Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cliff Lifts new engineer

Saltburn Cliff Lift's newly-appointed engineer Paul Wakeford is delighted to be at the controls of the Victorian masterpiece - and is even ready to offer on-board entertainment during wet weather. Paul, who reckons he now has his "dream job" after enjoying several summer seasons of part-time work on the Cliff Lift, will also bring his musical talents to the job, with a spot of banjo playing on rainy days. Paul, 57, explained: "I love the Cliff Lift and this is my dream job. It's a tourist attraction, part of Saltburn's heritage and being here makes me feel part of the town. I intend to be here until I'm at least 65, even longer if I'm fit and able."
Middlesbrough-born Paul has lived in Saltburn since 1993 and has had three spells since then working on the lift as a seasonal brake person in between a varied working life after deciding to call time on 18 years as a motor mechanic. He has fond early childhood memories of the Cliff Lift, but admits: "I think it was two pence up and one penny down and my dad would say, 'I'll see you at the bottom, you walk down!' So as a kid, I don't think I ever used it!"His first journey didn't come until he joined the workforce in 1994 - then he got a shock. "I expected the lift to be driven from the bottom - I thought the top was just a ticket office. I didn't realise it was driven from there, didn't know how it worked. And the banjo playing? A self-employed busker at one time, he brought the banjo along when he worked the summer "and played it when the weather was rotten!" said Paul who is currently busy on winter maintenance before the Lift reopens on Good Friday, April 10.

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