A group which regularly wades into the River Witham to clear it of rubbish has won a prestigious county prize.
Grantham Rivercare won the Lincolnshire Environmental Community Award which is judged by a panel chaired by Professor David Bellamy.
The Lincolnshire Environmental Awards have been running 22 years, organised by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Lindum Rotary Club.
Rivercare leader John Knowles said he “nearly fell of his chair” when the winners were announced by Melvyn Prior, of Radio Lincolnshire at the Bentley Hotel in Lincoln. Mr Knowles gave a presentation to the panel of judges, before the winners were announced at the dinner afterwards.
There was stiff competition from the other finalists in the Community Award category which were the Bishop’s Palace Heritage site and The Coastal Eco Centre in Skegness.
At a special ceremony held at the bowls pavilion in Wyndham Park , Mayor of Grantham Ian Selby presented the award to Mr Knowles in front of many people associated with Grantham Rivercare over the past 10 years.
Mr Knowles said that almost 10 years ago on October 25 the Rivercare group got together for its first clean-up. He said: “That river was a mess. There was a lot of furniture, beds, tyres and it was horrendous. Now it has improved a lot thanks to you. We have a glorious stretch of river.”
Mr Knowles added: “Well done to all those people who during the last 10 years have helped to make Grantham Rivercare such an effective and successful operation.
“In particular I would like to thank Andrew Walters of Keep Britain Tidy for his support, our sponsors Anglian Water, South Kesteven District Council for disposing of all the rubbish we collect and most importantly to our wonderful team of volunteers who have continued to turn out regardless of conditions to keep our stretch of the River Witham in good order.”
The next clean-up by the group will take place in october, 10 years to the day it was formed.