TRIUMPHANT Wharfe Walkers Patrick Godden and Jack Hanson have arrived back in Ilkley, having made the 265 mile walk from the source of the River Wharfe all the way to London to raise awareness and funds for Clean River Campaigns.

Along the way, the 27-year-olds collected hundreds of kilos of litter from river banks and raised thousands of pounds to fund independent testing of the Wharfe at Ilkley - the first river in Britain to be given Bathing Water Status.

“Our aim was to raise money and awareness for the campaign to clean up the Wharfe,” said Patrick “and the money we’ve raised will pay for equipment and lab time to test water quality along the whole length of the river.”

Ilkley Town Mayor Councillor Mark Stidworthy was delighted to welcome the returning Wharfe Walkers.

He said: “There is huge community desire in Ilkley for a clean and litter free river.

“Residents and community groups have been tenacious in a process that is now bearing fruit locally and nationally.

“As a town we congratulate Jack and Patrick on their achievement in completing this walk, and take pride that Ilkley residents continue to be at the vanguard of demands for meaningful change.”

Their journey ended at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, May 26, where Environment Minister Rebecca Pow and Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore, welcomed them.

“Our walk was an effort, as two self-funded 27 year-olds,” said Jack “to take action and inspire others to do their bit for the country that we love and that has given us so much.

“One of us is a global strategic alliances manager for a major tech company and the other is a full-time student in his final year of study, proving that anyone can make a difference with enough will, determination… and blister plasters.

“We are proud of what we have achieved but know that to markedly accelerate the pace of change we need government ministers to do as we have done; to take risks, to be brave and inspire others to pass crucial legislation that will bring Britain to a leadership position on the world stage. It’s time to walk the walk.”