Three cheers for 300,000 litter stars as the Great British Spring Clean passes milestone

Three cheers for 300,000 litter stars as the Great British Spring Clean passes an astonishing new milestone

  • More than 300,000 volunteers have signed up for the Great British Spring Clean 
  • Volunteer numbers received a significant boost from schools and councils  
  • UK’s largest banks incl. Lloyds Banking Group also answered the call to action 

More than 300,000 volunteers have signed up to take part in the Great British Spring Clean – each providing an extra pair of hands in the nationwide tidy-up.

The milestone figure was surpassed yesterday – less than a month after the first call went out for recruits to join the clean-up campaign, which the Daily Mail is running in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy.

A staggering 309,812 of you have now signed up to take part in the month-long initiative, running from March 20 to April 13, after a boost in numbers from Britain’s biggest housebuilder.

Top team: Sadie Hall and mother Caroline 

Barratt Developments pledged 6,500 staff to join in the fight against discarded rubbish and is planning a litter-pick on the banks of the Grand Union Canal, in Hayes, west London, a trouble spot for littering by walkers and canal-side drinkers.

Chief executive David Thomas said: ‘We’re delighted to support the Daily Mail’s Great British Spring Clean campaign. Across the country our teams get volunteering leave and are already encouraged to use it for litter-picking and clearing public space. We want to play our part in making Britain beautiful which is why we’re backing this great campaign.’

Last year the Great British Spring Clean enlisted almost 600,000 people across the country to take part in litter-picks. This was a huge rise on 2018, when 370,000 people took part collecting rubbish at 13,500 events across the UK.

This year, however, we would like to go above and beyond – surpassing 600,000 and hoping to get as close to a million volunteers as possible.

Walk in the park: Daniel Walker, eight, picks up litter every day after school

Walk in the park: Daniel Walker, eight, picks up litter every day after school

Last night Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: ‘To recruit more than 300,000 Litter Heroes within four weeks of launching the campaign is astonishing.

‘It shows just how much people care about protecting our environment and are willing to do something that will make a visible difference.

‘But we need more people to join them. Whether it’s organising a community clean-up or simply pledging to pick up some litter as you go about your daily life, everyone can support the Great British Spring Clean.

‘Our environment needs us all to show it some love and the Great British Spring Clean is the perfect way to do just that.’

Volunteer numbers have already received a significant boost from the likes of schools and councils across the country. The National Trust put out a call to action to its 5.5million members, while McDonald’s pledged 2,500 staff members to take part in litter-picks around its branches after admitting it ‘could do more’ to tackle the issue of litter.

The UK’s largest banks have also answered the call to action. Lloyds Banking Group, Santander, HSBC and Nationwide have all pledged thousands of employees to volunteer. And the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has even urged Christians to ‘litter-pick for Lent’. For the first time the Church of England called for its members to do something for the environment for Lent instead of more traditional gestures.

All hail the half-term heroes 

By Lizzie Dean and Kumail Jaffer  

It’s not how every child would choose to spend their precious half-term. But these ‘little pickers’ have put their peers – and parents – to shame by using their time off school to clean up the country.

Eight-year-old Daniel Walker was spurred to act by a single discarded Tesco bag – and has now raised thousands of pounds for a local hospice through his clean-up operation ‘Litter Busters’.

‘I just wanted to save the animals from harm by stopping rubbish from going into the ocean. From that first bag, I now pick up litter every day after school and sometimes on weekends,’ Daniel said. With the help of his mother Natalie, and the council providing the necessary equipment, Daniel is helping to transform his local area of Great Notley, Essex – earning him a Keep Britain Tidy award this month.

Braintree councillor Wendy Schmitt described the schoolboy as a ‘true role model’ and said she ‘could not think of a more worthy winner’ than Daniel.

His efforts are matched by those of nine-year-old Sadie Hall. She suffers from a rare genetic disorder that affects just 16 other people worldwide – and when piles of rubbish in her local park threatened her exercise routine, which is essential for keeping her muscles strong, she decided to take action.

Along with mother Caroline, Sadie began picking up litter as she went on her daily walk around Springwell and Monkton Dene parks in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear.

Before long, her dedication was turning heads in town – so Mrs Hall, 42, decided to set up the Primrose Parks Alliance in April last year, which attracts 60 volunteers to its litter-picks each month. Since then, the group has cleared up six tons of rubbish. Mrs Hall said: ‘Everyone’s on board and everyone knows Sadie because she’s the driving force behind the whole thing.’