Did you know that there are nearly 900 Coast Care and Litter Champions across Wales?

This army of unsung heroes all have one thing in common – they’re passionate about looking after their communities.

Vicky Pearson, 48, became a Coast Care Champion in April 2016 after moving to Pembrokeshire from Lincolnshire. She has adopted secluded Druidston Haven as her patch and dedicates time every week to clear the litter washed up or dropped on the beach. In November 2017, Vicky was crowned Volunteer of the Year at our Tidy Wales Awards.

I’ve always had an interest in conservation work and spent many happy childhood holidays visiting Druidston. I love this beach, so when I was moving to the area – and after speaking to Keep Wales Tidy staff – I knew I wanted to become a Coast Care Champion.

In just over two years, I’ve spent nearly 195 hours clearing nearly 250 bags of litter.

The amount of litter I collect depends on the weather and tides. I mainly find discarded fishing gear, such as ropes and nets, although I do see more crisp packets and sweet wrappers during the school holidays. I’ve also collected thousands of shot-cartridges, which are apparently a result of clay-pigeon shooting on cruise-ships!

Like all our Coast Care and Litter Champions, Vicky records all her activities and works closely with her local Keep Wales Tidy Project Officer. Mari Williams, based in Pembrokeshire, provides Vicky with advice and support.

Mari is always on hand if I need help. We also join forces twice a year to arrange bigger, community clean-ups, normally targeting school holidays.

Vicky has seen first-hand the harm that can be done to wildlife which gets entangled or ingests marine litter and admits that the amount of debris she finds on the beach can sometimes seem overwhelming. But it’s her love for Druidston and the local area that keeps her going.

‘A drop in the ocean’ may be a cliché, but it is reassuring to know that each piece of litter I collect is one less item floating around our oceans, and one less hazard to wildlife, swimmers and beach visitors.

People have always been interested in what I’m doing and have even been inspired to get involved themselves. But thanks to Blue Planet and all the publicity around plastics, there definitely seems to be more awareness.

More than 70 people came along to a recent community clean-up Mari and I organised in Broad Haven. Volunteers just kept on coming– we were worried we’d run out of bags!

Contact your local Project Officer to find out how you can become a Coast Care or Litter Champion

Help us support volunteers like Vicky

And don’t forget, small actions can make a big difference. So next time you’re visiting the coast or out in your local community, why not carry out your own #2minutebeachclean or #2minutestreetclean?

Rhoi sylw i’n gwirfoddolwyr