Thousands turn out to ‘toast the coast’ with the National Trust throughout the South West
The sun came out and so did thousands of people to the biggest mass participation event the National Trust in the South West has ever organised.
The Big Beach Picnic on July 4 took place at 15 different locations across the South West.
From Wembury beach and even Paignton Green in Devon to Gunwalloe and Marazion beach in Cornwall to Weymouth and Brownsea Island in Dorset to Bossington and Brean Down beach in Somerset. There were events at some of our secret coves like Pentireglaze Haven, Polzeath and Portnadler, Looe in Cornwall to the big stretches of beach like Woolacombe and Studland – it was all about celebrating the uniqueness of our stunning beaches across the 300 miles of coastline that the National Trust cares for in the South West.
A highlight of the 2015 South West Coastal Festival programme, the Big Beach Picnics were a unique ‘mass participation’ way of celebrating 50 years of coastal fundraising and a family fun packed day for all the enjoy.
Bella Crawford, coastal engagement officer for the National Trust said: ‘We’ve all had a terrific day with so many people turning out at all of our Big Beach Picnics showing how much they care for and enjoy the coast in the South West.
‘A big moment came at each location when we asked everyone to join us and take a moment to ‘toast the coast’. The cups were used afterwards to collect donations to help fund specific projects at each Big Beach Picnic location.
‘People have also been supporting our Big Beach Picnics and in particular the ‘#toasthecoast’ moment on social media with over 4.5 million people exposure on twitter, which is staggering and has really caught peoples imagination. What’s been lovely is so many people have been sending in photos of themselves, their friends and family (including dogs!) celebrating the coast today. We even had people joining in from Wimbledon toasting the coast with our specially designed cups! Anyone else who wants to share their pictures with us can do so on our Facebook site or tweet us,’ added Bella.
2015 is the 50th anniversary of the Neptune Coastline campaign, set up in 1965 to protect the coast from the threat of development and look after it for ever for the nation.
Over the last 50 years, public and partnership support have raised over £65 million for the campaign, enabling the National Trust to safeguard 775 miles of coastline across the England, Wales and Northern Ireland (300 miles of which are in the South West).
Events have been taking place at National Trust places across the South West all this year as part of its Coastal Festival, from mass beach cleans attended by over 400 volunteers earlier in March, to a series of coastal Bio-Blitz events and the Big Beach Picnics. The next big event is the South West Coast Path Challenge taking part in the whole month of October.
Jo Atkins, National Trust Coast fundraising manager said: ‘It costs £3,000 a year to look after a mile of coast for millions of people to access, enjoy and cherish.
‘The National Trust is a conservation charity that cares for over 300 miles of coast across the South West.
‘We are so pleased that so many people came to not only enjoy our Big Beach Picnics across the South West but also helped support our work on the coastline by giving us a donation. (details about our coastal work here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1355901104490/)
Anyone who would like to donate can do so either online at justgiving.com/swcoast, call 0344 800 1895 or Text NTCOAST to 70123 to donate £3. Also check out check out the stunning SW Coast film.
(from a press release)