08 May 2019

“We’re in danger of irreversibly damaging the purity of our rivers and seas.”

Plastic pollution is an issue we’re all too aware of at St Katharine Docks: we collect three bin bags of rubbish each day. So when Carolyn Newton and Carlos De Sousa from The Whale Company told us about their Paddle Board Challenge, we jumped on it straightaway.

On Friday June 8th, World’s Ocean Day, Carolyn and Carlos will start an epic voyage from Lechlade to Gravesend. That’s 300km, from the Thames’ highest sailable point all the way to the open sea.

And if that wasn’t epic enough, they’ll be travelling by Stand Up Paddle Boards made from recycled plastic bottles.

A message to government
It’s a great way to raise awareness of the problem. But The Whale Company isn’t stopping there. To coincide with the trip, they’re also running a ‘Message in a Bottle’ campaign, encouraging children to bottle their thoughts on plastic pollution – which they’ll then deliver to Parliament as they paddle by.

As Carolyn puts it: “we’re undertaking this challenge to demonstrate that paddle boarding and water sports are a brilliant way for everyone to get out on the water and reconnect with nature, whilst galvanising the support of the entire community to influence decision-makers and push this issue even further up the agenda.

“My hope is to change perspectives on waste. To inspire children to think innovatively about turning waste into a resource and, at the same time, encourage people to change their consumption behaviour.”

A Whale size problem

“Clearly, plastic pollution in our waterways has become such a threat that we’re in danger of irreversibly damaging the purity of our rivers and seas and in the process harming every species that reside in the water.”

In their efforts to stop the rot, The Whale Company has been doing some really great things to help schools and communities properly appreciate nature through sports, arts and crafts. In fact, they completed 12 paddle board marathons in 12 European countries last year, winning support along the way, and welcoming people on board for different legs of the journey.

Paddling the Docks

Excitingly, we’re hosting the closing ceremony of the trip, right here in the Docks, on June 29th – so please do come along and lend your support if you can.

Our very own Claire Daniels, will be there too – and will deserve some applause herself, as she’s set to paddle the Twickenham to Richmond leg of the challenge!


Whether you can make it or not; you can give Carolyn and Carlos a message for Parliament through their site (and adults are more than welcome to send their thoughts too).

St. Katharine Docks

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