A STAGGERING range of debris has been cleared from a Keighley river this year.

More than 500 bags full of rubbish were collected by volunteer ‘guardians’ of the River Worth.

There was also a frightening haul of 192 needles.

And other items included a wardrobe, three shopping trolleys, a ladder and even a toilet.

The River Worth Friends staged around 50 litter-picks and clean-ups.

Whilst lockdown has had an impact, the work of the group has been maintained.

Members had set a target of collecting 500 bags of debris, from the River Worth but also North Beck, Gingerbread Clough and Hogs Hole Beck.

The litter was disposed of by Bradford Council’s waste services.

Among those that support the Friends are Keighley Big Local and the Aire Rivers Trust.

Shaun O’Hare, for Keighley Big Local, said: “The River Worth corridor is rich in biodiversity, wildlife and tree cover. Kingfishers, brown trout and otters are regularly spotted.

“The efforts of the Friends group are helping the habitats within the green corridor from Stanbury to Keighley to thrive.

“Hopefully, the group will have the opportunity to share its activities with more residents in 2021.”

Prior to lockdown, Friends activities were attracting up to 40 people.

Events included wildlife talks, river model demonstrations and photography exhibitions.

The group has received a £700 grant from Bradford Council to buy more equipment, including personal protective equipment.

Plus a calendar of events is being put together for the year ahead.

Activities will include practical action and information sessions, at locations from the headwaters in Stanbury to the confluence with the River Aire at Marley.

The group is also hoping to obtain £50,000 in funding for improvements to the riverbanks, with walking and cycling routes and protected wildlife.

Its scheme is among 36 being considered for possible inclusion in Keighley’s bid for up to £25 million from the Government Towns Fund.

The projects are designed to rejuvenate Keighley and bolster its economic growth.

Public consultation is being carried out (visit bradford.gov.uk/regeneration/towns-fund/keighley-town-fund) and a decision will be made about which schemes should go forward for submission at the end of January.

Initially, more than 50 project ideas were considered as part of the so-called Keighley Town Investment Plan.

The River Worth Friends group was ‘born’ in the summer of 2017.

After several successful clean-up days, residents living near the river won a £2,000 grant from Keighley Big Local to set-up the support group.

For more details, visit facebook.com/RiverWorthFriends.