A FORMER British Waterways worker has shared his story of a boat launch that went wrong at Northwich shipyard Yarwoods.

Roy Cotterill, also a former Northwich mayor and councillor, got in touch with the Guardian following a number of Remember When articles about the shipyard, which operated from 1840 to 1966.

He worked as a shipwright at British Waterways, along the River Weaver from WJ Yarwood and Sons, from 1953 until 1963 and loved taking photographs of the boat launches.

One of the launches he has pictures of is that of the Athelbrae, which was launched in 1955.

"The back launching gear collapsed," Roy said.

"It was supposed to go in sidewards but the front half went in and the back half didn't.

"It was only stuck for a few minutes but it was twisted and had to go to a shipyard in Liverpool for repairs.

"It had to be towed away."

Roy, of Malpas Road, has albums full of photographs, information and press cuttings about Yarwoods.

"A launch was something big and it did draw the crowds," he said.

"When the boat hit the water the wave goes across the river and it used to cover us if we were stood opposite.

"We used to try to see each one because each one was different."

Roy was 15 when he joined British Waterways as an apprentice in 1953.

He worked on narrowboats and explained the process of caulking - packing oakum between planks to seal them.

The oakum was made of tarred fibres, which the workers had to roll into strands before they could start work on the boats.

"We used to sit for an hour in the morning spinning – we had to spin enough to last all morning," he said.

"We had to do it again at the start of the afternoon."

He still has many of his old tools, including a caulking mallet, maul hammer, adze and smaller caulking tools.