Simon Shepherdson, the lock-keeper at Hambleden for nearly 30 years has been reinstated in his Environmental Agency (EA) job after an appeal process this week.
Simon left the role in March after complaints were made to the EA last year on problems which occurred whilst the pop-up Lockdown Lodge riverside restaurant was located near to the lock. A temporary lock-keeper has been in the position since.
A petition was started by Susanne Williams and was signed by 1800+ people who wanted Simon to be reinstated in his role.
One petitioner wrote, “I can’t believe I am reading this. As I understand it, a pop up bar opened near a lock, after a National Lockdown during very hot weather, some people got drunk putting some in danger so it was left to Simon to look after the lock and deal with the rowdy behaviour by himself. Is this correct? Why was the pop up bar allowed to open there and why was it given a License if any? A stupid decision resulting in someone taking action against Simon and now this. Simon has provided invaluable information (which he didn’t need to do) on the Thames conditions over the years, I have communicated with him on several occasions and he has been helpful providing fast flowing and river height conditions for several locks which have proved very useful for people like my son who is a keen rower and has been through that lock many times. I hope he gets reinstated immediately as he does not deserve this at all and I am so annoyed about it.”
Simon won the Thames Heritage Trust, John Coleman Trophy in 2019. It was made for his outstanding contribution to the Thames, for his services to boaters including his Facebook page which supplements Environment Agency information on river conditions.
A spokesperson for the EA said, “Following an internal disciplinary process, Simon Shepherdson will be resuming his duties.”