Volunteers sought to work on Derbyshire waterways as lock-keepers
CANAL enthusiasts are being offered the chance to work on Derbyshire waterways as volunteer lock-keepers.
The Canal and River Trust is looking for people to take on the role on the River Trent at Sawley Lock, among others.
Lock-keepers help boats through the locks and maintain the area by cutting grass and trimming hedges and bushes.
The current full-time lock-keeper at Sawley is Simon Gent, who will be supporting the volunteers.
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The 47-year-old described the job as the "oldest and most iconic" on the waterways, adding that Sawley was one of the busiest locks in the country, with dozens of boats passing through in a day.
He said: "On a busy day we could have 60 to 70 boats coming through so we are asking for the volunteers during the summer but, if they want to help for longer, they can.
"I would be in charge of co-ordinating the volunteers and it is a good opportunity for people who have wanted to be involved with the waterways but don't want the full commitment of a five-day week."
Mr Gent, who is also the volunteer co-ordinator for the trust, which cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, said it was looking to cover seven days a week and any help, however, small would be welcome.
He said: "There are no set number of positions or hours, so it's as much as people want to contribute. We are asking people to work a full shift, probably 9.30am to 5.30pm, but, if they can't do that, they could come and help other volunteers for a few hours."
Danny Brennan, chairman of the East Midlands Waterway Partnership, said: "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 working heritage.
"The waterways are a national treasure that everyone can participate in conserving and improving. Our volunteers have been able to provide so many additional benefits on top of the year-round work the Canal and River Trust staff carry out.
"Whether it's helping a boat through the lock, talking to customers or practical tasks, it can really make a huge difference to a visitor's appreciation of the waterways in the East Midlands."
Anyone interested in volunteering can visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/ volunteer, e-mail email@example.com or call 0303 040 4040.