Simon Malone’s memories of hiring rowing boats from ‘Mark’ at Crookham Wharf on the Basingstoke Canal brought a very quick response from Steve McKeown via our Facebook page to identify just who ‘Mark’ actually was.

Mark Hicks (1874-1966) and horse ‘Kitty’ are seen here alongside the canal and Steve writes: “In 1884 Mark Hicks was ten years old when he was taken on by the Surrey & Hampshire Canal, the-then owners of the canal.

“Mark married Lucy Squires in Farnham during 1919.

“Mark was still working on the canal a few days before he died in 1966 at the age of 92. He lived in the cottage next to Chequers Bridge in Crookham.

“His local pub was The Chequers (now the Exchequer) where he is seen in the second photo. He used to hire out rowing boats and canoes on the canal. He was in the Guinness Book of Records as the holder of the record for the longest time of employment in any one job, being 82 years.

“When he died, his coffin was carried away on a barge along the canal.

“Mark used to supplement his beer money by catching crayfish in the canal (the native variety, not the current American ones) and selling them to the Dorchester Hotel in London. The hotel would send a van to collect them when he had enough stored in a water tank in his garden.”