River Waveney Association buoyed by clean-up attendance
A newly-formed group which aims to conserve the River Waveney was buoyed by attendance at its first clean-up event.
About 16 people, equipped with litter pickers, Wellington boots, high-visibility vests and a boat, attended the session on Saturday, organised by the River Waveney Association.
The volunteers spent about an hour in Diss at the water behind Tesco and Morrisons, on Victoria Road, where they cleared as much litter as possible from the banks.
This included nearby residents as well as representatives from Anglian Water, Keep Britain Tidy, Diss Town Council and South Norfolk District Council,
Diss town councillor, Beth Dewhurst, said: 'People have done this sort of thing before but this is the first time we've got together ourselves as a proper group.
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'At the moment, though, we're primarily concerned with the Diss aspect of the river and are very keen to promote it as an asset to the town – it shouldn't be used as a watery dustbin.'
In the short term, the association is aiming to improve the river water between Denmark Bridge in Diss and Stuston Common.
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The long-term objective is to link up with like-minded residents in neighbouring towns to form a trust conserving the whole length of the river. Peter Knights, a landscape artist who also lives in Diss, said he had grown up near the water.
'To get a group of volunteers to come out on a wet day like this is immense and hopefully something that will continue to grow,' he said.
'The Waveney is the lifeblood of the area – it's something I feel strongly about.
'A lot of people just don't know it's here but when I was a lad it was teeming with wildlife. Now it's already forgotten.'
Harleston sailor, Geoff Doggett, who regularly uses the river, said his enjoyment of sailing was stifled by the litter.
He added: 'I canoed the river and was pretty appalled by the state of it. This group is a community idea and we want to make the most of this asset we have.'
The Diss group was launched at a meeting of up to 10 residents at Diss Corn Hall last month and hopes to hold clean-up sessions between four and six times a year.
All litter collected is put in bags and taken away by South Norfolk District Council.