I always knew I loved my walk along the river, the peace it brought me even on a cold winter’s day. Seeing couples cuddle up with a picnic, children play pooh-sticks by the bridge, laughter of cyclist as they rode by, fishermen sitting quietly waiting for the next catch.
But I never knew that beneath the surface these beautiful rivers were in trouble. I have been taking them for granted and it was not until I started working for WWF, looking after our Coca-Cola partnership, I realised the importance of this work……I suddenly felt like an Amazonian woman in need to protect her river. Do I want the rivers to continue to make me feel at peace, at one with nature and carry on appreciating their beauty? Yes I do, but work needs to be done and this is just the start.
WWF, Coca-Cola GB and Coca-Cola Enterprises have been working on two chalk stream catchments directly linked to Coca-Cola’s operations in Great Britain. We are working with local communities in Norfolk, on the River Nar – the source of some of the sugar beet used in Coca-Cola’s drinks made in Great Britain – and in South London, near to Coca-Cola Enterprises’ manufacturing site on the River Cray.
In these two catchments we are working to restore river habitats and promote sustainable water management in order to improve the health of these rivers, and support the achievement of good ecological standards.
During this time we have done a lot of work on the Cray. Most recently this included a day of restoration with Coca-Cola Enterprises staff, by their factory in Sidcup, just before Christmas. Take a look at our quick fun video to see us braving the cold, pulling up our waders and getting stuck into river restoration.
It was great to see the habitat improvement in progress and the team did some cracking work. A huge thank you to the staff at Coca-Cola who volunteered on the day and to the North West Kent Countryside Partnership, our local partner that is leading this vital field work to protect the Cray.
We hope to see some of the Coca-Cola employees running the Brighton Marathon. Are you up for the challenge too? The ballot for this event has now closed and the only way to take part is via a charity like us. The race is fast becoming the one to do if you don’t get in to the London Marathon.
Inspired to run a marathon or get involved with your local countryside partnership? Send us your comments.