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The Big Tidy Up: Friends of Douglas Valley dust off their litter-pickers
Wednesday 21st April, 2010

The Big Tidy Up: Friends of Douglas Valley dust off their litter-pickers
Friends of Douglas Valley group in jubilant mood.

When friends get together, you expect some light-hearted banter, shared camaraderie and mutual solidarity. And it was no different for the Friends of Douglas Valley when they met up recently to combat what they recognise as a common enemy - the local litter lout.

The 32-strong group spent Saturday carrying out a litter pick in the Douglas Valley, Whelley as part of the Big Tidy Up Ė Keep Britain Tidyís national clean up campaign.

The area they targeted leads down to River Douglas and is a popular route for locals and visitors alike, as it one of the main entrances to the plantations.

However, the attractive woodland, which is just a few minutes walk from Wigan town centre, has been ruined by large amounts of litter, with cans, plastic bags, sweet wrappers, plastic bottles and broken glass bottles left discarded, blighting the beauty spot. Fly tipping and dog fouling are also a problem.

Armed with litter pickers, gloves and bags provided by Wigan Councilís Environmental Education team, the group collected over 50 bags of litter.

The clean up was also supported by Wigan Athletic, who rewarded each volunteer with two free tickets each to see Wigan play at home at the DW Stadium against Portsmouth.

John Belshaw, from Friends of Douglas Valley, is passionate about the area and is committed to preserving its natural beauty. The anti-litter crusader, who recently won the Wigan Life Award in the Green and Glorious category in recognition of his efforts, says:

"I would like to thank Wigan Council, Keep Britain Tidy and Wigan Athletic for their support with our clean up. I would also like to thank all the volunteers who helped on the day. Our group is keen to spread the message of the importance of keeping our area tidy and intend to carry out further litter picks in the future.í

Nick Burdekin, from Wigan Council's Environmental Education Team, says:

"Wigan Council is keen to assist any local community groups or individuals when it comes to carrying out their own clean ups or any other environmental improvements. Without the help of volunteers we wonít have the quality of open spaces we all deserve because we donít have the capacity to get to the hard to reach places, so our thanks go to all those who got involved in this event."

Mario Melchiot, Wigan Athleticís Captain, says:

"Itís great to see groups and individuals like this who are obviously committed to improving their environment for the benefit of everyone. We are really impressed with the hard work and commitment shown by the Friends of Douglas Valley and are more than happy to support them."

Anyone can take part in a Big Tidy Up - either individuals wanting to clean a local grot spot or as part of a larger group such as local residents, uniformed groups, businesses, schools and church groups. All are welcome to come together, have fun and make a real difference to the local community by carrying out a Big Tidy Up. If you or your group would like to get involved, just log on to www.thebigtidyup.org to register your details.

You can also contact Wigan Councilís Environmental Education Team for more information on 01942 488222.

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