Our group formed with humble intentions. Desiring to put her love for the Medway into practical action, Ellen Kittredge organised several community clean-up events that proved to be highly successful. Even with limited promotion around fifty people turned up, all dedicated and on a mission to rid the River of visible pollution. They pulled out all sorts — from bicycles to industrial machinery — shocked at the magnitude of discarded waste. It was a historic moment, but also revelatory: it highlighted the extent to which the River had been neglected, forgotten and abused. It exposed the need for action.
This sparked an important and ongoing conversation. How could we stop pollution — visible and invisible — entering the River altogether? How could we protect the River, ensuring that it is a place of flourishing biodiversity for all? How could we reconnect and deepen our relationship with the River, learning to honour and care for her? As the group began to form, everyone found that they could bring their own unique talents and skills to help the River - be it practical, organisational, creative, mindfulness and care, understanding and knowledge of the sacred, technical knowledge of the law and regulations, or fundraising.
And so, Friends of the River Medway was born: a volunteer group organised around an all-encompassing triad of practical action, legal action and sacred connection.