Could you help a boat to navigate Britain’s deepest canal lock?

Hargreaves Lock Gates in Sowerby Bridge will open their doors to the public for the first time at the Launch Event of the Rochdale Canal Festival on Saturday 13th August. Visitors to their workshops will be able to find out about how lock gates are manufactured using traditional methods.    Pictured are the gates in use at Tuel Lane Deep Lock today.'send in
Hargreaves Lock Gates in Sowerby Bridge will open their doors to the public for the first time at the Launch Event of the Rochdale Canal Festival on Saturday 13th August. Visitors to their workshops will be able to find out about how lock gates are manufactured using traditional methods. Pictured are the gates in use at Tuel Lane Deep Lock today.'send in
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VOLUNTEER lock-keepers are wanted to help care for Tuel Lane Lock on the Rochdale Canal in Sowerby Bridge.

The lock, the deepest in the country, is one of 50 sites in need of people to help man them.

The Canal and River Trust, which takes over responsibility for the sites from British Waterways in April, is on the lookout for people who can help boat crews through locks, give visitors a friendly welcome and help with general maintenance.

Boats that use the single-rise Tuel Lane Lock emerge 20 feet higher than when they entered.

Ed Moss, national volunteering manager for British Waterways, said: “It’s a perfect opportunity for those who enjoy working in the outdoors and are perhaps looking for something different to do and help support the Canal and River Trust in what will be its first year.

“The waterways are a national treasure and need looking after.

“Our volunteers have been able to provide so many additional benefits on top of the fantastic work our own staff carry out and are really making a difference.

“The key qualities we’re looking for are enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

“Whether it’s helping a boat through the lock, talking to visitors, litter picking or undertaking vegetation work, it can really make a great difference to appreciation of the waterways.”

James Allison, chairman of Upper Calder Valley Renaissance welcomed the idea, which is similar to his group’s own “adopt a stretch of canal” scheme.

In it, community groups can sign up to carry out litter picks and minor repairs along their chosen stretch of the Rochdale Canal.

He said: “I think people are realising it’s actually a great asset, not just for tourists but for people who live here as well.

“It is almost like a gift from our ancestors that we need to protect and treasure.”

Actor Brian Blessed has backed the Canal and River Trust’s calls for people to care for their local canal.

He said: “They meant so much to me as a child so I think it’s important we all do what we can to help protect them for our next generations to enjoy.” To find out more, email volunteer@britishwaterways.co.uk.

A meeting will be held for anyone interested adopting a stretch of canal on Sunday February 12 at a venue yet to be confirmed.