Ian Davies, Founder, 'Tisza Tidy Up' Project

  • 14 Apr 2021 12:00 PM
Ian Davies, Founder, 'Tisza Tidy Up' Project
Following my retirement from the UK Fire Service, we relocated with our young family to Hungary to be closer to my wife's family and enjoy a quieter life in her hometown of Csongrád. It’s a great town blessed with the confluence of two great rivers, the Körös and Tisza, which of course eventually reach the Danube.

In the summer months the river levels here drop exposing a large expanse of sandy beach. Unfortunately the Tisza has in the past, and recently, suffered high levels of pollution due to high water levels upstream.

Following a morning walk with our children we witnessed the large amounts of waste that was in the river flow and coming ashore. We decided to act with the aim of cleaning it up and organised a week long clean up event.

After that success, which was supported by many local volunteers, the feeling was that more work was needed and we should keep up the good work. So we formed the Tisza Tidy Up group on Facebook which helps to focus on our aims to keep the riverbank clean, as well as highlighting environmental and recycling issues.

We still have much work to do here and look forward to future projects with environmental education in mind...you can see a video about work done so far here:

Watch: English Expat In Hungary Cleaning Tisza Riverbank At Csongrád

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?

April 2018, just in time for spring and summer. We came following my retirement from the fire service, looking to be closer to my wife Edina’s family and for the love of a great town, Csongrád.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

Yes, as a child my parents were teachers to children of Armed Forces personnel so we lived in Malta, Singapore and Germany. I later served for 6 years in the Royal Air Force, 4 of those years back in Germany.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?

Not really surprising but the welcoming friendliness of locals.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do? 

Just take a walk and explore and at the end of the day when you can walk no more visit a spa.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?

My Mother-in-Laws home cooking, my favourite being stuffed cabbage.

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?

My children.

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?


8. What do you miss most from home? 

Friday night curry nights with my friends. Family and friends.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

In a younger life conflict photojournalism, although autobiographies I have read suggest the mental scars might outweigh the job satisfaction.

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?

I would consider anything…….maybe not a football manager!

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?

Slovenia at Lake Bohinj. Stunning scenery and a pristine environment.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?

Somewhere with mountains, lakes and rivers, maybe Italy or Austria.

13. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?

A good cake.

14. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?

The Clash, Billy Bragg, Joy Division and many more….. Papillon for a film and I used to photograph bands as a hobby.

15. Red wine or white?


16. Book or movie?

A good book.

17. Morning person or night person?

After a cup of tea my mornings are good.

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?


19. Buda or Pest side?

Buda for the stunning views from the Fishermans Bastion.

20. What would you say is your personal motto? 

"Imagination creates reality” - Richard Wagner.

  • How does this interview make you feel?