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

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 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 getting American president Donald Trump to support his project.

He has also sent a letter to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in a bid to spread the message across America, and last month, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added his signature to the paddle.

Last month, 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

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.

Mr Train said: "Jeremy Corbyn recently said that the greatest threat we face is man made climate change, and in a recent speech Theresa May announced that we should hold a national festival to bring the country together after Brexit.

"I agree with both and the solution is to hold a series of local water based festival that millions can take part in, carrying the message that we can and will tackle the climate change problem and inspiring the rest of the world to do the same, with Tees Valley leading the way."

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 with its focus on large groups and team work.

Mr Train said: "Whatever we do, the battle against climate change cannot be won without the wholehearted support of the President of the United States.

"We need to inspire President Trump on board. It may seem an impossible task but we have to try and I believe with the help of Meghan Markle we can do it."