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
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?
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?
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.