20 QUES­TIONS

Meet lock-keeper Steve New­man – who fell in on his first day in the job. He went on to win two Best Kept Lock awards and the Bri­tish Em­pire Medal for ser­vices to In­land Wa­ter­ways

Canal Boat - - This Month -

Lock-keeper Steve New­man BEM

What first at­tracted you to the wa­ter­ways?

I grew up close to Ted­ding­ton lock and used to go down there and watch the boats when I was younger. But I never thought I’d be a lock-keeper one day!

Which is your favourite canal?

I don’t think I’ve ever ac­tu­ally been boat­ing on a canal – I’ve been too busy on the Thames. But I’d love to ex­plore the Llan­gollen, par­tic­u­larly the beau­ti­ful Pont­cy­syllte Aqueduct.

What do the wa­ter­ways have to of­fer the coun­try?

It gives peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to get away from the hustle and bus­tle of mod­ern life and go back to a sim­pler time.

Tell us about your boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence…

I used to have my own nar­row­boat, which I used fre­quently on the Thames to go down to Lon­don or up to Ox­ford, but I now own a small day boat for quick trips around the lo­cal area.

Have you ever fallen in? I fell in on my first day.

What do the wa­ter­ways need most?

They need in­vest­ment, but they also need more peo­ple to use them.

Have you picked up other ac­co­lades?

Best Kept Lock award in 2012 and 2013.

Who would be your ideal cruis­ing com­pan­ion.

Bobby Moore - and I know he had a boat be­cause he came through the lock once.

What did you want to be aged 12?

An en­gi­neer.

Where do vis­i­tors come from?

All over the world.

How long have you been at Shep­par­ton?

I think it’s been 42 years now.

Was it a steep learn­ing curve?

Yes, and I’m still learn­ing.

What are your fond­est mem­o­ries of the wa­ter­ways?

Watch­ing the early morn­ing mist rise off the wa­ter.

What do you think of peo­ple on the canals?

They seem to live life in the slow lane.

What is your proud­est achieve­ment?

My three sons.

What would you like to see hap­pen to the wa­ter­ways in your life­time?

More boats, more vis­i­tors and more at­trac­tions.

Do you own a boat yet?

Yes, I’ve owned a few.

Where do you hail from orig­i­nally?

Kingston-upon-Thames.

Where in Bri­tain would you most like to cruise?

I’d love to get on my boat and sail out of Sal­combe Har­bour in Devon, out to the open seas.

What would your su­per­power be?

I’d like to be able to travel back in time.

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