The first woman to paddle a 162-mile (261km) canoe trail from coast to coast has pledged her support to a campaign against plastic waste on waterways in England and Wales.
Joanna Moseley, 54, spent 11 days litter-picking from her board as she paddled, standing up, from Liverpool to Goole in East Yorkshire in summer 2019.
She now wants to encourage others to do the same and take part in the Canal & River Trust’s Plastics Challenge.
The waterway and wellbeing charity, which looks after 2,000 miles (3,219km) of canals and rivers in England and Wales, launched the campaign after seeing a significant rise in littering in 2020.
It is asking people to combine litter-picking with exercise and to pick up just one piece of plastic every time they visit a canal or river.
Ms Moseley, from Skipton, North Yorkshire, said: “When I started paddling on the canal and saw the plastic pollution, especially single-use plastic bottles, the obvious next step was to litter-pick from my paddle-board.
“I can’t change the world but I can change the little bit around me – and that’s what I am trying to do for our waterways and help encourage others to do the same.”
She added: “Canals and rivers are such a source of joy and beauty.
“The beauty of the birdlife, history and community of people I met along the canal were a joy and lifted my soul.”
Sean McGinley, regional director for Yorkshire and the North East at the Canal & River Trust, said: “If every person who walked, ran, cycled or paddled on their local canal or river took just one piece of plastic home with them, our waterways could be plastic-free within a year.
“We know how spending time by water helps us to relax and boost our feel-good factor. They are fantastic places to get away from life stresses and now, more than ever, we need to look after them.”
The Plastics Challenge is being supported by a number of celebrities, including Bill Bailey, Deborah Meaden, Eamonn Holmes, Saira Khan, Helen Glover, Nicola Thorp and The Wombles.
– For more information about the Canal & River Trust’s Plastics Challenge, visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/plasticschallenge