Volunteers are being sought to go punting on the river Wensum – in the battle to keep it clean.

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The Norwich Punting Company is holding its first rubbish collection on Monday, with one of its boats being used to tour a 3.5km-stretch of the waterway.

The business, which is being helped by Thorpe Hamlet city councillor Ben Price, has two sessions planned on Monday from 9am and 11am, starting at Friars Quay.

James Murray, owner of the Norwich Punting Company, said: “It’s something we have done before. We do it in Canterbury twice a year and the first time we did it we took eight van loads of rubbish out of the river and it would be great to do that here.

“It doesn’t just make it nicer for our customers. We are just one of those who use the river. There are people that use kayaks, canoes and it makes it better for everyone.

“My belief is given the right amount of promotion, Norwich could become a real destination centre. It has all the aspects of Cambridge and Canterbury – it has a fantastic centre. It’s been built and now we need people to come along.”

Mr Murray said there had been an encouraging reaction to punting on the river, since chauffeured tours started in July.

He said: “It’s taken off quite well. We have been busier here than Canterbury in 2009, and that’s grown to five boats and we take 25,000 people around. I’ve a strong feeling we can develop in a similar manner here.”

Green Party member Mr Price said he is keen for the river to be used more, due to its historic importance to Norwich and because it adds to the “general ambiance of the city”.

Mr Price said: “With rubbish and litter, it’s possible people think when it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

“What we are also trying to highlight is by tidying the river, we are helping people realise how important it is to respect the waterways.”

To get involved in Monday’s clean-up, call Ben Price on 01603 621709 or email b.price@cllr.norwich.gov.uk

How do you think the river could be used? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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