Canal Trust looking for volunteers to run Old Ford Lock on Regent’s Canal

Lock-keeper volunteer Christine Winter

Lock-keeper volunteer Christine Winter - Credit: Canal & River Trust

The charity that looks after the Regent’s Canal next to Victoria Park in east London is looking for volunteers to take-up the most iconic waterway role—the lock keeper.

Volunteers helping planting on Regent's Canal

Volunteers helping planting on Regent's Canal - Credit: Canal & River Trust

The Canal & River Trust needs volunteers at Old Ford Lock, helping passing boaters and giving a hand to the technical teams maintaining the waterway.

The volunteers will help to keep the historic tradition of lock-keeping alive along the canal, where keepers have been part of waterway life for well over 200 years.

Volunteers work on a shift basis throughout the year, a minimum of one day in a fortnight, with busier periods expected between April and October. Training is given and people of all ages and experiences can apply.

“Being a volunteer gets me outdoors, away from desks, screens—and housework,” lock keeper volunteer Christine Winter says. “I am doing something useful for the community while working in an incredibly peaceful environment where I get to see a variety wildlife and meet people using the canal or towpath.”

Some Regent's Canal volunteers like getting in the mud

Some Regent's Canal volunteers like getting in the mud - Credit: Canal & River Trust

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The canals and rivers in London are more popular now than in any time in living memory, the trust points out. Activities include boating, towpath cycling, running and fishing.

The charity’s volunteer co-ordinator, Debbie Vidler said: “The lock keeper role is to be the welcoming face of the canal and help anyone who might need it.”

Applications are open until February 1. Those interested can call the charity on 030-3040 4040, or get details online from the Canal & River Trust. The charity looks after 1,583 locks up and down the country, with nearly four million boats-passages through locks every year.

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