Store seeks help for Gosport beach clean

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KEEN litter pickers are being called on to enlist in a beach-cleaning army for a day.

The volunteers are needed to tackle Stokes Bay on April 22 at 10.30am, preparing the popular destination for the summer months.

And organisers at Fareham’s Marks & Spencer’s will reward those helping out.

Volunteers will receive a beach-side barbecue and a £5 M&S gift voucher to use when food shopping.

It comes as part of the chain’s national effort to clean 113 beaches and 50 canals in one week next month.

The chain hopes to clear more than 15 tonnes of litter and debris across the country.

Organisers said they usually pick up fishing nets, ropes and bottletops from beaches but had found false teeth, half a sofa and a ten-pin bowling ball in other cities.

Sacha Berendji is the director of retail at Marks & Spencer.

She said: ‘Our Big Beach Clean-up is a great way for customers and M&S colleagues to volunteer, help their local community and protect our precious marine life.

‘It’s a great fun. Outdoor activity that is rewarding in more ways than one.

‘Beach cleaners are helping the environment, their community and those that register in advance get a £5 money-off voucher.’

More than 2,000 volunteers and 4,000 of the store’s staff were involved in 2012.

It is part of the Forever Fish campaign, raising money to support the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) through shopping bag sales.

The chain is also being supported by the Canal and River Trust.

The MCS says that there are two pieces of rubbish for every metre along the coastline nationally, with most of it being plastic.

It warns plastic has a detrimental effect on marine life, with pieces of the material found in the digestive systems of fish.

Graham Smith is from Lee-on-the-Solent Litteraction and Marine Conservation Society.

He said: ‘It’s really good to start seeing groups of young people doing it en masse like that.

‘It starts to make a difference.

‘The message is take your rubbish home off the beach.

‘It’s not even really good to leave it by the bins as it gets strewn all over the place.

‘It’s harming marine wildlife in the sea.’

To register in advance, visit mcsuk.org/foreverfish.