River cleaning canoeist wins volunteer award

PUBLISHED: 12:41 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:47 20 March 2019

Andy Garlick with his award. Photo: Neil Hoyle

Andy Garlick with his award. Photo: Neil Hoyle


A Bexley canoeing fan has won a major award for the work he has done in keeping river waters clear of rubbish.

The local volunteer was honoured at the annual British Canoeing Volunteer and Recognition Awards 2018.

Andy Garlick from the Meridian Canoe Club in Bexleyheath was amongst the winners honoured at the annual British Canoeing Volunteer and Recognition Awards which was held at Eastwood Hall, Nottinghamshire.

Every year British Canoeing celebrates the achievements of its community and sets out to recognise the volunteers, paddlers and clubs who make a significant difference.

Andy was awarded The Clear Access Clear Waters Award sponsored by Peak UK.

This accolade is given to those who have gone the extra mile in the name of paddlesport by making a clear positive impact on access and environment issues.

Challenged with seeking people for a clean-up event on the River Medway in 2018, Andy rose to the challenge with the majority of the work falling on his shoulders.

Over 120 paddlers participated and more than 60 bags of rubbish were collected.

Andy said: “I think it was lovely to win and have the recognition. But for me, this award is spread across all the paddlers who took part on the day, and the support people too – those who walked the banks collecting rubbish, provided refreshments and cleared the rubbish at the end of the day. Everyone is so valuable and it really is a team effort.”

Andy was also able to raise the profile of the issue of litter in rivers in general, and for the efforts of the canoeists and kayakers to clean it up.

His work behind the scenes has been used as best practice, including the risk assessment he prepared for the project, which has been used as a basis for the British Canoeing River Clean Up kit which supports paddlers and canoe clubs across the country to hold their own events.

British Canoeing said the sport as a whole would not be what it is today without the army of volunteers that give up their free time on committees or at events.

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