Life's a beach on award-winning South Shields sands

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The county has been given four Seaside Awards from Keep Britain Tidy, along one Blue Flag.

Joss Bay at Broadstairs, which is popular with surfers, has been stripped of the prestigious rating it enjoyed previous year, although it hangs on to its Seaside Award.

Beaches in the south east to win this award are: Worthing Beach, Bognor Regis East, Littlehampton Coastguards and West Wittering.

Sandhaven Beach has achieved the Blue Flag status and secured the Seaside Award for the twelfth year running, from leading environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy.

It comes as Keep Britain Tidy announced 65 beaches across Britain have been granted the worldwide Blue Flag status and a further 125 were given the UK Seaside Award, Keep Britain Tidy's own distinction for beaches meeting the highest standard for cleanliness and facilities.

The awards also acknowledge that both Roker and Seaburn have met the required European Union standards for water quality. Shanklin, Seagrove and Springvale beaches have today (Thursday) been awarded Seaside Awards, but Sandown does not appear on the list.

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"Shanklin is delighted to be recognised by this prestigious award and thank all involved in achieving it - it is very much a team effort, and this recognition is a credit to all that have contributed to maintaining and improving the quality of our provision".

"Millions of tourists around the world look for a Blue Flag when choosing a beach or marina to visit".

Parents told a survey they were put off by litter-strewn beaches and pollution in the sea.

The Seaside Award is Keep Britain Tidy's own award for beaches that meet the very highest standards for cleanliness and facilities.

In total, 65 beaches around the country can now proudly fly a Blue Flag - an global award which means visitors can be sure they are clean and safe.

Keep Britain Tidy's Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: "Blue Flag leads the fight back for the Blue Planet".

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