2018 River Champions

River Champions > 2018 River Champions

The success of projects aiming to improve rivers for wildlife and people is largely influenced by the involvement of volunteers. The River Restoration Centre understands the importance of this contribution and wishes to acknowledge those that may otherwise not get recognition.

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‘River Champions’ seeks to recognise and celebrate the outstanding efforts of individuals contributing to improving rivers for wildlife and people outside of their day-to-day roles.

Congratulations to the 2018 'River Champions'!

View the Press Release

Below briefly details how the 2018 River Champions have contributed to river improvement in their area.  RRC will be individually featuring each River Champion on social media and in our monthly bulletin throughout the year.










Stephen Frye

Stephen helped to rebuild the Grayshott Angling Club, securing funding for a habitat improvement project on the North Wey Branch, involving large wood installation, backwaters creation for habitat, and gravel introduction and cleaning. Stephen also runs successful junior angling events alongside the local council with qualified coaches, to encourage junior angling events, and delivered an improvement project on a pond acquired by Grayshott Angling Club. He has also acted as secretary and treasurer for the Wey Valley Fisheries Consultative for the past six years, arranging site visits, presentations and events.


Jim Gregg

Jim has been instrumental in the improvement of the Six Mile Water for more than 20 years, including organising river clean ups. Jim is an advocate for the river and encourages his friends to also get involved in improvements and activities. Jim also contacts the council to encourage local schools to uptake environmental works in the area such as riparian tree planting. He is also a keen angler, whilst caring for the health of the river.

"As outgoing Mayor, one of Councillor Paul Hamill's last tasks was presenting Jim Gregg, a member of the Six Mile Water Trust, with his award of Northern Ireland “River Champion”. Jim was awarded this title by the River Restoration Centre based on the impact and the amount of time he has contributed to improving rivers. Councillor Paul Hamill and Jim Gregg are pictured with John Kerr, Cathy McClean, Maurice Parkinson and Lindsay Houston."

- Antrim and Newtonabbey Borough Council

Chris McArthur

Chris is a passionate environmentalist with a keen interest in water quality and land managment. He is considered the linchpin for his help and efforts with Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust. Chris helps out through project management, expert guidance, staff management, strategic planning and budget control. He helped out with Natural Flood Management projects worth over £50,000, Catchment Partnership meetings, events and management. Chris guides the Trust through political situations resulting in projects on the ground that are supported by all involved. He helps out anywhere he can, including drawing plans and advising on safety and technical details.


Robert McConnell

Robert volunteers as the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust's membership secretary, involving corresponding with members and volunteers. He has been instrumental in the success of the Trust membership, encouraging membership and securing funding over the last 14 years. This funding has helped build fish passes for salmon and sea trout, run educational projects for schools, and hold invasive species control projects, as well as ground breaking salmon smolt tracking studies.

These 3 rivers cover the Trust's work with the Bogie and Isla being the main tributaries to the River Deveron in Aberdeenshire.

Read the recent report on the Deveron 2018 Smolt Project. An identical project was carried out in previous years so they are building up a record which will allow monitoring of the strength of the river based at 2 points.


George Mackintosh

George has been a volunteer and the treasurer of Slamannan Angling Protective Association for over 15 years, helping to restore the River Avon in Scotland, as well as helping the River Forth Fisheries Trust engage younger generations through the Fish in the Class project. George helps restorative efforts on the Avon, for fish and wildlife. He helped secure funding and led on 4 phases of the Upper Avon Restoration in Scotland, involving implementing techniques such as berms, willow spilling on eroding banks, gravel seeding and installing pinch points.

"To be named as a river champion means a great deal to myself and SAPA, the award has been spoken about a great deal in our area, I also was congratulated on this by local MSP and mentioned in the Scottish parliament. Needless to say our funders are very pleased also." - George Mackintosh

Have a look at some of the things the Slamannan Angling Protective Association have been doing.


Sean O' Loughlin

Sean works on the ground to clear obstacles such as debris and windfalls, improve water quality and replace washed gravels, creating spawning habitat for wild brown trout in the lower Erne River system, as well as encouraging others to get involved in river restoration.

Chris Ryder

Chris was recently voted in as the new Chair of Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust where he has been an active trustee for several years. He has also been chair of the Catchment Partnership, the Dales to Vales Rivers Network Project Board since 2015. Chris is invaluable in helping design their Catchment Management Plans. He represents the Catchment Partnership at national level events and supports the 2 Catchment Partnership Officers. Chris puts in the miles through commuting from his Surrey home to his North Yorkshire base! Chris is also a member of his local London Catchment Partnership, and member of the National CaBA support group and Catchment Data User Group. He is passionately interested in all aspects of river functioning and ecology, whilst remaining wholly committed to ensuring practitioners working on the ground are heard nationally through the Catchment Based Approach.


Glenn Smithson

Glenn is an advocate, and knowledgeable practitioner of river restoration in his spare time. He is a member of the historical Lark Angling Preservation Society and has carried out restoration on the Lark. He also works with the Wild Trout Trust nationwide. Glenn is a key partner in the River Lark Catchment Partnership where he works with multiple organisations to deliver restoration, including the Dig&Dump project, and enhancing chalk streams using a range of techniques. As well as this, he has attended lots of events to engage with the public to teach, influence and engage people in river restoration. Glenn helps out with organising people, materials and evidence in order to deliver projects, and helps with applications for Flood Risk Activity Permits.

"How wonderful, as a volunteer, to receive a River Champion award for doing something I care passionately about. Much appreciation goes to the support network of family, friends, volunteers and professionals who make everything we do possible." - Glenn Smithson

Have a look at the River Lark Catchment Partnership website and facebook page.

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