The charity looking after the Grand Union Canal is looking for volunteers to take over the canal's most iconic role.
The Canal and River Trust is looking for volunteer lock keepers to man the Cowley lock, helping passing boaters, welcoming visitors and helping the Trust maintain the canal.
Lock keepers have been a part of the waterways in the area for hundreds of years and more boats than ever before are using London's canal network.
Last year more than 60 million visits were made by visitors to towpaths in London.
Those wishing to take up the job of volunteer lock keeper will be fully trained by the Trust and adults of all ages are encouraged to apply.
Lock keepers in Uxbridge will work on a shift basis throughout the year, with busy periods expected between April and October.
Joe Green has volunteered as a lock keeper since 2016, and is hoping to volunteer again this year.
"A typical day revolves around making sure the lock is safe and well presented; helping boaters through the lock; and providing people with information," he said.
"There’s lots of different people who visit the towpath here and it’s good to chat to them and help with anything we can.
"Volunteer lock keeping is a great thing to do, I’d encourage anyone interested to have a go, or join one of the volunteer events.
"Or, if you’re passing by a lock and the lock keeper is there, stop and have a chat with them as they’d be more than happy to discuss what the role is all about.”
Applications for the role are open and training and inductions begin in March.
Debbie Vidler, Canal and River Trust volunteer development co-ordinator, said: “The canals are enjoying a new golden age, with more and more people boating and using the water and towpath.
"The lock keeper is probably the most iconic role on the waterways and we’re on the lookout for people to come and help everyone who is using the canals.
"It’s a great role for anyone looking to work outdoors and meet plenty of people. In many ways the lock keeper is the friendly face of the canals.
"It can be hard work, but hugely rewarding. You don’t need any previous experience so I’d encourage anyone looking for a new challenge to get in touch.”
To find out more about becoming a volunteer lock-keeper at Cowley lock visit the Trust's website .
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