Lake District boss leads by example ahead of world's biggest ever 'debris dive' at Windermere (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Lake District boss leads by example ahead of world's biggest ever 'debris dive' at Windermere
THE chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority is set to descend to new depths as part of a mass clean-up of the bed of Windermere.
Richard Leafe, who has never dived before, will be joining as many as 500 other volunteers for the biggest ever freshwater ‘debris dive’, organised by eco-activist and TV presenter, Paul Rose.
It is hoped that ten tonnes of litter will be dredged during the 11-hour event, on Saturday.
Mr Leafe said: “This is all being done for a great environmental cause, so it’s worth a little amount of nervousness.
“Keeping this lake clean is a real top priority. Windermere is such a special location.
“I know I’m in great hands and all the safety angles will be covered, but I have to admit I am out of my comfort zone on this occasion!”
Divers have signed up from all over the country and will be operating from the area between the Royal Windermere Yacht Club and Ferry Nab launch jetty, on the eastern shores of the lake.
It is thought decades of rubbish, which has blown, fallen and been dropped into the lake, will be pulled up.
The litter will then be handed over to local schools for students to turn into sculptures and artwork which will be auctioned off to raise money for Friends of the Lake District’s conservation work.
But more shore-based volunteers are still needed to help collect and bag up the rubbish, according to Scrapheap Challenge presenter and organiser, Mr Rose.
He said: “We have about 200 shore-based volunteers and need as many as we can get. It would be ideal to get about 400.”
He continued: “Anyone is welcome for a few minutes or a few hours, to find out a bit more, help out and have a cup of tea.
“I’d particularly urge families to come because it will be interesting.
“From the youngsters’ point of views, they will be seeing things coming out of the lake which will be interesting and will also engage them in a worthwhile activity.”
He explained that he carried out a small-scale dive at Ambleside last year which produced around a tonne of litter.
He added: “Twelve divers went out in November and we got one big van-load of rubbish, probably about a tonnne or so.
“Now I’m expecting from this that we’ll get at least between five and 10 tonnes, although it may well be even more than that.
“I don’t think a lot of people realise how much is down there!”
The volunteers will take to the lake between 10am and 9pm, on Saturday, so that they can continue dredging after ferries have stopped running.
The rubbish that is pulled will be stored by Lakeland company, Impact International, before being passed onto the schools.
To sign up, or for more information, contact Michelle Parker at Impact International by emailing email@example.com.