Lara Paxton : UK Beach Clean-up, 30 beaches in 14 days Fancy travelling around the UK and embracing a new adventure this summer? How about driving 5,000km around England, Scotland, and Wales going on a one-woman mission to clean up Britain’s beaches? Well, Lara Paxton, Group Tour Manager at Steppes Travel started on World Oceans Day, 8th June 2021, and did just that. Tackling 30 beaches in 14 days. Lara walked over 100km of beaches, collected 23 black bin liners of rubbish & raised a total of £1,449 for Ocean Generation! We want to celebrate and say THANK YOU LARA for your incredible commitment and effort towards our mission - to restore a healthy balance between humanity and the Ocean. "I walked over 100km of beaches & collected 23 black bin liners of rubbish, which might not sound a lot, but 90% of the rubbish I collected was microplastics." Why did you choose to support Ocean Generation? Conservation’s charities, such as Ocean Generation have also had a tough year, with donations down and no governmental support, I wanted to take this opportunity to raise awareness and support the amazing work they do. Why do you think the vision is important? I have always loved the ocean, and especially marine wildlife. Ocean Generation not only educate people, but they do it in a way that is easy to understand and easy to make simple cost-effective changes that can actually make a difference. From its ‘picnic without plastic campaign’ to its various educational resources. They are encouraging a conversation that is so vital to our future generations. What is your connection to the Ocean? Having travelled with Jo Ruxton, the Founder of Ocean Generation, on a trip in the Arctic a couple of years ago, she really needs an incredible amount of credit for getting the conversation started regarding single-use plastics. What did you enjoy most about your challenge/activity? Meeting people along the way and talking about not only what I was doing, but the work of Ocean Generation. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool. So getting out and about and chatting to people felt really good, especially after so much time at home recently! What's your proudest moment/greatest achievement from your activity? I have a couple…. Firstly, being featured on not one, but three Radio stations, including a shout out by Sara Cox on BBC Radio 2! It was my first experience of being interviewed on the radio, and whilst my first was a little ropey, I managed to get the hang of it in the end! Secondly, my niece (11) and nephew (7) joined me at a couple of the beaches, and it was so amazing to not only have their support but to educate them on why I was doing this challenge and afterwards, my niece put together a presentation, which she gave to her Y6 school class. Thirdly, a friend is a secondary school teacher, and arranged a live teams call with her class about my challenge. They sent in questions, which I answered, and it was so good getting younger generations involved. Lastly, anyone that knows me, knows I am not the type to praise myself, however, creating, doing daily video blogs and completing the challenge was an extremely proud moment for me. I was by myself for most of the journey and came up with the idea myself and did all my own marketing on social media along the way. So, as I reached home on my final day and looked back at what I had done, I was massively proud of my achievement and the conversation it started. Would you do it again? What is your next challenge? Yes definitely!! My aim is to keep the conversation going and encourage others to do something small, like a litter pick-up with their friend or family, whether on a beach or just in their local area. Interested in a litter pick? We have some top tips here. Do you have any 'shout-outs' or people you want to thank? I want to thank my sister for her PR skills, which got me 2 radio interviews, my family and friends for their support and encouragement along the way and finally to Jo, for getting the conversation started around single use plastics. Without her inspiration, I would never have wanted to get out there and make a difference. Want to give kudos to Lara? You can do that here! 30 beaches in 14 days: The Route Day 1: Weston Super Mare - Minehead - Westward Ho Day 2: Newquay - Falmouth Day 3: Bournemouth - Bognor Regis - Eastbourne Day 4: Folkestone- Margate - Southend on Sea Day 5: Skegness - Scarborough Day 6: Whitby - Berwick upon Tweed Day 7: Stonehaven - Fraserberg Day 8: Wick - Strathy Day 9: Isle of Skye Day 10: Ayr Day 11: Whitehaven - Morecambe - Blackpool - Day 12: Rhyl - Port Dafarch Day 13: Aberystwyth - St David’s - Tenby Day 14: Ferryside - Port Talbot We love hearing the stories of our collective. It's with you that we can grow our movement and create change!