VOLUNTEER lock keepers are being sought to help ensure the canal network in Kirklees and Calderdale runs smoothly.
The Canal and River Trust, the new charity which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, is appealing for help.
Lock keeping has been a fixture on the canals for hundreds of years and the role of the modern-day volunteer lock keeper is to help the trust look after the waterways.
Tasks include helping boaters through the locks, providing a polite and friendly welcome to waterway visitors and helping to maintain many of the historic, listed locks.
The trust is seeking applications for locks on the Huddersfield Broad Canal and Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Also seeking volunteers are the Tuel Lane lock at Sowerby Bridge, which is the deepest lock on the canal system at 19ft 8.5 inches, and the Salterhebble Locks in Halifax.
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal features distinctive very narrow locks and scales the heights of the Pennines with part of it being the highest stretch of canal in Britain.
The Broad Canal is a popular and scenic spot for boaters, walkers and cyclists.
Edd Moss, national volunteering manager for the Canal and River Trust, said: “Volunteers are integral to the future of the nation’s waterways and our growing groups of volunteers have been making a huge difference to local canals and rivers up and down the country.
“This is one of the oldest and most iconic roles on the waterways so we’re asking the millions of people who visit the nation’s canals and rivers each year to get active and become a volunteer lock keeper.
“Working outdoors and staying fit have been a key incentive for people, as has a sense of pride in knowing they’re helping protect this 250-year-old workingheritage.
“It’s extremely important to us that we offer volunteers something appealing where they feel like they’re making a difference which this role certainly does.
“The waterways are a national treasure that everyone can participate in and our volunteers have been able to provide so many additional benefits on top of the year round work Canal and River Trust staff carry out.
“Whether it’s helping a boat through the lock, talking to customers or local practical tasks, it can really make a huge difference to a visitor’s appreciation of the waterways around the area and make sure they’re supported for many more years to come.”
Volunteers should be fit and active but no previous experience is needed. Full training and a uniform will be provided.
For details see www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer or ring 0303 040 4040.
The deadline for applications is February 15.