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Grantham RiverCare marks 16 year anniversary with 100th clean-up of the River Witham




Grantham RiverCare members celebrated the group’s forthcoming 16th birthday last Saturday (October 18) with their 100th clean-up.

The group originally started in 2004 by John Knowles as part of Grantham Civic Society, and had 25 enthusiastic volunteers. They have since clocked up over 5,000 hours helping to keep their 1.8 mile adopted stretch of the River Witham clean and healthy.

It hasn’t always been easy or pretty, with some 25 tonnes of rubbish collected over the years.

From left: Ian Simmons, John Knowles, Cate Holborn, David Martin (42779465)
From left: Ian Simmons, John Knowles, Cate Holborn, David Martin (42779465)

Now working in smaller groups to respect social distancing, their 99th trip on October 12 saw four keen volunteers litter pick a 60-yard stretch of the Mow Beck, just off Old Wharf Road.

Collecting six bags of litter, including a 14-year-old crisp packet, they found an old mobile phone keyboard, car mats and some electric hair rollers. They are hoping to return to finish the job soon.

For the milestone 100th pick, four groups covered: Bridge End Road to Wyndham Park (one on the banks, one in the water); Queen ElizabethPark to the Harrowby weir, returning back along Belton Lane; and the urban stretch which included Hill Avenue, Sandon Road, Redcross Street, Park Road and Alford Street, before returning to Wyndham Park for home-made soup.

RiverCare marked their 16th anniversary with their 100th clean up (42779462)
RiverCare marked their 16th anniversary with their 100th clean up (42779462)

Lighter than usual results mayreflect the diligent work of the volunteers and some good behaviour from residents. However, volunteers still collected a variety of items including a Vax cleaner,plastic crates, various bike wheels and a number plate (but no car).

Additionally, they counted 98 plastic and 52 glass bottles, and 180 drinks cans.

Reflecting on 16 years, founder John Knowles said: “Having set upGrantham RiverCare 16 years ago I felt proud to take part in the 100th clean-up.

“During that time volunteers have devoted many hours in keeping our delightful riverin good shape. Long may they continue.”

RiverCare members were joined on the special anniversary clean-up by Cate Holborn, from Keep Britain Tidy.

She said: “Grantham RiverCare have been an incredibly enthusiastic and successful groupover the last 16 years. Their commitment has been a real inspiration, putting theirwellies on and getting together all year round to care for the river corridor whichruns through town.

“They have helped support a clean, green space for people toenjoy and a valued habitat for wildlife to thrive in.

“Alongside Anglian Water, we arethrilled to be able to support them in their efforts, and reaching their 100th event is afantastic milestone for us all to celebrate.”

RiverCare BeachCare (East Anglia) is a Keep Britain Tidy project funded in the region by Anglian Water. Currently supporting 50 local community groups to litterpick, undertake citizen science projects and act as guardians of their localwatercourse or beach.

For more information on Grantham RiverCare, contact Ian Simmons on 07950000928 or David Martin on 07739864490, or find the group on Facebook.



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