End of an era as Penny Ferryman hangs up his oar


VIDEO: IT will mark the end of an era when ferryman Kevin Wilkinson retires after almost 20 years of operating the historic Penny Ferry across the Manchester Ship Canal at Thelwall.

When Kevin hangs up his oar next month, it is understood the rowing boat will be replaced with a motorboat, although this is yet to be confirmed by operators Peel.

Meanwhile, grandad of six Kevin, who works 365 days a year, including Christmas Day, is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren while taking a well-earned rest from his duties.

Launched way back in 1894, to continue a public right of way across the newly constructed Manchester Ship Canal, inflation has seen the ferry charge increase from 1p to 11p or 20p return.

Describing it as “the best job in the world” during the summer, Kevin says he couldn’t do another winter, which can be tough going.

Meanwhile Kevin is a hugely popular character who will be sadly missed by his passengers, who are mainly walkers who number on average around 600 a year.

His most unusual clients were a group of boating enthusiasts, who after experiencing some of the largest ships in the world, wanted to sail on one of the smallest!

The ferry is an aluminum rowing boat that is operated with one rear oar from a neat little jetty when needed from 7am to 9am, 12 noon to 2pm and 4pm to 6pm.

The Penny Ferry crossing at Thelwall


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