A wonderful first TideFest was held on the tidal Thames on Sunday September 28 at Kew Bridge, Isleworth, Chiswick and in the Wandle Valley on Sunday to commemorate World Rivers Day.
Visitors enjoyed a host of activities that were organised place along the Thames Tideway including paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, angling, foreshore exploration, river dipping, wildlife spotting and a heritage walk.
The Angling Trust organised held a successful match at Strand on the Green, downstream of Kew Bridge, and congratulations went to worthy winner Clive Westwood for his fine feeder caught catch of 34lbs 8ozs of mainly bream which earned him a lovely trophy and a cool £500. Second was James Thornhill from the charity Get Hooked on Fishing (which also received a £200 donation from the participating anglers) with 21.05 followed by Keith Clark with 16.15 for third place. The sponsors Thames Tideway Tunnel have confirmed for next year and the organising committee are already making plans for a bigger event for 2015 on the last Sunday in September. This may include a 60 peg pairs match over two sections.
The Angling Trust's Martin Salter, one of the event organisers, said: " Despite the bright sunshine and the less than ideal conditions for fishing there were some good bags recorded and it was great to see so many people out on the river celebrating what the Thames Tideway has to offer and to mark World Rivers Day. With the new super sewer now being given the go ahead and our sponsors already confirmed for next year we can really look forward to a brighter and fish filled future for London's river. TideFest will not only be a bigger and better match in 2015, it will provide an all important health check on the condition of the Thames Tideway. "
TideFest is a new river Thames event taking place to highlight and celebrate the recreational importance of the Thames Tideway to Londoners. TideFest is part of the Totally Thames festival and is supported by the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and the Thames Tunnel Now Coalition which includes RSPB, London Wildlife Trust, Thames21, WWF, River Thames Society and the Angling Trust.
World Rivers Day began in Canada 30 years ago but became officially recognised as a global event by the United Nations in 2005 as part of their 'Water for Life' decade. It takes place every year on the last Saturday in September and involves thousands people across the planet in projects as diverse as identifying illegal dumping sites in Russia, holding community awareness programmes in West Africa, organising community clean ups in Poland and highlighting the need for better sewage treatment for the River Ganges in India.
It was the prospect of an ever cleaner river Thames in the heart of London that brought wildlife and conservation groups together to organise TideFest. Last year saw long overdue improvements at Mogden Sewage Treatment Works as part of a wider £5.4bn plan to clean up the river including the £635m Lee Tunnel, and the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel which the Angling Trust looks forward to seeing completed.