Skipper recalls telling Sting ‘I look like you, man’ as he prepares to retire from Shields Ferry

Chris McGuinness, right, got to meet Sting, left, when he visited the Shields Ferry in 2010. Credit: Nexus

A skipper on the Shields Ferry with an uncanny resemblance to Sting has recalled the moment he met the music icon as he prepared for retirement.

Chris McGuinness has spent three decades working on the cross-Tyne service but will bid farewell to the role he calls "the best job in the world" at the beginning of June.

As well as being a well-loved member of the team, the 63-year-old is known for his likeness to Wallsend-born music icon Sting.

He 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 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.”

Chris McGuinness has covered the Shields Ferry route for 33 years. Credit: Nexus

In 2010, Chris got to meet the man himself and spoke to him about their likeness.

“When the real Sting hired the Shields Ferry in 2010 I thought it was a wind up at first," he continued.

"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' likeness to The Police frontman led to some lookalike work, including in a Quadrophenia tribute.

He was even offered work in California, but work commitments meant it was not possible.

After his retirement, Chris plans to tour the UK in his VW campervan with his wife Roz, and their golden retriever Rannoch. However, he plans to cover some holiday shifts on his beloved Tyne crossing from time to time.

Chris McGuinness has even enjoyed lookalike work thanks to his uncanny resemblance to Sting. Credit: Nexus

He said: “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’.”

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.

“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.”

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