the diary of Iris Lloyd

steps to becoming a waterways chaplain

an introduction

Hi! My name is Iris Lloyd. I live in beautiful Hungerford and the Kennet and Avon canal is opposite my front door, across my drive, a side road and the canal bank, so I see all the activity on the waterway. Additionally, our church is half a mile distant, also on the canal side, so we get boaters going in to have a look around or attend services.

My vicar and his wife are Waterways Chaplains and I thought it was something I would like to do, so volunteered. A training day was cancelled and then along came the pandemic. However, I offered to become a guinea pig using marvellous Zoom, and five Saturday morning training sessions were arranged for half a dozen of us.

At the start, I felt overwhelmed. I had no idea there was a waterways community. I thought boaters were out there enjoying themselves and was not aware of the needs of many, so my eyes have been opened with a vengeance. My only experience of the waterways was an unusual canal holiday I enjoyed in the fifties and I will tell you about that in a future article.

I am now getting used to the idea of lives lived on the canals and broads, but cannot start walking the towpath in earnest until restrictions are relaxed a little. I thought that perhaps diary entries from me, of my experiences, once I start, would be of interest to readers. It will also keep me up to scratch!

So, am I suited to becoming a Waterways Chaplain? I consciously became a Christian at the age of 17 and believe that God loves every one of us, though it may not seem so sometimes.

I worked for the C.A.B. for 20 years so know how to listen to people. I am also a listener (as opposed to a packer of food) at our local Food Bank, which is not operating at the moment.

Having been born in Clapham, south-west London, I was a child and young teenager during the war, was in London on the first night of the Blitz and was evacuated shortly afterwards. I am now widowed, have two daughters and three grandchildren, all in their twenties, of whom I am very proud although their lifestyles are very different from how we were brought up.

I have been writing all my life, including 17 pantomimes, all produced by amateurs; eight years as a correspondent for our local paper, the Newbury Weekly News; I am the editor of the church’s monthly magazine (we came 19th out of over 360 entries in a national competition last year!) and I am now writing my ninth novel (all self published). I was also a dancer for 80 years, teaching for much of that time, but put away my tap shoes a few years ago.

My age is 89 – but what’s a number?

So I look forward to contributing an occasional article to this online magazine and hope you enjoy them.

Iris Lloyd

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About Iris Lloyd

Iris Lloyd lives beside the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hungerford. A Christian since the age of 17, Iris has, at 89, become a Waterways Chaplain. She has danced all her life, has volunteered for the CAB and her local Food Bank, written for & edited magazines, and published 9 novels.