Boscombe Beach GBBC 2016 Volunteers Jack Holt

Meet some of our volunteers

Meet some of our incredible volunteers who are part of our nation-wide network working together for a cleaner, better protected ocean.

Rachael Ross, Mid Sussex

“I’ve been a volunteer Sea Champion for three years and I love the variety of activities I can get involved with. I’ve helped at lots of Great British Beach Clean events including at Brighton, Hove and Littlehampton.

I help clean up my local beaches at Lancing and Littlehampton throughout the year, and that’s so important in an area where visitors are key to the coastal economy. I’ve also been involved in some corporate team beach cleans. I’ve been trained to go into schools and do educational sessions.

Volunteer Rachael Ross

Sea Champion Rachael Ross has enjoyed re-connecting with the ocean

Being a Sea Champion has helped me to re-connect with the ocean and opened my eyes to so many challenges there are to our marine habitats and all that benefit from them, including us. It gives me great pride and has given me the opportunity to introduce my eight-year-old daughter to the positive work being done.”

Natalie Stanton, Alcester

“I’ve always had a passion for the ocean. As I’m from the Midlands and beaches are too far for me to frequent, I thought my time could be best spent helping in the Head Office in landlocked Herefordshire.

I feel deeply connected to the ocean. It provides comfort and perspective, and allows me to connect back to myself and mother earth. I remember writing a letter to my MP at around eight years old about why we should stop whaling around the world.

Volunteer Natalie

Natalie loves helping such a worthwhile charity that she feels passionately about

In the office, I’ve mainly helped provide feedback for volunteer handbooks and transferred beach clean data to the online system. I love being able to help such a worthwhile charity and one that I feel deeply passionate about. All the staff are wonderful and have made me feel very welcome.”

Volunteer Kerrie Portobello

Kerrie became a Sea Champion to help protect our wonderful oceans and coastlines

Kerrie Flockhart, Portobello

"I started wild swimming two and half years ago, after meeting another swimmer at a beach clean organised by our children and the Marine Conservation Society.

I often do a quick litter pick before my swims and always litter pick the same stretch of beach, so it's easy to notice any changes in the litter - particularly after bad weather and an increase in seaside visitors.

I recently walked 110 miles over 10 days, around the Forth coastline from Dunbar to Fife-Ness, litter picking, camping and swimming along the way.

Through 'Walk Forth', I discovered just how amazing and diverse the habitat and wildlife is. Unfortunately, I also learnt that litter is a major issue on nearly all the beaches I visited.

After my walk I became a Sea Champion and hope to continue learning about ways in which we can all help protect our wonderful oceans and coastlines.”

Karen Bates, Edinburgh

After moving to Wardie Bay and hearing a talk by a local Sea Champion, she immediately signed up and Wardie Bay Beachwatch was born.

Karen says, marine litter comes to Wardie Bay relentlessly on every tide: “Higher than average sewage related debris, high numbers of nurdles due to industrial production along the Forth, plus microfibres and localised fishing litter. Locals are now litter picking daily, making the beach seem much less polluted than it actually is.”

Karen’s new mission, along with a local wild swimming group, is to get Wardie Bay designated as a bathing water.

Volunteer Karen Wardie Bay

Karen believes that Sea Champions are helping to protect the Firth of Forth

Credit: Karen Wardie

“We’ve made a film, there’s a song, and a Book of Swims by a local illustrator. We also hope for the issue to be brought as a motion in parliament this November."

Karen also gives talks, holds stalls, and attends many events, including in the Scottish Parliament: “I feel that Sea Champions are starting to form a chain around the Firth of Forth. The potential is tantalising as so many hands make light work of protecting it.” 

Volunteer Niamh Byrne beach cleaning

Niamh Byrne, North Yorkshire

I’ve led and assisted beach cleans and surveys along the Yorkshire Coast, collecting the all-important marine litter data. I’ve contributed towards various other vital citizen science projects, such as the Big Seaweed Survey and The Great Nurdle Hunt.

I’m also an education volunteer, delivering curriculum-linked ocean literacy lessons in schools, which is a great part of the marine legacy that the Marine Conservation Society invests in so passionately.

My Sea Champion work goes hand in hand with volunteering at British Divers Marine Life Rescue and I attend seal rescues across Yorkshire, seeing some sad entanglement cases, which emphasises the importance of the work done to mitigate these threats.”

Microplastic waste on beach in Cornwall Richard Harrington

Credit: Richard Harrington

As well as our main social media feeds, we also have local volunteer groups. Do follow to find out about the latest activities near you.

Scotland: Facebook Sea Champions Scotland

North East: Facebook Sea Champions North East

South West: Facebook Sea Champions South West

South and South East: Facebook Sea Champions South and South East

North Wales: Facebook Sea Champions North Wales

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