THE Canal & River Trust has launched a new campaign to recruit more volunteers to take on the iconic role of lock keeper on some of Yorkshire’s canals.

‘Dave’ is the most common name among the Trust’s thousands of volunteers and the charity is appealing for men and women from all backgrounds to join the army of ‘Daves’ performing this important task.

Of the many people volunteering for the charity in a range of roles, 130 ‘Daves’ give up their time to carry out tasks, such as helping boats through locks, clearing vegetation, maintaining towpaths and teaching children via the charity’s education programme. Hot on their heels are the ‘Johns’, with ‘Barbaras’ and ‘Karens’ leading the way among female volunteers.

Becca Dent, volunteer development co-ordinator at Canal & River Trust, said: “The nation’s canal and rivers go through such a diversity of cities, towns and villages and this is reflected in our volunteers. We’ve people from an amazing array of communities and backgrounds, so it was quite interesting to see such an abundance of ‘Daves’ volunteering with us.”

“Of course we’d love to continue to welcome dedicated ‘Daves' and brilliant ‘Barbaras’ to our volunteering teams in Yorkshire. But we would really like them to be joined by new names and faces so that we can do even more in 2019 to ensure the county’s canals are havens for people and wildlife.

“In particular we’re looking for people to sign up as volunteer lock keepers at iconic sites like Bingley Five Rise on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and help bring their local canal to life for everyone who visits.

“It’s an iconic role, with volunteer lock keepers often known as the ‘face of the canals’, and great for anyone who likes spending time outside and talking to people.

“We value each and every one of our volunteers and appreciate everything they do to help look after our historic waterways. In return we do all we can to ensure they have opportunities to learn new skills and meet new people in a friendly and supportive environment.

“We believe that anything you do to spend more time by water is good for your mental and physical wellbeing, so that’s an extra benefit for everyone.”

To apply for a volunteer lock keeper role, visit: The closing date is January 31.

The key qualities sought in a volunteer are enthusiasm, a friendly manner, a hands-on approach and a willingness to learn. Training will take place in spring and volunteers will be in post from April to October. Volunteer lock keepers are most often required at peak times during summer from Fridays to Mondays, but days and times will vary.