crucial in keeping our waterways alive for the thousands of people and holidaymakers who walk or boat along them.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer lock keeper or is interested in other ways to volunteer should visit canalriver trust.org.uk/volunteer.

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