By Orlando Bell
A member of the Durham community has organised a clean-up of the River Wear in order to ensure the continued health and smooth flow of the river.
The clean-up will occur between Prebends Bridge, located next to St. Cuthbert’s, and Penny Ferry Bridge, down by the Radisson Blu Hotel. This from-the-water litter
pick is scheduled to take place on the 17th of November, in time to clean the river before Durham hosts the famous Lumiere Festival, which begins on November 18th.
The organiser is also hoping to run on-the-morning clean-ups during the festival. The initiative has the full support of the Durham City Parish Council, the Durham Cathedral Security, Durham Regatta, and Durham Schools Rowing Club. Fourhundred Durham residents have also offered their volunteer support to the initiative as well as the Radisson and Marriott Hotels offering refreshments for the volunteers.
The initiative is still seeking further volunteer support to be in the boats to collect and collate the litter recovered. Maintaining the proper order and cleanliness of the river is vital to many of the activities that take place on the river. Specifically, the organisers are pleased to have the support and active assistance of the Durham Amateur Rowing Club (DARC) as if the weirs fail due to neglect and floating debris accumulating, rowing, and other activities, would not be safe to go ahead.
The organisation are also advocating for more lifebuoys on the popular walking stretches of the river that are so popular with students. Concerns regarding student safety and the river have been raised many times before. In 2014-15 three University students tragically died in the River Wear across an eighteen
month period. A 57-year old man also died in the river in August 2018.
Cold-water temperatures, currents, and the river’s proximity to many of Durham’s nightlife venues poses a particular danger.
Image: James Tillotson