Bit of a navigational problem when you cannot find an entire river.

But that was the issue presented to Lock Keeper Bob Scarrott by boaters going downstream from Worcester on the River Severn aiming to visit Tewkesbury.

We can’t find the River Avon, he was told, because the signs on the riverbank had become obliterated by overgrown trees and vegetation.

Boats were happily chugging past the mouth of the Avon and continuing to the next weir and lock at Upper Lode.

Bob’s solution was to contact Tewkesbury-based Severn Unit Maritime Volunteer Service to see if they could help.

Head of Unit Nic Price said "When we got to the signs it was obvious that it was going to be a bigger job than we expected and it took all our members' ingenuity and skill to manoevre their boats into position so they could saw away branches and prune the trees. “We did this over a two week period on our training evenings and gradually we cleared the signs for Tewkesbury and the Avon so they are exposed for all to clearly see.

“ As well as assisting local navigation this assignment also gave members valuable practical experience in boat handling and working as a team and also incorporated the use of their VHF radios.

“ This was one of the more unusual calls for help we have received but we are always happy to assist whenever we can". With the onset of the darker nights the unit is almost at the end of training evenings afloat but members are looking forward to a packed winter programme of training back at their headquaters in the Day Centre. New members are welcome.