A new Wiltshire Councillor is encouraging residents to attend a river blessing as he believes they are sentient beings.

The event will be held on Saturday, March 16, and will see the Bishop of Ramsbury, Andrew Rumsey, bless the river Marden in Calne, along with shamanic practitioner Kate Dineen.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert MacNaughton was recently elected to represent Calne Chilvester & Abberd and has a 10-year background in Druidry.

He is inviting residents to join the blessing on Saturday, which will include Japanese drumming, Morris dancing, and a children’s raft race.

He said: “I feel very strongly that rivers are living beings.

“I feel very strongly that they have sentience, like trees.

“If we praise a river, or tree, or stream, or a boulder, then that energy is communicated and is beneficial to them.

“Rivers are being polluted by awful governments and awful corporations making lots of money, and that pollution is increasing.”

He added: “Whilst I can’t do anything about government policy, and nothing really about what the water companies are doing, I can, as an individual, be involved in praising rivers and I feel that has a positive effect on them.”

The event will be held at Marden House and Castlefields Park from 11.30am.