A very Happy New Year to everyone! As the new year starts, this is a look back on 2017, which has been an amazing year for the Friends of Weston Shore.
Our first event of the year was a spring clean and litter pick on the shore with friends from Surfers Against Sewage. They were an enthusiastic bunch and we quickly cleared up a lot of rubbish. It was a sunny day and cleaning up the beach after the winter months was enjoyable fun.
During April 2017, the Friends of Weston Shore were honoured to be the recipients of the Southampton City Care for the Environment Award at the St George’s Day Community Awards held at Solent University. To receive such kind recognition was a wonderful surprise for the group and the award was presented to the group by well known Southampton celebrity Lawrie McMenemy MBE and the Worshipful the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Catherine McEwing.
We held our own spring clean litter pick on the shore in May and were joined by Bruce Larner, a volunteer who has helped several groups in the Southampton area.
We are regularly contacted by companies and organisations who want to help with our aim of making sure Weston Shore is as clean as possible and in June, new friends from the Royal Bank of Scotland did a great job of picking up lots of litter. They were an energetic group and we are grateful for all their hard work.
In August, we were delighted to help with a special event on the shore, the Sea Life Discovery Day organised by Owain Masters from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Capturing Our Coast also participated in the full day event, looking at the plants and animals to be found on the shore. It was a wonderful day, helped with some lovely summer sunshine in the afternoon and thoroughly enjoyable. We have a short vlog about the day, which you can watch here:
In September, we joined forces with the Marine Conservation Society as part of their Great British Beach Clean. This is a regular event run by the society with the help of volunteers, in which they carry out a survey of the litter to be found on the shore. We were again, as we often are, helped by a day of sunshine and it was great to see so many people getting involved. The survey is important in understanding what, exactly, ends up on our shores and has helped highlight the dangers of plastic debris.
The next event, in what was a very busy year for us, was another beach clean up on the shore – the biggest one ever! This was part of the Autumn Beach Clean campaign from Surfers Against Sewage. Volunteers from Southampton Greenpeace, Solent Students’ Union and the Marine Conservation Society from the University of Southampton also took part. In total, we estimate around seventy people were involved and a huge amount of rubbish was cleared up. Special thanks to Mairin Williams from Surfers Against Sewage for all her hard work in organising the event.
Last year, 2017, has been a very busy one for the group and special thanks to all our volunteers for the invaluable work they do. Being a volunteer is not only satisfying, its also great fun. As well as our core aim of trying to keep the shore as clean as possible, we are also learning more about the precious wildlife on the shore.
We hope more that more people can join us as we look forward to 2018! We are hoping for another action packed year and continuing to learn more about the shore and the wildlife that lives there. If you would like to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.