Volunteers flooding in to try their hand at working Five Rise Locks

Lock keeper Barry Whitelock

Lock keeper Barry Whitelock

First published in Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Chief Reporter

 Five people have already put their name forward to help look after the historic Bingley Five Rise Locks.

The Canal and River Trust last week asked for anyone who liked working outdoors, was friendly and willing to give their time to be a lock-keeper to get in touch.

Five people have since registered an interest to help the full-time lock-keeper Barry Whitelock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

And David Dinsey, who volunteered on the locks last year, can thoroughly recommend the job.

He said: “It’s fantastic. I work one day a week with two other volunteers. Between us we do Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“You’re out in the open and you meet a lot of people, not just boaters, but the public who are wondering through and dog walkers. On a busy day you meet a lot of people, all asking you questions.

“You’re selling the locks and it’s a great place to work.”

The job is an all-weather one and although Mr Dinsey said there have been times when he has questioned working outside in the rain and cold, he plans to volunteer again this year.

Lock-keepers manually open the five locks which take about 50 minutes to pass through from top to bottom.

“It’s quite physical. Doing a day there is like doing a week in the gym,” Mr Dinsey, of Baildon, said.

In peak season up to 30 boats can pass through the Bingley locks, but even on quieter days Mr Dinsey is kept busy talking to people walking along the canalside. And he has learnt the skill of dry stone walling through volunteering with the Canal and River Trust.

He said: “It’s totally different from anything I’ve done before. I can honestly say that the other two guys and I thoroughly enjoy it.

“I would recommend anybody whose got the time to get in touch.”

To register as a volunteer, visit canal rivertrust.org.uk/volunteer, e-mail volunteer@canalriverturust.org.uk or call 0303 040 4040 before February 8.

The lock-keeping season runs from March until October.


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