Two Northumbrian Water employees have volunteered to help keep thousands of thirsty festival-goers hydrated at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, supporting the ban on single-use plastics being sold at the festival and the work of charity WaterAid.

Seaham-born David Groark and Richard Johnston, who is originally from Essex but has lived in Sunderland for 36 years, both work as Project Managers for Northumbrian Water. 


Fifty-three year old Dave and Richard, who is aged 68, have already got their wellies packed and are ready to head down to Worthy Farm to meet with other volunteers from across the country. 


While others are spinning around to Kylie and dancing along to The Killers, the duo will be teaming up with other volunteers, to take on the challenge of keeping festival-goers hydrated from the moment they arrive, which takes place from Wednesday, June 26 to Sunday, June 30.


It will be a busy job for David and Richard, who will be dispensing free tap water from jetpacks following the ban of the sale of single-use plastic bottles at Glastonbury. 


The duo will also be working shifts at one of WaterAid’s 37 water kiosks, where they’ll be raising awareness about plastic pollution and talking about the millions of people who are denied access to clean water and decent toilets.


David, said: “Both Richard and I are excited to support the amazing work of WaterAid and feel privileged to be joining the brand new Water Welcomers team at Glastonbury this year. 


“It’s my third time volunteering for WaterAid and I love the fact that I am part of Glastonbury’s efforts to reduce single-use plastic, which is a commitment shared by myself and Northumbrian Water, who are backing the national Refill campaign to help reduce plastic waste across the North East.


“When I’m not volunteering and keeping topped up with water – I’ll hopefully be seeing Kate Tempest, Idles and Billy Bragg perform.” 


David and Richard will be joined by five of their co-workers, who are doing a range of volunteer roles and being supported through Northumbrian Water’s employee Just an Hour programme. The volunteer programme supports employees to give a minimum of 15 hours every year to support charitable and community causes close to their hearts. 


Richard, said: “I am a big fan of the alternative music scene, saying that I am looking forward to Kylie.


“I’m really looking forward to representing WaterAid and raising awareness about the issue of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, which should be normal for everyone, everywhere. Sadly it’s not the case, and for me it’s important to make people aware of this without spoiling the festival fun, which is going to be amazing!”


WaterAid has been a charity partner of Glastonbury since 1994, supporting the services and highlighting its work to provide clean water and sanitation to the 844 million people living without clean water and the 2.3 billion with nowhere safe to go to the toilet. 


This year, there will be a record number of more than 600 WaterAid volunteers at the renowned festival, providing water, collecting rubbish for recycling, cleaning the toilets and running the She-Pees. Come rain, shine, or mud, David and Richard will complete shifts of four to six hours a day – the same amount of time many, mostly women and girls, in the developing world spend collecting water.