Shiplake College Help in River Clean-Up

Boys-rubbishShiplake College Help in River Clean-UpThe glorious weather over the weekend provided the perfect opportunity for going out on the river; whether enjoying an ice cream by the bank of the Thames or jumping in a rowing boat and paddling the day away, there is no denying that the river is a focal point for Henley and Shiplake. However, the scenic surroundings are becoming blighted by litter, and one dedicated group of Shiplake pupils had simply had enough. Joining forces with volunteers from local community and Shiplake Outloars, a river clean-up was organised, to collect rubbish from the sides of the river, and in the river itself.

On Sunday 8 May, volunteers met on the banks of the Thames at Shiplake College, complete with canoes, to travel down the river and collect litter that had been abandoned by and in the river. Working between Shiplake and Sonning, the volunteers came from local rowing group the Shiplake Outloars, Shiplake College and Gillotts School. The clean-up war organised by Guy Fisher of the Shiplake Outloars, a Fixed Seat Rowing Club who go onto the river each week to exercise and enjoy the surroundings. 20 people came to lend a hand, and the team made an impressive sight, heading up the river together armed with fishing nets in order to scoop rubbish out of the water. Altogether, the team managed to collect 25 bags of rubbish, and a deck chair! Perhaps the summer weather simply wasn’t hot enough for the owner to hold on to it…

Shiplake College rowing coach Mr Hugh Mackworth-Praed, and Director of Rowing Mr David Currie, were eager to help with this worthy event. Spreading the word amongst the keen rowers of Shiplake, several pupils headed down to the river to lend a hand and help clean up the famous stretch of the Thames. Mr Currie commented that ‘the pupils were very keen to clear it up; our proximity to the river is absolutely brilliant and it’s such a shame that people drop litter in and around the water. Training on this stretch of the Thames is thoroughly enjoyable, and we are more than happy to get involved with maintaining it.’ Organiser Guy Fisher was impressed with the commitment of the volunteers, and touched that so many people came down to help. Guy said of the thought process behind organising the clean-up was simple: ‘I row regularly on this stretch of the River Thames, and always notice the amount of litter in the riverbanks, which is not only unsightly, but must also be affecting the wildlife. We managed to clear over half of the stretch, filling 25 bags of rubbish with mainly plastic, and we hope that we can finish the stretch this summer. It was fantastic to have the support of Shiplake College, some of their staff and local volunteers who gave up their time to help. A big thank you to all who helped and to Henley Canoe Hire for donating some boats.’

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