Hartlepool swimming group invites MP to join them in fight for clean beach

A Hartlepool swimming group says it wants to work together with Jill Mortimer MP for a clean and sewage-free beach.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 4:45 am

The Brass Monkey/Seaton Swimmers group have extended an open invitation to Jill Mortimer MP to join them for a meet up at the beach at Seaton – and an optional swim.

The group decided on the invite following Mrs Mortimer’s vote against an amendment to the Environment Bill which aimed to place a new legal duty on water companies to reduce raw sewage discharges into rivers and seas.

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Members of the Brass Monkey/Seaton Swimmers after their morning swim.

Mrs Mortimer explained in a statement after the vote that taxpayers and customers would have had to foot the bill said to run into billions of pounds.

She stated at the time: “I didn’t vote to dump sewage into our rivers and seas. I voted to stop everyone in this country from having to foot the bill of between £150 and £650 billion."

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Brass Monkey/Seaton Swimmers group founders Sid Bell and Geoff Lilley have said the group wants to work together with Mrs Mortimer to find a solution and help keep the beach clean.

Group founder Sid Bell has said they want to work together with the town MP.

Sid, 54, said: “We take pride in our beach. We go down and we would litter-pick all the rubbish that comes.

“When they do the storm surges, all you get is a whole raft of panty liners, you get face wipes, you get baby wipes.

"When you are swimming out there in that, you don’t want to be having any more. It’s bad enough what we put up with.

"I thought if we just invite her to come along, it’d be nice if she could come after a storm surge and then she would understand even more fully just how disgusting it can be.”

Geoff Lilley, founder member of the Brass Monkey/Seaton Swimmers.

Geoff, 71, said: “She needs to engage with us. She needs to understand where we’re coming from.

"We have no argument with our MP. We don’t want to be on one side or the other.

"We want to work with our MP. We actually want to work with the water company. We want to work with the council.

"We want to work together to find sensible solutions to make it better.”

The group has been going for a year and a half with over 20 people meeting up at Seaton for a dip in the sea each morning.

Social worker Sid has added that Mrs Mortimer would receive a warm welcome if she accepted the invitation.

Sid said: “If she wanted to come and swim with us, she’s more than welcome.

"We’d even put a little party on if we knew she was coming.

"We’ve got people who don’t have a political view, they just want to work with somebody to keep our beach clean and sewage-free.

"We go in there after a storm surge and sometimes what you see in the sea, you don’t want to go in.

"We shouldn’t have to be forced out of the water because of the sewage that goes into it.”

Mrs Mortimer has been approached for a response to the group’s offer.

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