Hotel Boats honour Bingley Five Rise Lock Keeps with top British Marine Inland Boating award

The Hotel Boat section of British Marine Inland Boating has awarded their prestigious Lock Keeper of the Year award for 2015 to John Lobley, Richard Moor and Nick Stead of the Canal & River Trust (CRT) lock keeping team at Bingley Five Rise on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

The award was presented on Tuesday 17 May 2016 when the luxury 5 star Hotel Boat Lady Teal passed through the spectacular Bingley Five Rise staircase of locks – one of the seven “Wonders of the Waterways”. Recipients are nominated and voted for by all British Marine Inland Boating Hotel Boat operators so that they can recognise the support they receive from the people working ‘on the ground’ as they take holidaymakers around Britain's inland waterways.

Hana Rees-Jones, Chair of the Hotel Boat section of British Marine Inland Boating, described why they make the award: “As professional boaters we like to recognise the professionalism of navigation authority staff, especially when they give exceptional service to boaters. What makes >Britain's canals unique is their living heritage of boating, distinguished from being a giant linear park by the boats navigating amazing structures such as the Bingley staircase of locks.

“Hotel Boats are some of the most widely travelled craft on the inland waterways, cruising up to 1500 miles each summer season, and between them visiting almost the entire network of canals and rivers. The award is open not only to lock keepers, but to all bank side waterway staff who are judged by British Marine Inland Boating Hotel Boat members to have given outstanding assistance to waterways users. Every nominee for this award should feel justly proud of this recognition. We are grateful for their fantastic support with maintaining our schedules as hotel boat holidaymakers enjoy the relaxed pace of the waterways and spectacular experiences of aqueducts, tunnels and flights of locks.”

Nick and Gina Mead of Lady Teal, presented the award as the hotel boat arrived to ascend the locks. Thanking the team for all their hard work, good humour and invaluable information, Nick explained, “All the hotel boat crews that nominated Richard, Nick and John say they are all really helpful. Their priority is the safe and smooth use of the locks which they all do with confidence and ease, also managing the water levels. They are a wealth of knowledge for boaters about local facilities and great ambassadors for the area, plus a big part of their job is with the many visitors to Bingley. On a sunny day there will be many who gather to watch the boats; the Canal & River Trust lock keepers remain unruffled, answering questions as they work and keeping an eye on everyone's safety at the same time.”

Gina Mead added “All the lock keepers are great; very helpful, professional and safe, and our guests love them. Richard is always ready with a smile. Living on a boat himself he understands the waterway life and he has endless patience in answering the questions asked of him. Nick always shows an interest in the herbs we grow on our boat; a keen gardener and artist, he is passionate about the flora and fauna around the locks and passes his great knowledge on to all the visitors.

“John speaks fluent French having lived and worked in Europe he offers fascinating insights about canals and current topics when talking to our guests from all over the world. Lady our dog adores him too, as he always has a treat for her! All of them are aware of the varying boaters’ needs; being a commercial hotel boat we always have a schedule to keep. The Bingley Five Rise locks are always a pleasure to navigate, largely thanks to the friendliness and experience of the lock-keeping team.