FEEDING the swans on the Severn is a favourite past time - but a new project hopes to improve their diet as well as give something back.

Marilyn McCarthy, a Bishop's Wood Swan Rescue feeding volunteer, explained the swans were often hungry despite volunteers using loaves donated by Sainsbury's in St John's and people throwing bread.

Bread keeps the birds from starving as there is not enough plant life in the river for them but it is not their natural food and is quickly digested.

The project has created bags of feed especially for swans, ducks, coots and moorhens which is available from a number of shops.

Profits will go toward buying more swan food with any surplus money used for swan rescue's vet bills.

She said: "The swans are popular with locals and visitors.

"The peaceful sight of them below the Cathedral is one of the beauties of Worcester.

"If we want these lovely creatures here, we need to look after them as well as we can."

“It would be fantastic if lots of people would help by buying a bag for their walks along the river.

"Swans moult in summer and can’t fly.

"Good nutrition means they grow healthy feathers to keep out winter’s cold and wet."

The first batch of feed sold out from Worcester Cathedral gift shop within 48 hours and since then the pellets, costing £1.50, have also been stocked in Café Severn on the Quay, Croft Road, Trinity Pet Shop, Trinity Street, Nature’s Way, Foregate Street, Diglis House Hotel, gift shop Swan on Friar Street and Birch Hill Dog Rescue charity shop in the Reindeer Shopping Centre.

Retailers and people wishing to take part should call Marilyn on 01905 354274 or 07742295149.