Sowerby Bridge Lock keepers win annual award as interest in canal life holidays soar

a team of voluntary lock-keepers in West Yorkshire has won an award.

The Canal & River Trust is excited to announce that a team of its lock keepers from Sowerby Bridge have won the British Marine Lock Keeper of the Year prize.

The team of 10 that work and volunteer for waterways and wellbeing charity, Canal & River Trust, were presented with the prestigious award at Britain’s deepest lock, Tuel Lane Lock, on the Rochdale Canal.

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The annual award is open not only to lock keepers, but to all waterways staff who have offered outstanding assistance to waterways users and is voted for by members of leisure marine trade association, British Marine Inland Boating. Shire Cruisers operates 20 holiday hire boats across Yorkshire’s waterways and presented the award to the team. Susan and Nigel Stevens, members of British Marine Inland Boating, presented the award.

Tuel Lane Lock keepers who have won the Lock Keeper of the Year Award. Picture Tony Johnson

Director Nigel Stevens said: “With more people than ever choosing staycations this year, we’re having a bumper season.

“The Canal & River Trust team has been a great support, going that extra mile to welcome lots of newcomers and novice boaters to the region’s waterways and help them have a great experience. Boating is such a fantastic way to see Yorkshire – not only all the different places, but also from a different angle. It’s such a contrast to normal life – boating forces you to slow down, it really relaxing and takes your mind of the everyday worries.”

Sean McGinley, regional director at Canal & River Trust, said: “Lock-keepers, many of whom are volunteers, are the ‘face of the canals’ and play a vital and iconic role within our charity.

“Lock keepers have been a presence on Britain’s canals for hundreds of years, although the role has changed over time. Today, they help to look after the nation’s beautiful waterways, assist boaters on their journeys, provide information and advice to visitors on the towpath and maintain historic locks.”