MORE than 70 volunteers took to their paddleboards to remove a large amount of plastic pollution from the River Itchen in Southampton.

The mass clean-up was staged by the organisers of Southampton International Boat Show - British Marine - and one of the event's charity partners, Planet Patrol.

Cllr Daniel Fitzhenry, leader of the city council, was among those who took part.

Describing his first paddleboarding experience he said: "It was a privilege to join the clean-up and be a part of the event, seeing local people care so deeply about our area.

"Boat show organisers are really focussing on the environment as well as giving back to the local community, and it’s great to see this extend to their boat show partners."

Volunteers collected a variety of rubbish and logged what they had found via an app that analysed the litter, helping Planet Patrol better understand where it came from and thus hold brands accountable.

The event was held to support the boat show's pledge to make the 52nd event the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly yet.

It also gave first-timers the opportunity to try their hand at paddleboarding under expert guidance.

Lesley Robinson, chief executive of British Marine, said: "It was great to get out on the water with the local community to help with the clean up ahead of the show, which starts on Friday.

"The show aims to get as many people as we can out on the water."

Lizzie Carr, founder of Planet Patrol, praised the "fantastic" turn out on the River Itchen, adding: "These local events are so important.

"They reconnect people with nature and give them the opportunity to try water sports like paddleboarding for the first time.

"They also give individuals the power to make a difference, tackling this problem on the ground and contributing to our litter database so we can hold the big brands to account.”

The boat show is taking place at Mayflower Park on September 10-19

Dubbed Britain's biggest boating festival, it will offer visitors the chance to buy some of the newest and most advanced products made from recycled and recyclable materials.

They can also discover the latest technological advances designed to protect the environment.