Couple take on coast clean-up challenge across east coast beaches, including Sunderland

Written by on 24th February 2023

A couple have taken on the challenge to clean 30 beaches on the east coast of England in 30 days, starting in Bamburgh.

Alice Eames and Jonny Leeding are supporting Surfers Against Sewage, a national Cornwall-based charity initiative, to clean one million miles of beach and waterways, with sponsorship from MOS Motorhome Hire.

Jonny Leeding said: “We thought it’d be an interesting opportunity to explore the east coast and wanted to bring the Surfers Against Sewage initiative to lots of different places.”

The pair, originally from Cambridge, started the challenge in Bamburgh beach on February 20, and will spend a couple of hours cleaning each beach before arriving at their final destination, Southwold beach in Suffolk, on March 21, 2023.

Credit: Jonny Leeding

“Anybody can turn up, you don’t need to sign up in advance,” he said.

“We provide all the equipment.”

The couple expressed their concerns about finding odd items, such as shoes and coat hangers, as well as items that endanger wildlife on the beaches.

He said: “We’ve found lots of microplastics big bits of plastic that have got smaller which are harmful to animals as they can ingest them.

“It’s really sad that humans have had this impact on the beaches. They’re supposed to be places where people go to relax and enjoy nature and lots of wildlife. 

“It’s a real shame that the plastic and rubbish are there.” 

Credit: Jonny Leeding

Nevertheless, the couple has felt “a great feeling of satisfaction” in helping reduce pollution.

“One of the things we’ve really enjoyed so far is the sense of community we’ve come across in each of the places we’ve visited, and how happy people are to get involved,” Jonny said.

“We seem to make people feel good and be positive from a mental health point of view.”

The pair will be close to home when they come to Seaham beach on February 27.  If you would like to get involved, all the information for their events can be found on their Instagram and the Surfers Against Sewage website. You can also support them on their Justgiving page dedicated to this project.

“You don’t have to stay long to make a difference,” he said.

Credit: Jonny Leeding

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