A retired man has been speaking of his unique pastime – volunteering as a lock keeper on a local canal system.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday Tony Dawe volunteers at Three Locks Canal in Stoke Hammond.
However, the 67 year old is not just there to enjoy the scenery. He can assist up to 20 canal boats through three locks per day.
Tony volunteers as a lock keeper for the Canal and River Trust (CRT), and is on hand for boats travelling along the Grand Union Canal, connecting London to Birmingham.
After assisting the boats through the locks, Tony clears and tidies the banks to make sure the canal looks presentable.
Tony said: “I started as a lock keeper volunteer last year and thoroughly enjoy what I do.
“When the weather is good, the canal is a fantastic place to be. I could have 14 or 15 boats through in one day, but other times I might only see one.
“If people hire boats for the day, weekend or weeks they will rarely know how to open a lock. So I can show them how the first one works, let them have a bit more input on the second lock, and by the third lock, they should hopefully have the knowledge to do it themselves for the rest of their trip.”
Tony moved in to Jonathans Court, a Jephson housing for older people scheme in Milton Keynes, in November last year and said: “It’s a good place with a good crowd.
“The canal is about seven miles from the flat so I take the car. Luckily the CRT pay for travel expenses so location wise there are no problems.”
Naomi Derby, scheme manager at Jonathan’s Court, added: “It’s great when residents have active hobbies such as Tony’s.
“He shows a great passion for what he does and who can blame him? The canal is a great place to spend your time, especially in the summer months.”
If you like the sound of volunteering for the Canal and River Trust, you can go online at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteering or call 0303 040 4040.