RYEDALE Lions have taken to the water in Operation Clean-up in Pickering Beck.

More than a dozen volunteers helped remove choking weeds, debris and rubbish from the stretch of the water between Beck Isle Museum and the Ropery car park, filling many bulk waste bins and bags.

The Lions initiative was in support of Richard Askew, who lives in the town.

For three years the welder has dedicated hundreds of hours of his spare time to working along the riverbank single-handed, or sometimes with his 11-year-old daughter Jade, to remove dumped waste and clear up the water course.

Lions president Frank Hayward said: “The work that Richard puts in voluntarily to keep the beck tidy is incredible.

“When we heard about how he could do with some help before the winter sets in we were happy to lend a hand.”

Richard said he was delighted with the assistance offered by the Lions and also individual extra volunteers from the Co-op and Willowgate Bistro.

“What a really productive day,” he said.

“We shifted masses of weed and rubbish blocking the beck. The Lions were absolutely amazing and many local residents and visitors said well done.”

Shops, including the Co-op, Russell’s Cafe, Cooplands Bakery, No 4 Bar and Jewsons, showed their support with staff help and donations of hot drinks, cakes, hot food and tools for the volunteers.

Local people also showed their appreciation by donating to a riverside street collection for the SASH charity.