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PRESS RELEASE: 45998...45999...46000!
Fran cleans up on Suffolk's beautiful beaches this weekend




    Press Release September, 2007.

    When artist Fran Crowe embarked on a challenge to pick up 46,000 pieces of litter off beaches near her Suffolk home last September, little did she realise quite how long it would take her! Now, almost exactly one year later, Fran will finally collect her 46,000th piece of litter, having walked more than 202km on Suffolk beaches for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Coastal Challenge in the process.
    Fran took up her challenge after reading a United Nations report which estimated that, on average, there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile of ocean worldwide. Fran was horrified, and vowed to do something about it - both by clearing an estimated 295 kg of rubbish from local beaches, and by raising funds to help the Marine Conservation Society tackle marine litter at source.
    Whilst walking, Fran has raised over £700 for the Marine Conservation Society through sponsorship and sale of her unique seaside ‘souvenirs’. ‘As well as countless plastic bags and packaging, I have found an unbelievable selection of things on the beach’, says Fran, ‘a snapshot of almost everything we use - toys, kitchen things, lightbulbs, shotgun cartridges, toiletries and DIY - you name it, it’s all there and in large quantities too!’
    Fran’s challenge is part of the MCS Coastal Challenge, which has just entered its second year following a fantastically varied first year – challenges have included coastal walks, diving challenges, triathlons, swimming and island sailing. With the help of people like Fran who care about the future of our seas, shores and wildlife MCS aim to cover the entire distance around the beautiful UK coastline (18,470km or 11,477 miles) before World Oceans Day June 8th 2008. If you’d like to help them, you can request your free fundraising pack from
    Fran says, ‘I’d like to think I have made a difference but every time I visit the beach there is more to collect – alone my efforts are literally just a drop in the ocean. I’m pleased to have met my 46000 challenge but there is no way I am going to be able to stop, knowing the harm that plastic bags and balloons, in particular, can do to wildlife. I’d like to encourage everyone to try and make a difference because the worst thing is that the plastic never really disappears. Once in the sea, it can take up to a thousand years to break down and even then it remains in tiny microscopic particles that in the end enter our food chain. If only everyone could try to avoid buying plastics for disposable items and always take their rubbish home, it would make a massive difference.’
    Fran recently took her collection of litter into the gallery with a solo exhibition at Babylon Gallery in Ely in July/August. She also had a charity stall at Art on the Prom in Felixstowe and has begun using her artworks and experiences for art and environment workshops in schools. In addition, her work will be exhibited at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe next Easter.
    Fran will be out collecting again on Sunday as part of the annual MCS Beachwatch litter survey and clean-up which takes place over this coming weekend of 15th-16th September 2007. Over 4,000 volunteers are expected to take part at over 380 beaches in the UK’s biggest survey of its kind. The findings of Beachwatch 2007 will be instrumental in the continuing MCS campaign against plastic litter. Everyone can take part - just contact your local MCS Beachwatch group by visiting or or call the MCS litter team on 01989 567807.
    It’s not too late to her sponsor her 46000 challenge - go to to make your donation on-line. Fran can be contacted via her website which features more of her work and lots of photos of what and where she has collected.

    Fran Crowe, local artist and MCS Coastal Challenger
    Katherine Stephenson, Fundraising Coordinator
    Tel: 01989 561587 | ,
    Richard Harrington, Communications Manager
    Tel: 01989 561585 |
    , Email:

    Editor’s Notes:
    1) The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK caring for our seas, shores and wildlife. MCS campaigns for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, protection of marine life and their habitats, and the sensitive use of our marine resources for future generations. Registered Charity Number 1004005
    2) Coastal Challenge: By taking the MCS Coastal Challenge people will be helping MCS combat threats to marine life from the tiniest plankton to the largest whale. Any kind of activity that covers distance counts – from fun runs, family walks, to abseiling, surfing or cycling – all challenges count so long as you are sponsored to do them. Call or email MCS today and request the free fundraising pack on 01989 561587 or MCS needs help to care for our seas shores and wildlife and as a small thank you every supporter who raises over £100 will receive a fantastic free ‘MCS Champion’ t-shirt – visit our website for more information and updates on other Coastal Challengers.

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