A MILESTONE in the lifetime of a lock has been marked by television star Griff Rhys Jones.

Griff was among around 40 guests who celebrated the 12-year restoration of Stratford St Mary Lock by the River Stour Trust on Saturday.

It has been 80 years since the village lock was last in use.

The restoration project was worth £250,000 but the hard work of dozens of volunteers has saved an estimated £150,000.

Between them they put in more than 15,000 hours of work over the 12-year restoration period.

The lock has been renamed after their leader, Roger Brown.

If the work had been carried out by a contractor, it would have cost £300,000.

The celebration event was led by the Trust, of which Griff, famous for TV comedy sketch shows including Not the Nine O'Clock News, is a vice-president.

Griff gave a speech praising the work of the Trust in saving the Stour Navigation from closure in the 1960s.

It then restored or built four locks, plus three slipways, two waterside warehouses, a visitor centre and several launching points so the community can bring their boats to it and enjoy the river that John Constable painted and loved.

The lock was officially opened by Mark Harling, regional manager of environmental body Enovert, who were the main sponsors of the project.

Enovert provided £75,000 funding for the new gates.

A plaque beside the lock was unveiled by Mary Harrison, whose late husband Tony left a legacy to be used for waterway restoration projects, which provided a further £7,500.

The first fleet of boats through the lock included the Trust’s electric trip boat, canoes, rowing boats, skiffs and an inflatable dinghy.

Emrhys Barrell, a vice-president of the River Stour Trust, said he was pleased so many guests, including from councils, attended.

He added: "Our whole aim is to open the lock up for local people and the wider community to get onto the river.

"Opening this lock adds another three miles of the river which people can paddle or row through."