Olympic star joins fight to save British rivers

Double Olympic gold medal-winning rower James Cracknell has joined Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon in urging the public to show support for the 'Love Your River' campaign.

The campaign encourages people to value their local river and shows the relationship between the water in rivers and the water used in households. 

Cracknell, the new Love Your River campaign adviser, and Benyon joined local school children in an activity called ‘kick-sampling’ in the River Chess today- an activity used to monitor a river’s environmental health.

Working in support of the ‘Love Your River’ campaign, Thames Water and the River Chess Association demonstrated to Cracknell and Benyon how water companies and local community groups are working together to improve the water quality on the River Chess.

Benyon said: “I am delighted that James Cracknell has come on board as the ‘Love Your River’ Campaign Adviser. James has a great passion for rivers and is the perfect person to explain the many benefits that rivers bring to our everyday lives. We rely on rivers for much of the water we use, so it is in all our interest that we protect and cherish them.

“The fact that so many organisations and individuals have come together to back this campaign shows the importance we all place on making sure our actions don’t damage our rivers.”

Launched by Benyon at the River Itchen in Hampshire in March 2012, the ‘Love Your River’ campaign is a partnership between the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the National Trust, the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trusts and Keep Britain Tidy.

Several water companies have also joined up such as Thames Water which recycles its customers’ treated wastewater back to the River Chess.

Richard Aylard, sustainability director for Thames Water, said: “While we may see our local river every day as we go to work or drop the children off at school, it is easy to overlook the simple fact that water from that river is what comes out of our taps and showers.

“Every drop we use is a drop less in the river. ‘Love Your River’ seeks to remind us that using water wisely – whatever the weather – can help protect our glorious rivers.”

Conor McGlone

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