WHEN members from a South Lakeland Women’s Institute (WI) set out to do a litter pick the last thing they expected to come across was a shipwreck.

Six ladies from Rydal WI said they knew they were in for the long haul when they decided to clean up the area as part of The Big Clean campaign but it turned out to be more like a “big heave” to remove the unsightly wreckage of an old boat which was littering the scenic River Rothay.

Their boating adventure all started when they asked the Lakes Parish Council Handyman Robin Lees to suggest an area that needed litter picking.

Undeterred the ladies contacted Ambleside and Ambleside Kirkstone Rotary clubs for help, who then enlisted four of their members to come and help.

The Big Clean campaign, run in collaboration with The Mail, aims to encourage our local communities to take pride in the areas where they live.

Lakes Parish Council handyman Robin Lees, who suggested to the ladies to do their litter pick by the river, said the boat had been “jammed in a tree on the bank” by the Bronwen Nixon bridge, which had been swept down from Grasmere during Storm Desmond in 2015.

“It took all our efforts, together with the help of a lady passing by with her dogs,” said Mr Lees.

“I managed to borrow a trolley from Galava Gate which was really useful when transporting it across the fields to the road.

“We also retrieved a huge acetylene cylinder from the river.”

The WI members continued with their litter pick with worthwhile results.

They said it was altogether a “great community effort”.

The Gazette’s Big Clean appeal is sponsored by Kimberley Clark and Spirit Energy, and it calls upon schools, community groups, resident associations, businesses and individuals to do what they can to clear up any litter-strewn patches of land in south Cumbria, Eden and north lancashire.

This might be a park that is starting to look a little messy or it might just be checking pavements picking up items that have been carelessly discarded.

To get involved and organise your own litter pick email celia.powell@newsquest.co.uk