A FORMER Olympic canoe coach who is using his love of the water to raise awareness of climate change is trying to get support from the royal family.

David Train, who was born in Stockton, is calling on world leaders to sign his Paddle for Life – a wooden canoe paddle which he is hoping to use a symbol to spread his message.

Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron have all signed his paddle, as well as current PM Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, European leaders and numerous Tees Valley politicians.

But Mr Train is now attempting his biggest challenge so far by asking the Queen and Prince Philip to support his project.

In recent months, he has also attempted to contact American president Donald Trump and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and last year, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added his signature to the paddle.

Mr Train is hoping the project will be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

As part of the project, he is hoping to create a voyage and regatta before every Olympics, and will promote the Tees Valley as the starting point for his revolution.

Last year, the United Nations published a report warning that if the world is to keep global warming to no more that 1.5 degrees celsius, it will require”unprecedented” effort over just 12 years – which Mr Train described as an Olympian task.

In his letter to the Queen, Mr Train said: “Despite Brexit, we have never lost sight of the bigger picture and we believe that, with your help, our vision can be used to bring all of Britain together after Brexit.

“Like you, I was a child in WW2 and my identity was shaped by sharing the same story of how we in Britain, united and working together with a common purpose, stood alone against evil.

“It was such an Olympian common purpose that, having won the war, just as it is with Olympians who retire, we have had a massive problem ever since in defining our identity and future role in the world.

“We in Britain can set about bringing all the world on board to tackle the climate change problem. Prince Charles, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex, his Commonwealth envoys, can give the ideas to all the Commonwealth leaders, as we look forward to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge can give the ideas to President Macron for the Paris Olympics and the Princess Royal can bring the whole Olympic movement on board through the IOC.

“Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be part of a much greater shared story than ours and be much happier having a great shared purpose.”

Mr Train spent 12 years as a Great Britain Olympic canoe coach and helped the teams who competed at the Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta games between 1984 and 1996.

He was responsible for designing the first Bell Boat, which helps to encourage people to take up water sports.