MP for Doncaster North, Ed Miliband, turned his hand to lock keeping recently as part of a visit to see how local waterways are benefitting communities.
Mr Miliband visited Sprotbrough Lock on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire navigations to find out more about how local waterways are being cared for by national charity the Canal & River Trust and how more people are playing their part in looking after them.
The visit saw Mr Miliband meet the local team and discuss a range of issues such as the Trust’s work to get more young people involved with their local waterways and how canals and rivers can bring a range of benefits to local communities such as encouraging healthy lifestyles.
The visit was also an opportunity for Mr Miliband to learn about the use of the region’s waterways for the movement of freight and he even helped operate the lock to enable the Humber Princess, a tanker capable of carrying 500 tonnes, to travel upstream.
Whilst the giant lock, which measures a massive 75 metres long and 7 metres deep, was refilling, Mr Miliband took the opportunity to step on board the Humber Princess and meet the crew. The Princess is one of a number of freight barges that still operates on the region’s waterways. Run by John H Whitaker Tankers Ltd, she can carry the equivalent of more than 20 lorries inland from the Humber.
Mr Miliband said; “It was fantastic to meet the team who manage Sprotbrough Lock and see for myself the results of the recent improvement works.”
Jon Horsfall, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said; “We really enjoyed welcoming Mr Miliband to Sprotbrough Lock and to show him some of the exciting things that are happening on waterways in the area.
“It’s a great time on the waterways, with record numbers of people visiting, volunteering and even adopting their local stretch, and Mr Miliband was really interested in our efforts locally to get more and more people of all ages involved with their nearest canal or river.
“It was a great opportunity to show how our waterways still play an important role in daily life, providing a tranquil escape, offering places for exercise and healthy living and supporting local industry.”