A TEAM of divers will join a huge clean-up operation of the River Wye.

The project that begins on Sunday is being orchestrated by Hereford in Bloom and the city’s sub-aqua diving club.

Backed by a £3,861 grant from the Lottery Fund, the aim is to recover years of accumulated rubbish thrown into the stretch of river that passes through Hereford.

Trevor Swindells, chairman of Hereford in Bloom, hopes the job will be completed before Britain in Bloom judges arrive on July 19.

“The River Wye is one of Hereford’s greatest assets, a wonderful leisure facility for local families and a top attraction for tourists,” he said.

“Yet it has been allowed to become a dumping ground for every conceivable piece of rubbish, creating not just an environmental disaster but a serious health risk for all those using the river for leisure and sport.

“Cleaning up the river is one of the priorities in our campaign to make Hereford a better place to live and work and to attract more visitors to boost the local economy.”

Mike Bailey, chairman of Hereford Sub-Aqua Club, which has 46 members who normally dive to ship wrecks out at sea, added: “We have already surveyed the river between Hunderton railway bridge and the Victoria footbridge and identified the location of the debris to be brought out by the divers to the river bank where volunteers will collect it and get it to skips provided by Quick Skip.

“We estimated there is several tones of scrap lying on the river bed. The exercise will make the river cleaner and safer.”

Anyone willing to volunteer to help on the banks should contact Russ Jenkins at russ.russaqua@aol.com