While you tuck into your Christ­mas din­ner, spare a thought for Stan Cum­mins who’ll be man­ning the Tees Bar­rage

Canal Boat - - This Month -

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

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