Anna’s quest has made a huge splash

Anna Hollingworth, second from right, with fellow Paddle Pickup adventurers prepare to leave from Bristol.
Anna Hollingworth, second from right, with fellow Paddle Pickup adventurers prepare to leave from Bristol.

Fitness instructor Anna Hollingworth has been involved in an epic adventure.

And her efforts have not only boosted charities, they have also helped highlight a global problem.

Paddle Pickup, which draws to a close tomorrow, is a unique kayaking expedition aiming to tackle plastic pollution.

A group of women got together to kayak coast to coast from Bristol to London via 300km of waterways.

Along the way they have been collecting plastic rubbish from the canals, carrying out research and raising awareness on the problem of plastic pollution.

Anna, an outdoors fitness instructor at Waddow Hall, heard about the expedition and decided to join in.

She said: “It was the first time that anything like this had been done by a team of women and I thought it would be good to join in.

“As well as raising awareness about the problems plastic pollution causes, I also wanted to raise some money for the Friends of Waddow Hall and for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of my friend Liz Collins who died when she was only 39.

“The whole trip was due to take 17 days and I joined in for the first week.

“We paddled for about 20km each day and the worst bits came when we got to locks on the canal and had to portage everything on to the next stretch of water.

“It was definitely an interesting experience and something I would like to do again.”

Born in Clitheroe and now living in Barnoldswick, Anna added: “I never realised how big a problem plastic can be.

“Takeaway coffee, soft drink and milk shake cups aren’t recyclable and they are not the only plastic that gets dumped every day.

“All the way along the route we collected as much plastic and other rubbish as we could and an artist has been commissioned to make an installation with it all when Paddle Pickup is finished.”

Adventurers Bex Band and Erin Bastian put the project together and were joined by women from all over the country.

Anna, who plays hockey for Clitheroe and Blackburn Northern, concluded: “They both feel passionately about ocean conservation and wanted to do something about it.

“They believe that education is key to making a difference and adventure is an ideal outlet as it connects people to nature and opens conversations. Their aim is simple; to encourage people to start reducing their single plastic usage.”

Following the expedition, the Paddle Pickup team are planning to do a roadshow to speak at schools and events, sharing the results from their research and inspiring others to make a change by talking about their adventure.