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westlife kian egan

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Ireland has some of the most beautiful beach coastlines in the world, and come rain or shine, hundreds will venture out towards the sand and surf. From the early morning dog-walkers to those who squeeze in a run before they hit the office (how though?) to excited kids at the weekend, busy collecting seashells on the seashore. In their natural state, our beaches are breathtaking but it's no secret that we need to be doing more to keep them clean.

To this end, Coca-Cola and Centra just organised the Big Beach Clean initiative for the eighth year running. Organised and run by An Taisce’s Clean Coast programme and Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, each year sees thousands of volunteers from around the country turn out to rid our beaches of litter. And to give you an idea of just how much this initiative is needed, back at a Clean Up day in just June of this year, more than 23 tonnes of litter was removed from the island’s coastline – that's over 3,500 bags!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kian Egan (@kianegan) on

We sat down with musician, TV presenter and avid surfer Kian Egan who spoke to us about going green, encouraging everyone to get involved and pushing back unexpectedly in the name of the environment  – even when it comes to eating on-the-go.

Kian Egan will be the first one to tell you he lives on the beach. "I do," he says. "Because I spend so much time surfing and just in that environment, I see first-hand, just how dirty the beaches get – and how big an issue it is."  This was his second year running involved with The Big Beach Clean and he says the damage starts at the simple level of waste – that's materials or rubbish that's non-renewable – getting strewn over and lodged in the sand, which then ends up in the sea, spreading the contamination and endangering the animals in it. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kian Egan (@kianegan) on

"It's really about education. If people aren't aware of the damage that might be caused by the waste they throw away, the materials they choose to use, how will things change? And it isn't just about this generation – it's about educating the next and showing them what it really means when we clean our beaches."

And how does he do this? "I'm a surfer, so I'd bring stuff home or tell the kids – Kian is a doting dad to Koa, Zekey and Cobi and lives with his brood and wife Jodi Albert in Sligo – the importance of why we're bringing X and Y home to dispose of properly and get them involved." He explained his son came home from school and told his parents he wanted to live in a 'plastic-free house,' and he then used the opportunity to tell him the importance of not using some plastic just because it's there, but also why some plastic will always be needed. 

"Again, it's all about education," he continued. "Telling the kids why they don't need a straw with a drink to explaining that the baby's bottle which will get re-used time and time again is plastic that's used in an effective way."  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kian Egan (@kianegan) on

We talk of trends and how it seems to be of the moment to 'go green' but Kian admits that the problem lies in the fact that some might even see it as one. "I would hope it isn't a trend at all but becoming the norm by doing simple things that would make a difference."

And these simple things can range from outlets like Nandos, who insist that you can use a straw but you have to ask for one first (and who wants to be that person? Cringe!) to cafes and restaurants encouraging their customers to fill up re-useable coffee cups as opposed to grabbing a paper cup every single time – something that we're seeing more and more of these days. 

It's also about trying to challenge the status quo, Kian admits, even on the very small details.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @KianEganWeb (@kianeganweb) on

"I was getting a salad one day and I noticed almost everything around me was made of plastic. So, I asked for a wooden fork instead. The manager looked taken aback at even that. I'm not saying everyone has to challenge people in this way or push back all the time but it's doing this kind of thing that creates awareness and keeps change happening. Even this year, we're collecting more litter and waste than we ever have, so it's not going unnoticed; people are making a conscious effort to get involved."

Main Photo via Facebook        

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Like many an Irish man, Kian Egan is looking forward to the long evenings. 

"Last year I went out surfing and I was still in the water at five to twelve. It's just incredible." 

The former Westlife singer and dad-of-three has always loved the beaches, and in particular the coastline of his native Sligo. 

"We have amazing beaches in Ireland. I remember when I first started travelling around the world, you’d go to different parts of the world and think this isn’t that great really, is it? as an Irish person we have an amazing coastline." 

