The man who championed the East End's clean-up of Regent’s Canal has been put up for a national award.

In 2013, Dave Bedford set up the Lower Regents Coalition of community groups, whicht now looks after the stretch of canal from Limehouse Basin to Mile End.

Their work has turned the messy waterway into a thriving urban oasis and nature reserve.

He has been nominated by his social landlord L&Q Housing in the resident contribution to sustainable living category at the Housing 2023 conference in Manchester on June 27.

“We have lots to be thankful for in getting us to this point,” the modest 65-year-old said. “Our volunteers motivate us to keep going, those incredible individuals who get stuck in.”

His volunteers have removed 7,000 bags and 10 tonnes of rubbish from the canal and have created wildflower meadows with 20 varieties of plants, often using floating ecosystems.

His campaign has brought more wildlife to the canal, with nesting areas for coots, moorhens, herons, ducks and swans.

Dave grew up in a farm and came to east London from Somerset in 1985, and now lives in Mile End.

The former music director lobbied to run a clean-up event in 2016 when the Canal and River Trust was draining 900m of waterway for repairs.

His volunteers used the opportunity to remove plastic and tonnes of rubbish — including an unexploded Second World War grenade.

He said at the time: “We’re planting native reeds, iris, sedges, grasses and lily pads to give this part of the canal a much-needed ‘makeover’. This will encourage wildlife such as kingfishers, which used to thrive here before it was so heavily developed.”

Dave had 50 volunteers turning up to get rid of rubbish, clear weeds, spruce up the towpaths and bring back the 200-year-old canal to its former glory, setting his sights on attracting more wildlife such as the endangered water vole.

Sophie Leedham, from L&Q Housing, said: “He is an extraordinary everyday person going 'above and beyond' for his community and the environment. His work setting up the canal coalition has contributed to around 10kg carbon reduction over the last five years.”

Dave’s efforts were recognised in 2018 when that stretch of Regent’s Canal received its first Green Flag award which it has retained ever since.