Gumbies Ambassador Series: Oly Rush and Project Planet

Here at Gumbies we are always blown away by the people we meet on our journey. Know one more so than our latest ambassador Oly Rush.

Oly is the founder of Project Planet. Its objective is to inspire conscious living by raising awareness of the widespread plastic pollution problem. His method of awareness, taking on marathon swims which defy human endeavour!

As a child, Oly was a successful competitive club swimmer and his passion for swimming and the water has never gone away. He loves the sea and is passionate about minimising the impact we have on the oceans.

In 2020 Oly swam 100 miles in 10 days along the Jurassic Coast and beyond raising almost £10,000. #swimjurassic

In 2021 he set the world's fastest time, swimming solo around the Isle of Wight in 15hr 9mins, this time raising over £12,000 for local charities. #swimiowplasticfight

In May this year, Oly completed an unprecedented solo, no-stop swim around the entire island of Grand Cayman in an incredible 36hr 59mins! (awaiting confirmation on the world record!) The swim raised a staggering $25,000 for Plastic Free Cayman and a further £10,000 for Project Planet to help towards funding the next huge awareness swim!! Watch this space! #thegrandswim

Oly, when did you come up with the idea of Project Planet ?

It was actually my long-suffering girlfriend's idea! We were travelling back from a camping holiday in Devon in 2018 and I was pouring my heart out about this overwhelming feeling that I needed to do something more to tackle plastic pollution. Maybe she regrets it a bit now 😂.

Having spent your childhood growing up on the coast have you noticed a considerable difference in the state of our beaches over the years ?

I think it's always been there although it does seem to be getting worse. It depends on which beaches you go to. I deliberately target the worst affected beaches to maximise the amount we clear and save it from breaking up into the impossible to collect microplastics or endangering wildlife. I also feel it's important to show the real scale of the problem.

You have already raised awareness and a huge amount of money from your latest project, tell us more about it ?

The generosity has been incredible and so encouraging, people want to help and get involved but don't always have the time. My latest awareness swim around the island Grand Cayman hammered home how much support there is. Plastic Free Cayman are facing a never-ending tide of plastic washing up on its beaches and the money raised will help them to scale up its already incredible cleanup and educational work.

So what's next for you and Project Planet ?

We are in the process of setting up a charity and will continue to campaign to reduce plastic pollution and inspire others to take action. I am also setting up a small workshop where we will recycle the beach and community-collected plastics into USEFUL, reusable and recyclable products, starting with swimming hand paddles! I'm hoping to scale up the number of school visits and beach cleans. It goes without saying that there are some exciting plans in place for some more record-breaking, mammoth endurance swims next year!

You can keep up to date with all Oly's projects through the Project Planet website, Instagram or Facebook