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PM honours marine litter hero

We are delighted that the Prime Minister has honoured Rob Thompson - volunteer diver, marine litter hero, BeachCare group founder - with the Points of Light award for his voluntary work promoting marine conservation. 

Rob is the founder of Fathoms Free - a Cornish group of volunteer divers who, along with our BeachCare officer Neil, remove plastic debris from the sea to be recycled into sea kayaks.

Since 2014, Fathoms Free have retrieved and catalogued tens of thousands of pieces of marine plastic from underwater. Frustrated by the prospect of this plastic ending up in landfill, Rob and our BeachCare project, set up a beach plastic recycling scheme to recycle this plastic and together we have recycled over 20 tonnes already.

Rob came up with an idea to use the recycled plastic to make kayaks and runs a ‘Paddle for Plastic’ campaign which collects ocean plastic from otherwise inaccessible coves and rivers and recycles the materials back into sea kayaks.

In a personal letter to Rob, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“You have shown remarkable ingenuity in developing a model which will not only collect discarded plastic from the sea, but recycle it so it can be used to collect more debris. Your pioneering work is preserving our seas for future generations.”

 

On winning the award, Rob said: 

"I’m protecting part of the coastline that I love and I’m very lucky to live nearby. For me I’m just doing what comes naturally and the marine plastic issue is something that anybody can engage in, it’s a very simple subject for anyone to get involved with and do their bit.

 

“It started four years ago with a group of divers doing an underwater clean-up of a cove in Cornwall. We found thousands of pieces of marine plastics. Some people wanted to carry on working, so we ended up setting up a community group to do this. From that we’ve gone on to do beach cleans and awareness events, but also looking at recycling those marine plastics into products. I’ve recently set up ‘Odyssey Innovation’ where I’ll be making several sit-on-top kayaks out of the plastics we gather, which then will be used for cleaning up the oceans.”

 

The Points of Light award recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. To coincide with World Oceans Day, the Prime Minister is recognising outstanding volunteers whose work is making a real difference to ocean conservation efforts.

Congratulations to Rob for winning this award today and for being one of our inspiring #LitterHeroes every day.

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