COMMUNITY | The Great River Wye Spring Clean Up proves to be a huge success

Following on from the great success of their events last year, the Hereford Community Clean Up Group decided to take on cleaning up the River Wye and the river banks from Hunderton Railway Bridge down to the new suspension bridge at Rotherwas.

It was too large a job even for them so they decided to ask for help. Patricia Hales of Horizon Training offered to help, with many years experience of rafting down the river and being chairperson of the River Carnival she was ideal to run the river clean up. Emma Jones and Morgan Schofield organised the river banks clean up team, June Thurston the Community Champion at Asda Hereford asked if they could provide the food and drink for the volunteers and made a very generous donation to the group. Lucy Hurds with a team from the local branch of the RSPCA took on the task of cooking and providing refreshments from the Pavilion on Castle Green, courtesy of the Friends of Castle Green.

The next step was what to do with all the rubbish, Andrew Wood suggested building a barge out of used plastic bottles and to float it on the river.

Master Boatbuilders Horizon Training built the craft. Andrew then asked Kelly Steele, team leader of the Eco Club at Lord Scudamore Primary School, to run a competition with the children to name the barge. They had 200 entries with some amazing suggestions, with the winner announced as Evie James- Skyrme.

Evie was invited to join the team down at Bishops Meadow on the Sunday of the event to name and launch the barge.

The clean up started at 9.30am and reached the Victoria Bridge by around midday. Vast amounts of rubbish had been collected along the route, including a bicycle, road work signs and unfortunately large amounts of used syringes. Lunch was taken and the afternoon team soon joined and started again going downstream.

The team also tried out some magnet fishing from the Victoria Bridge. No ancient artifacts were found but a couple of pieces of old cable were pulled from the river by the children who seemed very impressed by the idea of using magnets to fish with. By the time everyone was back by 3.00pm they had collected close to a tonne of rubbish thanks to the help of around 100 volunteers who had turned up.