CAMPAIGNERS fighting against sewage pollution played cricket with leading water industry figures to raise awareness of the River Windrush's plight.

The Windrush Against Sewage Pollution (WASP) group made £1,500 from a fundraising match against the 'Dirty River Scoundrels' at Swinbrook Cricket Club, near Burford, on Saturday.

The 'scoundrels', made up of people from the community, won a tight contest by one run on the very last ball, which WASP member Ashley Smith called 'symbolic' of campaigners' efforts so far.

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He said: "We're making progress but we're not quite there.

"The scoundrels represent the people who put the environment at the bottom of the list. The environment belongs to us all and we should work together."

Richard Aylard, Thames Water's external affairs and sustainability director, attended, as did Rachel Fletcher, CEO of industry regulator Ofwat.

Mr Smith confirmed WASP does not regard Thames Water as one of the 'scoundrels' and expressed hope that Mr Aylard could bring 'innovation, ambition and action' to the issue.

The mayor of Burford, John White, and county councillor for Burford and Carterton North, Nicholas Field-Johnson, were also present.

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Refreshments were provided, including a vegan and vegetarian barbecue, while a raffle helped raise funds for the group to pay for testing kit and laboratory fees.

In March, WASP started a journey from the source of the Windrush towards the River Thames and will shortly reach Burford and Witney, while it is also developing citizen science studies.

Mr Smith said: "Our Facebook page has brought out loads of recollections from people who grew up around Witney and remember a clear river, full of fish and life.

"Many of them are so sad that this has been lost and their own children are not having the joy that they had playing around the river and learning to swim and enjoy nature at its best."

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Mr Aylard added: “The cricket match was a great opportunity to meet informally with local people who care passionately about the Windrush.

“We had a frank and positive discussion about the problems we have each identified, what might be causing them, and what we can do together to improve the quality of the river.”