Hi I'm Theo Mills, and I was student-leader along with Kathy Stanley-Quist of the 2015 Thames River Clean, as part of the Sports Volunteering Steam. We were supported by Volunteering Projects Design and Development Coordinator, Sarah Dutton.
I started scuba diving back in September of 2013 and have fallen in love with the sport. The club brings together an amazing group of people and one of our biggest events in the calendar year is the Kingston Thames River Clean.
Originally thought up and masterminded by fellow diver and Kingston alumni Chris Elliot, 2015 was the 4th consecutive year that the river clean had been held. Having sadly missed last year’s river lean this was my first year attending and also helping to organising the event with other members of KUSAC and the Students' Union (SU).
I joined the committee just before Christmas of 2014 and was amazed by the amount of work that actually goes into making this event possible. Just for a one day event there is so much work behind the scenes that goes into making it possible. This involved applying for grants, contacting people to attend the event and general organisation of location and equipment. After careful consideration on much deliberation we settled on the 30th of May as the date for the clean. In order to secure the date, The Environment Agency gave us the go ahead, closed off one of the arches of Kingston Bridge, provided us with a river barge for rubbish, and informed all river users of the activity. We also had to organise insurance, recruitment of volunteers from all over the community, timetables, lunches, health and safety briefings, risk assessments and much more. It was exhausting but amazing to see so many get on board including, KUSAC, KUBAG, KU Kayakers, KU Mountaineers, Kingston Council, Environment Agency, Metropolitan Police, RNLI, Thames 21, Aquanauts and Capital Clean Up.
The hard work paid off and the river clean was an amazing success. In total we pulled out over 460 items from just a small stretch of the river. This included 31 trollies and 7 different push bikes. All the volunteers did an amazing job on the day, and made it and exciting and enjoyable day for the public and everyone involved.
Next year I will be heading up the committee, and I look forward to helping keep this wonderful project going. It is clear we are helping to improve the environment around Kingston and this is an event that bring a number of different people together for a good cause.