Volunteers Paddle Up For River Clean Up

Volunteers from Henley and the surrounding area gave up their time to clean up the banks and waterways of the River Thames around Wargrave on Sunday (26 September), in a joint initiative by Val Wyatt Marine, Warrior on Waste, Lynne Lambourne and Go With The Flo.

The event was organised as part of The Great Big Green Week, a nationwide celebration of action on climate change, plus World Rivers Day, which coincided with Sunday’s clean-up.

As well as litter picking along the towpaths, 12 of the braver volunteers also jumped onto paddleboards to collect litter congregating on the water’s surface – with the equipment being provided by Go With The Flo including our Editor, Michaela Clarke.

The volunteers collected enough litter to fill 10 big tubs, provided by Planet Patrol, which will have an immediate impact upon local wildlife, and prevent longer-term problems downstream. Following an afternoon of hard work, the helpers were welcomed back to Val Wyatt Marine’s coffee house The Cwtch, for coffee and cake.

Commenting on the event, Lisa Anacora, Managing Director at Val Wyatt Marine, said: “We are proud to host this event alongside Warriors on Waste and Go With The Flo. As a marina, the river is an extension of our workplace and a part of our lives. We’re absolutely committed to keeping it, the seas, and our surrounding area clean and litter-free. We are all fortunate to enjoy our environment and it is our responsibility – both as a business and as a community of individuals – to do what we can to look after it. I’m very grateful to all those who helped to make this event happen, and especially to those who volunteered to make a positive difference.”

Lynne Lambourne, Founder of Warriors on Waste, added: “At first glance, you wouldn’t think there was too much litter in and around this stretch of river – however, we collected 10 big tubs and black sacks of abandoned rubbish in just a few hours. We found everything from flip-flops to Styrofoam to a pallet, but bottles are always the biggest problem. We must have collected more than 100 bottles and cans. Events like this help to create a vision in the community and get people thinking about what can end up in the river.”

Nick Judd, Founder of Go With The Flo, concluded: “Litter picking by paddleboard allows you to access the little nooks and crannies along the water, as well as searching in the reeds and bullrushes. We provide lessons along this stretch of river, so we were more than happy to team up with Val Wyatt Marine and Warriors on Waste for this event. There were lots of new faces and it was fantastic to see people of all ages coming together to benefit the community.”