We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jaime Lowrey, the working mum of 2 young boys who also runs the beach cleaning Instagram account, @StBeesSaints.
St Bees Saints is an account where Jamie shares her finds from cleaning up West Cumbrian beaches, she's found everything from 17-year-old crisp packets to rare lego pieces from 1997 and more.
The account is also a place where she encourages others to join in and help clean up and rid Cumbria's beaches of litter.
We chatted about everything from why Jaime set St Bees Saints up, what motivates her to keep beach cleaning in the winter, and her future goals for St Bees Saints...
First of all, Introduce yourself!
I’m Jaime Lowrey and live in St Bees, West Cumbria, and I am a working mum of 2 young boys. I was born in Canada, and moved to Barrow-in-Furness with my family when I was 8.
I went to school and 6th form there, and went to Edinburgh Uni to do a Medical Microbiology degree. I went on to work in the science industry, but have happily enjoyed my arty hobbies of photography and crafting since working.
Tell us about why you decided to set up St Bees Saints
As my Insta bio implies, to try to encourage others to get out and help around their neighborhoods; “the endorphin high is amazing”.
I’ve always picked up the odd bit of litter but having had more outdoor time in recent months, that evolved to cleaning the village’s beaches.
Insta is a great way to spread the word, a picture tells a thousand words.
Is there any significance in, or a story behind, the name ‘St Bees Saints’?
It was simply a play on the village’s name, and I was hoping to encourage others into the beach clean movement, an inclusive name, hence the plural ‘saints’.
What does beach cleaning and litter picking mean to you? What place does it have in your life?
While I’m still working from home, it’s a great excuse to make me get outdoors through the week. Get some exercise (lunges and squats!), and leave the beach and village a bit nicer.
There’s always that sense of achievement and calm afterward.
It’s quite therapeutic.
Do you litter pick and beach clean during the winter? If so, what helps you stay motivated?
I started in the winter! January 2021.
All you need is a cosy hat, coat, walking pants, and gloves and you’re set.
I’d only avoid it if there were wild winds that would just blow the litter out of your hands. I don’t mind a spot of rain, but torrential rain isn’t too much fun – I have been caught out before and ended up soaked through!
Having the StBeesSaints account keeps me motivated too – there’s a great worldwide beach clean community out there to spur you on.
What has been your strangest litter find while out beach cleaning?
A cricket bat, an entire set of coveralls, rare lego bits from a lost container ship off Cornwall from 1997, toy soldiers, 17-year-old crisp packets, litter from Ireland, Wales, and even Spain and Iceland!
What advice would you give to a young person looking to start litter picking and beach cleaning?
Don’t feel you have to do it all in one go.
Picking up just 1 bit of litter, from the streets or beach is better than walking by. Share your experience and your finds. Get a good hat!
What does the future hold for St Bees Saints?
I’ll continue to do the beach cleans here in St Bees and there are other local beaches such as Coulderton, Nethertown that need some clearing.
They’re isolated communities, so could do with a hand.
Make sure you follow Jaime on the Saint Bees Saints account to keep up with her finds and get inspired to help clean up Cumbria's beaches!