While you tuck into your Christmas dinner, spare a thought for Stan Cummins who’ll be manning the Tees Barrage
Spare a thought for Stan Cummins, who’ll be manning the Tees Barrage on Christmas Day
1 What first attracted you to the waterways? The idea of working on the river after leaving the Royal Navy really appealed to me. 2
Which is your favourite canal or river? It may sound obvious but I love the River Tees. 3
What do the waterways need most? Continued investment and people passionate about preserving them. 4 Tell us about your boating experience My boating experience has mainly been linked with my work – firstly driving R.I.Bs ( rigid inflatable boats) in the Navy and then moving workboats on the River Tees. 5
What do the waterways have to offer the country? They’re fantastic places for leisure – we see a lot of boats on the Tees as well as walkers and anglers. The waterways are also a really important part of our heritage. 6 How long have you worked at the Tees Barrage and how did you come to work there? It was 21 years in November. When I was leaving the Royal Navy, the company was looking for an electrical technician with boating experience, so I went for it. 7
What do you look after at the Barrage? As well as operating the Barrage gates I maintain all the electrical and hydraulic control systems.
What kinds of boats pass through the lock at the Barrage? It’s mainly small leisure craft and fishing boats.
Are you expecting any boats to pass through over the Christmas period? You never know really. I would expect a few die-hard fishermen maybe looking to get out of the house and there may be the odd pleasure boat out if the weather is nice.
What’s the best thing about your job? Each day is different. Even after 21 years something different comes up and that makes it really enjoyable.
And is there anything you don’t like about your job? Not at the moment.
Do you have to be at the Barrage on Christmas Day or at home on call? I’ll be up bright and early and at the Barrage for 7am and I’ll be there right through to 7pm. The Barrage is manned 24/7. 13
Who would be your ideal cruising companion? It would be my ex-Navy mate JR – probably the only person to put up with me. 14
Have you ever had the misfortune to fall in? No, thankfully not, but I have seen a few of my colleagues fall in. 15
What did you want to be aged 12? I wanted to join the Royal Navy; I had done since I was four years old.
What do you think of the people on our canals and rivers? They’re an interesting lot and help to make sure that no two days are ever the same.
Where would you choose to do a dream cruise? I’ve always wanted to cruise all the waterways non-stop. 18
What are you reading at the moment? OneHundredDays – Admiral Sandy Woodward’s autobiography. He was Commander of the British Task Force in the Falklands War. 19
Tell us about your spare time interests I love Formula 1 and go to the British Grand Prix every year. I also enjoy supporting my great nephew’s under-7s football team. 20
What super power would you like to possess? I’d like to be able to fly but, really, the willpower to diet.
‘The Barrage is manned 24/7’
Tees Barrage Technician
The Tees Barrage, a big responsibility