ANT & PADDLEBOARDERS PUSH THE BOAT OUT
Paddleboarders are (not literally) pushing the boat out to help to keep the Avon riverbanks litter free and tidy.
As soon as the last lockdown allowed, Bonkers’ Kim Bonk, in partnership with the Trust, organised a big clean up of the Pershore reach.
In May, a flotilla will launch a clear-up of Evesham’s award-winning Abbey Park.
“Paddleboards are the perfect platform for litter picking. You can ram them right into the bushes and get to the litter you can’t reach from the bank or from bigger boats,” explains Kim.
The vanguard of volunteers are a mix of Bonkers’ customers and members of the Trust’s youth squad, whose duties include keeping the Avon tidy.
ANT Squad founder members include Thomas Welland and Kai Mellor, both 18. They have already enjoyed British Canoe Rescue Training, a First Aid Course and Paddlesport Instructor schooling.
“They are a real asset to the Squad and passionate about the river,” says Trust Chief Executive Clive Matthews, who launched the youth group.
“The aim was to get the younger generation interested in the future of the river, and Thomas and Kai lead by example.”
An even younger chap enthusiastically joined in on board ANT’s River Rescue boat during the Pershore litter pick.
Six-year-old Arty Barkley, Bonkers’ mini mascot, is an avid paddleboarder alongside mum Hannah.
“He already has a good understanding of how important it is that we help to keep our waters clean,” Hannah reports.
“He is always spotting plastics on the river and so was over the moon to be able to ride on a boat and to be able help.”
The Trust invites clubs to adopt sections of the river https://www.avonnavigationtrust.org/environment/.
Bonkers has also notched up a first by adopting the Pershore reach as part of local authority Wychavon’s Adopt a Street anti litter campaign
Bonkers is part of the national campaign https://planetpatrol.co/ and monitors and records all the litter collected to help with the long term strategies and prevention.
Let me at that litter. Six-year-old Artey Barkley helped his mum Hannah on the big April Bonkers Paddleboard Club and ANT Squad spring clean in Pershore.