A fire extinguisher is retrieved from the lake

A fire extinguisher is retrieved from the lake

An underwater clean-up of England’s largest natural lake attracted volunteers from across the country.

More than 500 people converged on Windermere on Saturday for what organisers said was probably the largest freshwater debris dive in the world.

Broadcaster, diver and explorer Paul Rose was joined by more than 200 sub-aqua enthusiasts in the Friends of the Lake District clean-up.

Teams of divers retrieved rubbish from the lake around Bowness and Windermere marina in water of just 4C.

Items pulled out included more than 70 tyres, bottles including one containing a message, shoes, car batteries, sunglasses, a Burberry umbrella, fire extinguishers, mobile phones, fishing gear, boat parts, union jack flags and a large bone.

A total of 265 divers took the lake’s water.

A team of 41 shore-based volunteers collected and sorted the litter. The rubbish will go to several art projects including one as part of Friends of the Lake District Secret Windermere project, involving children from Langdale and Hawkshead primary schools.

Sculptures created from the rubbish will be displayed at Wray Castle and eventually auctioned off to raise money for Friends of the Lake District’s conservation work.

Paul Rose said: “We took out enough rubbish to fill a shipping container, but this is only a small percentage of what still lies on the bottom.

“It’s a sobering thought that this is the way we treat our beautiful lake and reflects the way we disrespect our oceans.

“The day was a fantastic response to a call for action and shows that with enough enthusiasm we can have a positive impact on our waters. We’ll be doing more.”

Judith Moore of Friends of the Lake District said: “It was great to see so many people out doing their bit for our environment.

“A whole range of different organisations have worked together, including South Lakeland District Council, the National Trust, the Lake District National Park, a huge range of dive organisations and local businesses – it was fantastic.

“We are really grateful to everyone who got involved, not least our patron, Paul Rose, whose enthusiasm kept the whole event moving.”

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