Shields Ferry skipper who looks like Sting gets guard of honour on last day at work

The Shields Ferry skipper who bears an uncanny resemblance to Sting received a guard of honour on his final day aboard the vessel.

Chris McGuinness, 63, is set to retire to spend more time with his wife and dog, however, colleagues weren't letting the ferry captain slink off quietly. Chris, from South Shields, was given a guard of honour as he alighted the ferry as skipper for the last time on the dock of his home town of South Shields.

Chris previously said: "I’ve loved my time at the Shields Ferry and I’m going to really miss it. It’s been such a big part of my life and an absolute pleasure to work there.

The captain met his doppelganger in April 2010 when the real Sting turned up at the Shields Ferry to show an American music producer the sights of the Tyne. He added: "The fact I look like Sting is something I’ve had some great fun with too, and it has attracted a lot of attention.

"It’s something the customers love, and the ones who do realise that I look like him are always fascinated. When the real Sting hired the Shields Ferry in 2010 I thought it was a wind up at first.

"He was great. He said I looked like his brother, and I said ‘get away, I look like you, man’. It’s a great memory for me."

Chris McGuinness (right) with Sting in 2010
Chris McGuinness (right) with Sting in 2010 -Credit:Nexus

Chris had stints as a traffic warden and checking tickets on the Metro before he joined the ferry crew after using it on his daily commute. He added: "Driving a Shields Ferry is the best job in the world, especially on those early summer mornings when you see the sun rising over the River Tyne. I’ve always said to the other crew, ‘you just can’t beat this."

Nexus, which runs the Shields Ferry, said that Chris's knowledge of the river and vessels; his rapport with customers; and his skill in training new recruits; all make him a brilliant ferry captain. His employers described him as a "great character who had given outstanding service".

Kevin Leonard, customer service operations manager at Nexus said: "His uncanny likeness to Sting has been the source of much merriment and fascination over the years. He takes it all in good humour, which is a measure of what a brilliant guy he is. We wish him all the best for his retirement."

Now that Chris has retired, he plans to spend more time with his wife, Roz, and their golden retriever Rannoch. They are planning to tour the UK in their VW Camper van. Customers may see him from time to time as he plans to do some holiday cover shifts.