Grantham Journal caricature: Water bailiff and RAYNET volunteer Jim Wheeldon

Caricature of Jim Wheeldon, by Terry Shelbourne.
Caricature of Jim Wheeldon, by Terry Shelbourne.

Jim Wheeldon might be retired after 20 years as a lorry driver, but he keeps busy both as a bailiff for the Grantham Angling Association and as a volunteer with the Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network (RAYNET).

His angling role involves checking that those fishing in the area have a valid licence, as well as monitoring the cleanliness of the canal. Jim says that cameras installed initially helped tackle the ongoing problem but, since these were broken, much of the mess has returned. By working with councillors, the Grantham Canal Society and others, he hopes that 2015 will herald a much cleaner environment.

Indeed, having lived on Stathern Walk, overlooking the waterway for 28 years, Jim and his wife Samantha enjoy the picture postcard view, providing there is no rubbish ruining the sight. The couple have three sons, aged 22, 19 and 16, and a 13-year-old daughter, and are looking forward to their eldest returning from Teesside University for a quiet family Christmas at home.

As always, though, Jim has been keeping busy in the run-up. As a member of RAYNET, he is able to access radio bands used by the emergency services, and therefore during times of crisis assist with their vital channels of communication.

Moreover, it enables him to help with annual events, such as traffic control during the carnival and the fire brigade’s santa tour. So, although the 67-year-old may no longer be working, he is still prepared to help out 24 hours a day, seven days a week if that emergency call comes in.