Boscombe Beach GBBC 2016 Volunteers Jack Holt

Meet some of our volunteers

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

Natalie Stanton, Alcester

“I feel deeply connected to the ocean. It provides comfort and perspective, and allows me to connect back to myself and mother earth. As I’m from the Midlands and beaches are too far for me to frequent, 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 Natalie

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

Volunteer Kerrie Portobello

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

Kerrie Flockhart, Portobello

"I started wild swimming 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 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."

Karen Bates, Edinburgh

After hearing a talk by a local Sea Champion, Karen 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 and localised fishing litter. Locals are now litter picking daily, making the beach seem much less polluted than it actually is.”

Karen’s mission, along with a local wild swimming group, is to get Wardie Bay designated as a bathing water. Karen also gives talks, holds stalls, and attends many events, including in the Scottish Parliament.

Volunteer Karen Wardie Bay

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

Credit: Karen Wardie

Andy Sharp, Surrey

Andy has long had a passion for the ocean. 'I'm a diver and sea kayaker and for many years have been horrified by the amount of litter and plastic being discarded into our seas and washing up on our beaches.

I became a Sea Champion in 2015 and get involved in many beach cleans across the country. I try to support the charity as much as possible when I have time, from cleaning up litter data to attending public events, such as the Bexhill Festival of the Sea dressed as a cod!

Recently I undertook a challenge to visit 170 embassies and consulates in London - The Embassy Challenge - to deliver a message of hope and raise money for the charity in the process.'

Sea Champion Andy Sharp

Andy likes to raise awareness of the issues affecting our ocean

Credit: Maryam Sharp

Niamh Byrne, North Yorkshire

"I’ve led 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."

Volunteer Niamh Byrne beach cleaning

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