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Elderly ocean activists raise awareness of plastic pollution

BySam Schofield

Nov 16, 2021

ELDERLY activists have been campaigning in their seaside town to keep the ocean clean following World Ocean Day.

Residents at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, were inspired to raise awareness following the G7 summit in Cornwall earlier this month.

Having witnessed the effects of plastic pollution during their lifetimes, the residents handmade t-shirts bearing slogans such as “Keep The Sea Plastic Free” and “Plastic Kills The Sea”, before taking to their local beach to spread their message.

Donald Ingledew, 90, was among those taking part, also wearing his t-shirt to church. He said: “This is an important message to spread as we live near the sea and we should protect the life that lives in it.

“When I was younger, the beach in Redcar and Saltburn was always clean. It is sad that today people leave rubbish and then that goes into the sea when the tide comes in.”

Fellow resident Joyce Tibbett, 86, also made the trip to the seaside to raise awareness. She said: “It is sad that Saltburn has had to create a beach clean, but if it helps to protect our sea life it is a good thing. I would like to join when able.”

Joyce Baxtrem, 90, added: “It was my idea we should make the t-shirts to wear and spread the message and everyone agreed.

“I remember Redcar beach being all sand. Now it’s a lot of stones and shells. I can remember the sand being taken away in a storm.”

Sharon Lewis, activities coordinator at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, said: “When discussing with our residents future activities that were coming up in the home they asked what World Ocean Day was all about.

“I said it is about promoting keeping the ocean clean and free from rubbish. We looked it up on the internet and saw how plastic can put our sea life in distress and that’s when Joyce came up with the idea of making t-shirts.

“The residents chose slogans to put on them, we cut letters out in felt and sewed them on. Some residents wore them out to the beach, at appointments and others wore them in the home and we sent photos to family and friends.

“Our residents hope they have spread the word on keeping our oceans clean and plastic free. They have loved making the t-shirts and getting involved in raising awareness of such an important issue.”