Seeing double: Shields Ferry Sting look-alike to retire after 33 years

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Chris McGuiness is looking forward to retirement, after delighting customers for three decades as a Sting look-alike Ferry Captain.

A Shields Ferry worker who has become known for his uncanny resemblance to music legend Sting, is now set to retire after 33 years working for the transport system. 

63-year-old Chris McGuinness has spent three decades of his life delighting Shields Ferry customers due to the fact that he is a look-alike of Wallsend born singer, Sting.

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He even got a chance to meet the music icon in 2010, when Sting returned to his hometown of North Shields, and took a trip on the Shields Ferry.

McGuiness said: “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.”

Now, McGuiness, a Ferry Captain is looking forward to a well deserved retirement and he is set to bid farewell to his beloved job on the cross-Tyne ferry service on Saturday, June 1.

McGuiness from South Shields, began working on the Shields Ferry in 1991, and has been praised by Nexus, the public body which operates the Shields Ferry for his “outstanding customer service”.

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Although McGuiness has gained popularity due to his likeness of The Police singer, Nexus have also praised McGuinness for his knowledge of the river and vessels, his rapport with customers and his skill in training new recruits.

Kevin Leonard, Customer Service Operations Manager, said: “Chris is a legend at the Shields Ferry and he’s going to be a big miss.

“He’s given outstanding service. His knowledge of the River Tyne and the ferries is second to none. Chris has got a brilliant rapport with people and he’s been so good at training new members of the ferry team.

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“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.”

Chris McGuiness is set to retire as Ferry Captain after 33 years.Chris McGuiness is set to retire as Ferry Captain after 33 years.
Chris McGuiness is set to retire as Ferry Captain after 33 years. | Nexus

McGuiness is planning to spend his retirement with his wife Roz and their Golden Retriever dog Rannoch. The couple have a VW Camper Van, and plan to tour the UK in it. 

However, McGuiness isn’t fully ready to leave the Shields Ferry behind, as he has offered to cover holiday shifts when needed.

McGuinness 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.

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“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.

“I’ve made great relationships with my colleagues and customers, and many of them I am delighted to call lifelong friends. I’m going to miss them immeasurably, but the time feels right to move on.”

He continued: “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’.” 

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