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Friends group formed for River Worth

SUPPORTERS are being recruited for a hidden wildlife haven running through the centre of Keighley.

The River Worth Friends will help look after the watercourse that runs from the moors beyond Stanbury to Stockbridge where it joins the River Aire.

The fledgling group has announced a series of public events throughout 2019 to raise awareness and build up membership.

These will include a spring-clean, talks, a festival to celebrate World Rivers Day, and an educational family day.

The Friends group is the brainchild of Philip Sheridan, who lives alongside the River Worth and is a committee member of the West Yorkshire branch of Salmon & Trout Conservation UK.

Regeneration body Keighley Big Local has agreed to give seed funding to Mr Sheridan set up the Friends, in affiliation with the Aire Rivers Trust.

Over the past couple of years the trust and Big Local have spearheaded clean-ups in the lower reaches of the River Worth.

Mr Sheridan now wants to raise the river’s status as a rich and diverse home for people, wildlife and business, and encourage both businesses and residents to look after the river.

Mr Sheridan said: “The River Worth runs as a green ribbon through the centre of Keighley acting as a wonderful corridor for wildlife.

“It might not look like pretty in places but it has an abundance of plants, wild trout, grayling, dippers, kingfishers and river flies.”

Big Local coordinator Shaun O’Hare said the aim of the events was to get people involved and ‘connect’ with their local river.

He added: “By doing this we broaden recognition of the idea of a ‘River Worth Friends’, raise awareness of its goals, increase membership and expand activities.

“The river is the ‘spine’ of the Keighley Big Local area. Our partnership members recognise that what happens in the headwaters of the Worth will have an impact along the course of the river and down-water in Keighley.”

The events will begin on February 12 at the Wellbeing Café in Keighley, with a talk on the work of the Aire Rivers Trust, and the future prospects for the river and its wider catchment.

There will be a large-scale Keep Britain Tidy river and streets clean up based around the Wishbone Brewery in Dalton Lane, on April 13.

Other events: talk on river habitats, Cobbles and Play Café, Haworth, June 19; small-scale festival at various locations to celebrate World Rivers Day, September 22;

A family day at the Wishbone Brewery on November 9 will feature physical models to demonstrate the key principles of flood and river management.

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