Grimsby Canoe River Cleaner
1943. James Elliott
James Elliott, from Grimsby, is the ‘Grimsby Canoe River Cleaner’ who has been spanning the River Freshney since 2020 to provide a clean habitat for wildlife and promote the riverside green spaces for Grimsby residents to enjoy.
James started river-cleaning whilst on partial furlough, carrying out his first clean with a friend on Boxing Day in December 2020 and removing 20 bags of rubbish. He was inspired to make the project long-term, and has since received backing from local businesses and the wider community, who are helping sponsor a team of volunteers who can support him on regular pick-ups. They have now cleared hundreds of bags of rubbish, as well as lifting items such as shopping trolleys, car bonnets, bikes and traffic cones out of the river.
“I’m both thrilled and humbled to be recognised for my efforts especially this Point Of Light Award. Whilst my line of work won’t yield many awards I treat every compliment and every pat on the back like a mini Oscar.
“Knowing that what I do is having a positive impact on wildlife and the community keeps me going.
“A massive nod needs to go to my wingman Dylan Tuplin, the rest of the Freshney Comrades and the local businesses that consistently support me. It’s a joint effort.”