Taking the barge back to Skipton at the end of the very successful “Barge Pull” last year l got chatting to John Lobley, one of the lock keepers at the Bingley 5 Rise, who said he was planning to raise money to buy a defibrillator unit at the locks. He told me that the previous summer a gentleman had collapsed whilst visiting the locks and they had to run to the fire station to borrow their defib unit.

V.W.Bro. John Fred Clough with the PGM and members of the 5 Rise Locks staff

As we talked I said that the Canal and River Trust had been very helpful to our barge skipper, Mike Brearley, in the planning of the venture and that perhaps l could help him if l could persuade my fellow Trustees of the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust that it was a worthy cause and of help to the local community.

John Clough officially hands over the defibrillator to John Lobley

They said yes, the unit was ordered but then we hit up against a “brick wall”. Actually it was a “stone wall” as John emailed me to say that all the buildings at the top lock were “listed” so they couldn’t find a place to “moor” it. However he found out that the old stable block, now The 5 Rise Café, wasn’t listed and the proprietor, Marcus, had readily agreed to allow the unit to be fixed to a wall outside his café.

Joined Marcus, proprietor of the 5 Rise Locks Cafe (centre right) and members of the public

Tuesday 25th June the PGM and l went over to Bingley to “officially” hand over the unit. Raining it was, but that did not put a damper on the smiling faces of John Lobley and friends on the day. We left hoping that the unit would never ever be used but for the thousands of visitors and the local community it’s there “just in case”.

John Clough,
Trustee of the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust