Rudolph and sleigh making lots of Friends

Michelle Stannard and Meg Green of the Friends of the Estuary on the 'Rudolph and Sleigh' erected by the Friends at Seafield Road, Lytham
Michelle Stannard and Meg Green of the Friends of the Estuary on the 'Rudolph and Sleigh' erected by the Friends at Seafield Road, Lytham

As Fylde folk eagerly await the arrival of Santa Claus, a Rudolph and sleigh with a difference have already landed.

The seasonal features made from driftwood have been added to a bench constructed earlier this year by Lytham’s Friends of the Estuary group from material gathered from the foreshore on their weekly litter-picks.

The sleigh, which offers plenty of seating room for two, is on site at the Seafield Road jetty on Lytham’s popular promenade through the Christmas and New Year period.

Meg Green of the Friends said: “We hoped it would make people smile and has been really well received by passers-by.

“The bench was made from all sorts – a cockle picker’s waggle board, a wooden bird table base, the top half of a broken public footpath sign and other items of driftwood.

“Rudolph is made almost entirely from driftwood found on the estuary and his head was shaped from the base of the driftwood Christmas tree which we have had on the site of the bench in previous years.

“We were provided with sundry items to complete the build by Lytham Timber and support and permissions from Fylde Council.”

The Friends will celebrate their 10th anniversary next summer.

The group started with three members and now has more than 30, who collect an average 20 bags of rubbish from the foreshore every Monday.

Meg added: “In that time we have collected more than 6,000 bags of rubbish and thousands of larger items.

“This year we have found fewer large items of plastic construction and farm waste. Although we still find some farm animals and birds, we have seen an increase in harbour porpoises, which we report to the coastguard.

“Just as worryingly, we have also come across large pieces of contaminated palm oil which is very dangerous if ingested by dogs. We work with Fylde Council to identify and dispose of it.”

The Friends have won several awards over the years, including an It’s Your Neighbourhood honour from the Royal Horticultural Society.