If you notice the river in Buckingham looking much cleaner this month, it’s because it’s been the recipient of some much needed TLC courtesy of the annual River Rinse.
Over 40 people, armed with litter pickers, gloves, black bags and buckets came out on September 10 to help comb a section of the river, stretching from the skate park to the university.
Stowe Sub Aqua, a diving group based at Stowe school, and Buckingham firefighters helped residents paddle, wade and swim through the river for two hours, collecting dumped rubbish and floating litter.
Roger Bray, of Stowe Sub Aqua, said: “This is something we’ve been doing with the community, twice a year, for 16 years.”
“It's good fun, something useful, and it's interesting to see what will be found every year.”
This year’s haul included a cigarette vending machine, a service banned in the UK in 2011, bike parts, plenty of signage and a radiator.
Although previous year’s efforts have returned horse skulls from the riverbed, this year’s must gruesome uncovering was a cow’s vertebrae - expected to be from the old abattoir.
Two children’s scooters were also salvaged and instantly recycled, donated to two boys who had joined the group after walking past.
River Rinsers have been cleaning the river since the 1990’s, with members of the council determined to keep maintenance up for years to come.
When asked how far the team will go before stopping for the day, Cllr Mike Smith joked they’d go “right through to the coast.”
Cllr Robin Stuchbury said: “It’s a great community activity, the same people come out every year and now their children are growing up and they come as well.
“Gradually and eventually the river is getting better, we’re getting less detritus out and more casual throws and fly tipping.
The next schedule River Rinse takes place on October 1, starting at Bourton Park Car Park on Bourton Road. For more information head to the Town Council website.