Keep Lancing Lovely – Ten Years Cleaning Sussex Beaches. Down here on the coast, we’re lucky to have organisations like Keep Lancing Lovely: a tireless network of volunteers who clear the beaches of all sorts of mess and rubbish, enjoying themselves and keeping fit while they do it, as we found on the sunny Tuesday morning we spent with Wendy Peters, Graham, Rosina and Angela, the KLL team who were combing the shingles of Lancing beach for wood, glass, cigarette butts, vapes and  plastic litter of all sizes.

“By litter picking, we’re helping to protect the wildlife, helping to keep the coastline clean and safe and helping the environment by preventing litter from polluting the sea”, says Wendy.  “We love it.  Walking outside with nature, breathing fresh air, keeping moving: it satisfies, it’s rewarding and helps your well-being. And at the end of the day, you’re doing your bit.”

Keep Lancing Lovely was set up by Andy Brook in 2014 to protect the local environment.   They not only pick litter from beaches, parks, and open spaces, but also make flower beds at Lancing Station, and generally promote sustainability.  “We’re ten years old next year,” explains Wendy, who joined almost at the beginning, “so we’re hoping to have a big celebration.” 

Small groups of volunteers can be found working the beach most weeks. But the big event is on the fourth Sunday of every month when, whatever the weather, up to 50 volunteers, equipped with pickers and bags, cross the beach from Brooklands to the Sailing Club to remove every piece of man-made litter they can find.  Some is dangerous to wildlife: one of the saddest days was the discovery of two gull chicks trapped in discarded lines and drowned.  Some of the rubbish is dangerous to children: glass or disposable barbecues are real hazards. Some of it is downright odd, such as false teeth and even a fly-tipped hot tub!

The rubbish is disposed of safely and legally making the beach better for families, flora and fauna. 

After a busy morning cleaning, there’s always a sociable meet-up for a drink or hot cuppa provided by supportive local businesses such as the Beach Green Hotel.

Above all, Keep Lancing Lovely is a community group. They value their links with organisations such as the local Parish Council, Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society.  There’s a busy programme of education, reaching out to schools and youth groups. Another important initiative has been the successful Corporate Awayday scheme which links with businesses as far up-county as Crawley.

So, you keep fit, you do your bit, and you might even have a bit of fun. What’s not to like?  New volunteers are always welcome, so why not contact Keep Lancing Lovely and let’s keep Lancing lovely with a day out at the seaside – with purpose? After all, it’s your coast too.

Keeping    f @KeepLancingLovely

By Keir Hartley