As an avid surfer, Kian is not bluffing about his connection to the sea, and to show it he's teamed up with Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week. Running from the 1st to the 10th of June, the week encourages communities around the coast of Ireland to "Do good, Feel good" by volunteering to keep our beautiful beaches litter-free. 

For Kian, getting involved with Clean Coasts was a no-brainer. 

"It’s a natural fit. I’ve noticed over the years that people do get a bit 'lacksidaisy' when it comes to leaving stuff on the beach and not even know what they’re doing, it’s not conscious.

"It’s a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness for someone like myself who loves the beach so much. I’m very environmentalist anyways." 

Keeping local beaches clean is something that Kian does all year around. 

"When I’m walking along the beach I always try to bring back a few pieces of rubbish. I think that’s such a simple thing to do, it’s a feel good task. I think if we try to spread messages like that around the country then we’ll be doing very well." 

It's something that he gets the kids involved in too. 

"Whenever I bring them to the beach I always say 'right lads, go find me three pieces of rubbish'. When the tide comes in it picks up that rubbish and it gets brought out to the sea again and that’s where the problem arises in the sea as well."

Kian, whose boys are aged six, three and eight months, sees the beach as a "natural playground". 

"My kids have more fun in the beach than they do in the actual playground. You’d find yourself when you go to the beach, feeling happier naturally. I don’ know why it does it, it could be the sea air, the calming of the water.

"In general if people are in bad form and they go for a walk on the beach it cheers them up." 

He's been spending a lot more time at the beach recently, since the birth of his third son he's actively stepping away from the limelight. 

"I feel like being at home with my children is now important right now. To help them and to raise them especially in the first few years. I love the idea of being around them, cooking their meals and make sure they’re not eating junk too much.

“I feel very privileged to do that. I am very privileged to be about to do that. I know dads that would give so much to be able to do what I do. I want to keep it going for as long as we can."

Married to British singer Jodi Albert, he jokingly calls his three boys "little terrors".

"Having the three boys together is a good thing, cause they’re going to such a little unit. I have an older brother whose the same age gap as my older two and I looked up to him so much.

As for the possibility of one of his sons following in his footsteps, he "wouldn't be completely against it" but he has "a lot of opinions about it". 

Completely happy with his dad-at-home dad life, Kian has no current plans to get back in the limelight. As for a Westlife reunion? 

"There’s no doubt that there will be one at some stage in the future, but when is the real question. Not for a long time I don’t think." 

Excuse us while we go cry in the bathroom. 

Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week runs from the 1st to the 10th June.  

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Actress and singer Jodi Albert last night paid a touching tribute to her mother Eileen who passed away after a long struggle with cancer.

"My beautiful little mummy passed away peacefully with her adoring family around her at 10.30pm after an 8-year battle with cancer," she said in a statement.

"She fought hard and her strength was inspiring right until the end. I will miss her forever and will do my best to be the loving selfless amazing mother to my children as she was to me."

The former Hollyoaks actress posted a sweet picture of her mum to Instagram last night, with the caption, "My beautiful little mummy."

 

A photo posted by Jodi Albert (@jodialbert) on

Eileen was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and had been in remission for a number of years before it returned.

Jodi and her husband, Westlife's Kian Egan, married in 2009 and have one son together, three-year-old Koa. Last November the couple announced they were expecting a second child.

The actress is currently working on a book, The Furry Door, to help women better recognise the signs of post-natal depression – something Jodi herself suffered with after Koa's birth. "I was so happy with this beautiful baby, I would look at Koa and I was so euphoric and so happy, but at the same time I didn’t like myself which was very strange," she said in a recent interview.

Jodi admitted she was going through a lot of upheaval and change at the time – including her mum's diagnosis – which she feels contributed to her condition. "Westlife ended, Wonderland [Jodi's former girl group] ended, a few friends left our lives, and my mum was sick so there was a lot of change."

Our thoughts are with Jodi and her family at this sad time.

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