Sir David Attenborough supports Eden’s young litter champions

Jayne Mann


The Litter Monster has been a big hit of the Eden Rivers Wonder World exhibition currently on show at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this imposing sculpture is the result of a creative commission by Eden Rivers Trust with artist, Ro Thomas (Woodmatters), in collaboration with creative partners Josh Simpson (Ragtag Arts) and Janine Bebbington (Gorgeous Media). The Litter Monster shows just what can happen if we let our inner monster free to put our Wonder World at peril. 79 Pupils from three primary schools in the Eden catchment: Rockcliffe, Petteril Bank and Appleby, undertook a litter pick along the river with Eden Rivers Trust and explored the hot topic of litter in our rivers and seas. They then created the exhibit; a sculpture and an accompanying film with the artists, expressing their thoughts about litter and the impact on people and wildlife. During the schools’ sessions, Sir David Attenborough and BBCs Blue Planet 2 were cited as a massive influence and pupils wanted him to know what they were doing to help save our planet through this project. What they didn’t know was that Ro got in touch with Sir David … and he replied! On Wednesday 11th July, the letter was unveiled at a special event at Tullie House for all the pupils who took part in the project. Addressing them as “The Litter Champions of Eden” Sir David praised the work that the young people were doing, adding, “If everyone plays their part, as you are doing, our planet will be a cleaner and better place for the future.” Ro Thomas, artist said:
"It's been such an inspiring experience working on the Litter Monster Project. We had a vision of the children being totally immersed in the subject, details and impacts of litter pollution to the point where they could inspire a change in behaviour to those who visited their exhibition piece at Tullie House. “The children have taken the role of ecologists, environmentalists, scientists, artists, film makers and educators. It’s been wonderful to see their passion for looking after their river environment grow and the clear onward positive impacts as they have gone home and shared their learning and experience with family and friends. “To top off an amazing project, the children were so incredibly excited to receive a personal letter from David Attenborough to commend them on their amazing work. I'm so proud of all they have learned and have achieved creating such a high-impact and visually stimulating exhibit.”
Holly, Appleby Primary School said:
I like it because it inspired people not to throw litter and that you can be creative with it. It can help the world. The litter monster is a really creative thing.”
Tania Crockett, Learning and Outreach Manager, Eden Rivers Trust added:
“We’ve been tackling the problem of litter in our rivers over the last year with our Rubbish Free Rivers initiative of volunteer litter picks along the Eden and were looking for a creative way to bring the hot topic of river and marine litter to life and capture children’s imaginations. Ro, Josh and Janine took our original idea and created something extraordinary with the schools, and we’re delighted with the response it has generated.”
The letter is now on display with the Litter Monster exhibit. See it for yourself at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery until 30 September. For more details, visit
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