THE RIVER Worth Friends were ale and hearty as they celebrated a successful second year.

The group held a litter-pick along the banks of the river’s lower reaches as their last event of 2019.

The day finished with a taste of a new beer created in their honour by Wishbone Brewery, whose premises lie alongside the river.

Litter and debris was cleared on a stretch of riverbank from Woodhouse Road, at Ingrow, to the brewery at Chesham Street off Dalton Lane.

The 20 volunteers collected 48 bags of rubbish which were taken away by Bradford Council’s cleansing team.

Then Wishbone boss Adrian Chapman treated them to a drink of River of Worth Beer, which was made using surplus bread donated by the local Co-op store.

The volunteers were joined by other people at Wishbone for various activities relating to the river, which joins the River Aire soon after passing the brewery.

These included talks by local resident Phil Sheridan and the Aire Rivers Trust chairman Geoff Roberts, and a display of photographs of the river area by John Tickner.

JBA Trust Dynamic Models were on hand with a display illustrating the key principles of river management.

Also attending were the Aire Rivers Trust, Keighley Big Local, Bradford & Bingley Canoe Club, Be The Change Events and Riddlesden Toad Patrol.

The River Worth Friends are a collection of residents, groups and business with an interest in the river, styling themselves as a “neighbourhood watch” for the waterway.

The Friends are supported by the Aire Rivers Trust, and Keighley Big Local, a volunteer-run regeneration group that is spending £1 million of lottery money over 10 years in neighbourhoods alongside the river.

Big Local coordinator Shaun O’Hare said: “Among items found during the litter pick were a unicorn – now cleaned and adopted! – a slide, a motorbike seat, a car bumper and a walking stick.

“2019 has been a great year for the Friends with a range of activities including talks, demonstrations and practical action raising awareness of the river. There have been contributions from West Yorkshire Bat Group, the Wild Salmon Trust and Keighley Round Table.”

The Friends plan to host a meeting in January, with an open invite for all residents to attend and help sketch out a calendar of events for 2020.

The origin of the River Worth Friends lie in summer 2017, when after several successful clean-up days, residents living near the river won a £2,000 grant from regeneration body Keighley Big Local to set up the support group, following a presentation by local man Phil Sheridan.

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

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

The Friends launched themselves on the public in January 2018, proclaiming their plan to raise the river’s status as a rich and diverse home for people, wildlife and business.

They started out with a series of walks, nature studies and clean-ups. Dr Paul Gaskell from the Wild Trout Trust carried out an audit of the river.

A guided walk along the riverbank allowed participants to pick up rubbish as they walked, while discovering at first hand the river’s potential as a great asset to Keighley.

During 2018 there was also a demonstration to members and the public about river fly monitoring, a ‘citizen science’ project that invited members of the public to help look after rivers and streams across the UK.

For more information about the Friends, whether to join or learn about its plans for 2020, visit riverworthfriends on Facebook or email