From a toilet cleaning brush to tins of paint, just some of the items collected as part of a huge community effort to clean up the riverbanks of the Tees.

Organised by the Tees Rivers Trust for the River Tees Rediscovered Landscape Partnership, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund thanks to money raised by National Lottery Players, the Tees Tidy Up proved to be another success with volunteers removing huge amounts of litter and abandoned objects along sections of the River Tees and its tributaries.


Around 360 volunteers from Northumbrian Water, local businesses, community groups, organisations and environmentally-conscious individuals joined forces for a second year running to support the Tees Tidy Up event to tackle the rubbish built up.


As well as Northumbrian Water employees, some of the company’s volunteer Water Rangers who monitor 56 of the region’s waterways, more prone to pollution, also mucked in to help.


Volunteer Water Ranger, Romayne Clark, from Darlington said: “It was great to be involved in the Tees Tidy Up event, giving something back to the community and supporting the clean up effort across Teesside.


“Protecting the region’s waterways and the areas around them is something really important to me. It’s the reason why I volunteer for Northumbrian Water as a Water Ranger and also for the Friends of the Cocker Beck in Darlington.


“It’s fantastic to see partnership working between Northumbrian Water, The Tees Rivers Trust, Groundwork NE & Cumbria, as well as with local community groups, businesses and individuals who care about the environment and want to do their bit to protect it.”


Some of the strangest objects collected during the clean up event were;


• Toilet cleaning brush
• Vehicle registration plate
• Electric fan
• Floral print suitcase
• Tins of paint
• Children’s toys including an air drone, sledges and a Thomas the Tank Engine rocker
• Selection of pottery and glassware
• A dog lead
• Shopping basket and various trolleys
• Range of wheels

Tees Rivers Trust manager, Ben Lamb, said: "The Tees Tidy Up has been hugely successful with approximately 600 bags of litter collected. That’s about 50m3 of trash which will not be ending up in the sea. What a cracking team effort by everyone involved.


“We are so delighted by the amount of people, groups and partners who got involved again in this year’s event and we are looking to organise another event next year.


“I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who took part, especially given the cold and wet weather conditions that we had during the event.”


The Tees Tidy Up event has helped to make a difference to the environment, wildlife, the quality of the water in the region’s waterways and reduced the amount of litter entering our rivers and seas.


Groundwork North East & Cumbria Partnership Manager for River Tees Rediscovered, Lucy Chapman, added: “The Tees Tidy up is going from strength to strength with more partners signing up every year.


“We are thankful for the impressive hard work that volunteers and partners have put in to help clean up one of the many stunning locations along the banks of the Tees, it’s a fantastic example of how HLF funded Landscape Partnerships bring people together to celebrate and preserve unique places and the impact that individuals can have through events like the Tees Tidy Up.”


Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director Richard Warneford, said: “The North East is such a beautiful region, we owe it to ourselves to keep it as pristine as we possibly can. It’s fantastic to see communities, organisations and key partners working together to clean up the riverbanks of the Tees.”