A RIVERS charity has appointed a new chairman.

Paediatric cardiologist Prof. Richard Kirk has taken on the role at Tyne Rivers Trust, replacing Hugo Remnant, who stepped down after seven years.

Prof. Kirk aims to improve people’s wellbeing by enabling more children and adults to connect with nature through the Tyne’s river system.

He has extensive experience of the charity sector, and recently retired and moved back to the North-East, where he spent much of his career working at the Freeman Hospital.

He hoped to capitalise on the work already done by the trust.

He said: “Tyne Rivers Trust has been very successful in improving habitat, reducing pollution, educating children and working with volunteers to clean-up the Tyne’s river system. As chairman, I hope to not only build on that work, but also to promote access to, and an understanding of, the rivers and the catchment to a wider sector of society.

“I’d like to see more support for the socially disadvantaged and those with physical, mental or psychological challenges to experience the benefits to their wellbeing from being by the river.

“Lockdown has highlighted how important nature and a strong river system is for people’s mental health and leisure time and it’s crucial that we don’t forget it’s importance as restrictions are lifted.”

The Tyne Rivers Trust is the only environmental charity dedicated to looking after the River Tyne and its tributaries.

The organisation works to tackle the effects of climate change and support wildlife.