A FORMER Olympic canoe coach who is using his love of the water to raise awareness of climate change is seeking permission from Parliament for his latest project.

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's latest vision, which he describes as the "simplest and greatest" he has ever had, will see him seek permission from staff at Westminster Palace, Downing Street and Buckingham to raise two sea signalling flags with the initials WE.

As single flags W signals, Urgent Medical Attention Needed and E signals Changing Course To Starboard – the rule on water to avoid a collision.

Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, said she was "interested" in the idea and hoped Mr Train would get a positive response from Speaker John Bercow.

Mr Train said: "We need to get the message to our children and young people, and we need a strong signal from those at the very top of out system that they are on board and paddling with us for the decades it will take us if we are to save the day for humanity."

Ms Perry said: "I am proud that the UK is a global leader in the fight against climate change. We must prepare our ecosystems so we can look the next generation in the eye and say for your future we protected Planet A because there is no Planet B."

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.

He is hoping his Paddle for Life project will be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024, and as part of the project, he is hoping to create a regatta before every Olympics, and will promote the Tees Valley as the starting point for his revolution.