YOUNGSTERS led the way in keeping ‘the jewel of Gosport’ gleaming.
More than 100 people gathered at Stokes Bay on Saturday morning armed with litter pickers and rubbish bags to help clean the beach.
Organisers Kevin and Hazel Casy from Friends of Stokes Bay were ‘blown away’ by how many families turned out.
Kevin said: ‘When you run things like this for the community to get involved in, it is very easy to get the elderly and retired helping but for children and young adults and parents with busy lives it can be difficult so to have so many young people here is really great.’
The pair have been helping to run the four annual beach cleans for the past few years and have noticed a drop in the amount of rubbish.
Hazel said: ‘Over the past few years we have definitely seen a drop in the levels of rubbish and I think that is because more people are aware of it but we have found some odd things like shoes and tyres and unfortunately come across needles as well.’
The local Brownie group joined children from schools in the area including Gomer Junior School whose sea school teacher Sharon Toon came along with a few of her pupils.
Sharon said: ‘At Gomer Junior the beach is a part of our curriculum and the children are learning about the problems with plastics and it is important for us to educate them about their surroundings so it will stay like this for future generations.’
One of Sharon’s pupils Katie Cummings talked about the importance of keeping the beach clean.
The 11-year-old said: ‘I love coming to the beach and so I like to keep it clean.
‘My sister said she was coming to this beach clean and I thought it would be a good thing to do as well.’
Gosport Borough Councillor Philip Raffaelli also joined the group to tidy up the beach front.
Cllr Raffaelli said: ‘It truly is the jewel of Gosport and it is great that so many young people have come out to help keep it clean.’