A GROUP of kayakers has come together for a mission to fight marine pollution.

Eight women from across the UK, including Brighton’s Clare Osborn, took on a 300km expedition through English waterways, picking up plastic as they paddled.

They are using their project, Paddle Pickup, to raise awareness about pollution in our seas. The main contributor to that is plastic pollution.

Ms Osborne, volunteer campaign manager for Incredible Oceans and its marine festival WhaleFest, said: “Myself and expedition leaders Bex Band and Erin Bastian all believe that education is key to making a difference.

“Our aim with the Paddle Pickup expedition is simple; to encourage people to start reducing their single plastic usage.”

Starting in Bristol Harbour on Monday, August 21, the team finally reached the finish line at the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge in London at 1pm yesterday.

Ms Osborne, Ms Band and Ms Bastian are the only three in the team to have kayaked the whole 300km.

Despite navigating through 151 locks, the team managed to make the finishing line ahead of time, surpassing their 17-day goal by an entire day.

They are the first all-female team to complete the journey.

Along the way, they collected plastic rubbish, carried out research and raised awareness of the problem of plastic pollution by speaking to people they met en route.

The women had a range of sleeping arrangements, from wild camping to sleeping in churches, schools and at cadet group HQs. Their hosts had heard about their mission and wanted to help.

Eleven days into the trip they had already picked up more than 1,500 pieces of plastic.

A former lawyer, Ms Osborn gave up her career to dedicate her time to marine conservation, working with WhaleFest – the world’s biggest marine wildlife festival – which has been regularly held at the Brighton Centre.

She said: “I had never even been in a sea kayak until I got to Bristol.

“I decided to give up a successful career in law to focus on conservation and awareness raising via adventure.”

Incredible Oceans hopes to create an anti-plastic installation with the rubbish removed from the waterways to raise further awareness.

To donate to the cause, visit chuffed.org/project/incredibleoceans.