MEMORIES of years spent working on the Lancaster Canal were shared by waterways enthusiast Keith Tassart at a talk for Bolton-le-Sands Horticultural Society.

Mr Tassart's many tasks for British Waterways, the former custodian of 2,000 miles of English and Welsh waterway, included hedge laying, drystone walling and handling the tugboat, dredger and - in winter - the ice breaker.

The Morecambe farm manager described pulling out £160 in copper coins wrapped in cardboard tubes while dredging the canal at Penny Street Bridge, Lancaster - loot thrown over the parapet by bank robbers years earlier.

He also recalled finding best-quality coal while dredging at Hest Bank, cargo dropped by barges over the years making a tight turn. Mr Tassart told his audience "little old ladies" soon arrived with buckets and shovels to collect the coal as fast as it could be dug out. "Resounding applause" greeted Mr Tassart's talk.