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Litter awards look to expand their reach

The organisers of the Ilkley Litter Picker of the Year Awards are planning to approach councils in Otley and Skipton following the success of the inaugural event.

The awards have been so well received that Thomas Black, the local businessman behind the idea, believes the concept could be rolled out to other parish and town council areas.

“We’re delighted with how it has gone,” he said. “The awards have recognised those who do the litter picking but, we hope, they have also reminded people to think carefully about how they dispose of their litter. We’re not expecting to change the world, but small steps like these help improve the environment and every bit helps.”

More than 40 people took part in a litter pick on Ilkley Moor, followed by the awards ceremony. A one hour litter pick produced more than 20 bags of rubbish from the Cow and Calf Rocks area.

“I think the fact that more than 20 bags of litter were picked in barely an hour emphasises how much of a problem littering is. In the week that the town has been named by the Sunday Times as the best place to live in the UK, I think we owe a debt of gratitude to these people,” added Mr Black.

More than 50 nominations were received for the three categories.

The winner of the 5-11 year olds award was Milo Mills, a pupil at Ashlands Primary School in Ilkley.

Milo has been a driving force behind a litter-picking group which he started at the school three years ago. He received a certificate, a personal cheque for £50 and a further £50 to be donated to The Friends of Ashlands.

The winner of the 12-18 year olds section was Alexander Hughes from Burley in Wharfedale who set the wheels in motion for a village-wide litter-picking group which led to the creation of the Wharfedale Wombles.

Alexander’s charity of choice was the Burley in Wharfedale Community Trust.

The adult award was won jointly by husband and wife team Moo Ping Vivienne and Jolyon West. The pair are well known in Ilkley and litter pick virtually every day and in all weathers. Between them, they received more than half of the nominations in the adult category.

Together with a certificate, they each received £125 to donate to a charity of their choice.

Moo Ping opted for the Ilkley Bandstand, whilst Jolyon donated his funds to the Friends of Ilkley Moor.

Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Black said he was grateful to Ilkley Town Council for its support for the awards and, in particular, Coun Owen Wells who is in charge of tackling litter in the town. Mr Black also praised the wider, and often unseen, efforts of the town council and Bradford District Council to tackle littering.

“Often the work that the councils and the council drivers do in tackling litter goes unnoticed, but they deserve enormous credit,” he said.

“We will now take time to review how these first litter picker awards have gone before looking to speak to the town councils in places like Otley and Skipton. I hope they will see the merit in celebrating the community efforts to keep our part of the world looking tidy and, perhaps, embrace the idea of having their own awards,” he added.

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