Sea Champion Anna Keirle, from Ross-on-Wye, tells us about her experiences volunteering at the 20th annual Beachwatch Big Weekend, at MCS's flagship beach - Sand Bay:
"Early Sunday morning we set off from Ross-on-Wye on an MCS road trip down to Sand Bay just outside Weston-super-mare for the Beachwatch Big Weekend!
The gazebos were set up and everything was ready for the day. Sam, MCS's Chief Executive, told the gathered crowd how important the clean was and exactly what to look for. Everyone was raring to go gloves and litter pickers at the ready.
It was another grey Sunday morning, but as the day warmed up the mist rolled back with the tide and the gathered group of volunteers and MCS staff scattered along the strandline collecting rubbish.
We weighed in what we had collected and there was a great pile of bin bags full of litter removed from the beach, very satisfying. I was shocked by the amount of cotton buds we found tangled in with the seaweed and sand, along with typical disposable items like Polystyrene cups and packing chips. There were also some more surprising finds like shotgun cartridges, and some toy soldiers!
The plant walk was fascinating. We looked at grasses and plants from different habitats of the beach and salt marshes of Sand Bay. The enthusiastic talk drew in some passers by and the group was all the merrier tramping through the dunes identifying, amongst others, Sea Buckthorn and Marram Grass.
Another clean took in the other side of the beach, more rubbish collected, more fishing lines and bottle caps. There were kites to make from carrier bags and turtles from egg boxes, and some of the children (and adults) had their faces painted with lovely marine themes. So lovely, that I forgot about the turtle on my cheek and got odd looks at the petrol station on the way home. Jealousy I suspect.
Another excellent and productive day spent with MCS."
Image: Anna Keirle