The Rotherham narrowboat skipper 'destroying' stereotypes

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image captionMariam Shah said she "always had a thing about boats"

A charity worker has spoken about destroying stereotypes as she heads onto the canals of South Yorkshire skippering a narrowboat.

Mariam Shah, of Rotherham, said: "It is not often you would see a Muslim woman wearing a hijab steering a boat on the canal, it's a very rare thing."

Mrs Shah is learning the ropes at Swinton Lock on the River Don.

She wants to take families out to experience the "peace and serenity" on the water after completing training.

Mrs Shah, whose father was a Quartermaster in the Pakistani navy, said she "always had a thing about boats".

"I do get some funny looks but that is fine because people are curious.

"It's nice to be able to destroy that stereotype," she said.

image captionA narrowboat is a canal boat of long, narrow design steered with a tiller

The activity centre at the lock is a charity accredited for narrowboat training with a variety of boat-handling courses.

Mrs Shah said: "We live in a world when all you do is rush, rush, but when you come here all that is irrelevant because you are going at the pace of the water.

"When I heard about the training I wanted to do it for my community.

"I want them to experience the peace and serenity, the pleasure from being out on the water you can't put a price on it."

Taking up the hobby had given her another view of her home town and allowed her to see more of the beauty of Rotherham, she added.

image captionMrs Shah said: "It's is such a lovely feeling to be responsible for such a ship... I never imagined I could achieve this"

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