River Clean-Up After Henley Regatta

As part of Plastic Free July, a group of 18 volunteers led by Henley Royal Regatta in collaboration with local eco-warrior Lynne Lambourne – from sustainability movement Warriors on Waste – carried out the third annual paddleboard River clean-up along the race course this morning.

The volunteers – which included students and staff members from local school Shiplake College – used stand up paddleboards from Go with the Flo Paddleboarding for the Regatta river clean-up, equipped with litter pickers and recycling boxes. The initiative is part of Henley Royal Regatta’s commitment to preserving the natural environment and biodiversity of its home river.

Sir Steve Redgrave, Chair of the Committee of Management for Henley Royal Regatta, said: “The river is the lifeblood of the Regatta and we take the process of responsibly dealing with waste very seriously. By working with Grundon, one of the UK’s leading providers of waste management, Henley Royal Regatta is able to ensure that any waste generated from the event is either recycled, composted or incinerated for energy. The river clean-up is recognition of the need to protect the rivers and oceans that connect the whole rowing community and wider society.”

Lynne Lambourne, founder of Warriors on Waste, added: “Joining forces with the world’s best rowing event to ensure the river is clear of any plastic and pollution post-event is wonderful. While there’s a strong emphasis on E. coli and sewage pollution in the river, it’s important to remember that there’s more to river pollution. Concerned citizens can have an immediate impact by joining a river clean.

“Over the years, Henley Royal Regatta has implemented numerous changes to enhance the sustainability of the event. Significant strides have been made, including the reduction of single-use plastics. Despite these efforts, human activity inevitably leads to some level of pollution. The Regatta’s commitment to returning their section of the river to a clean and healthy state for nature and biodiversity is commendable.”

Katherine Green, Director of External Relations at Shiplake College, said: “This is the third year that Shiplake College pupils have supported the post-HRR river clean-up and it’s brilliant to see that the amount of litter has reduced once again – both in terms of items that have clearly been in the river for a long time as well as only a small amount of rubbish as a result of the Regatta itself. It’s positive to engage the pupils in this operation so they see first-hand the importance of looking after the river and our local environment. The pupils enjoyed themselves in the process and it was good to see them keen to collect the most amount of litter and find the most unusual objects! Thank you to all involved in organising the morning.”

Nick Judd from Go with the Flo Paddleboarding commented: “We are proud to partner with Henley Royal Regatta to not only celebrate the sport but also to ensure that the beautiful environment it takes place in is preserved. Our combined efforts show that sustainability and sports can go hand-in-hand. This river clean initiative highlights the collective responsibility towards maintaining the health of our waterways.”


Photo credit: James Finlay



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