GALLERY: Hitchin litter campaign huge success

A TOWN got a clean-up just in time for the jubilee weekend, as dozens of people joined together to help make the town a better place to live.

The Love Hitchin - pick up on litter campaign, organised by Hitchin Forum, resulted in groups in the town meeting at litter hotspots on Sunday to clear them of rubbish.

The biggest clean-up in the area saw around 30 people congregate in Cadwell Lane, with volunteers wading into the river and clearing bags of rubbish from the river and woodland walk.

The Cadwell clean-up was organised by Cllr Lisa Courts, with residents and community payback workers from Hertfordshire Probation Service helping out.

Ellie Clarke, from Hitchin Forum, organised the overall campaign. She said: “This is a particularly lovely hidden corner of Hitchin. We found crayfish in the river, lots of creepy crawlies in the woodland, saw a kingfisher and a red kite while we were working.

“It was incredibly rewarding because we had people in the river clearing blockages created by falling trees which had trapped litter; the river was flowing much better by the time we’d finished.”

Groups were also out on Purwell meadows, Ransom’s Rec, Bancroft Rec, the areas behind Dacre and Radcliffe roads, the Triangle area, Hitchin Hill and Park Gate, and Portmill Lane.

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Volunteers from the Triangle Community Garden also joined in, and on Friday, a group of people including Cllr Deborah Segalini and Comet reporter Laura Burge met to tidy an alleyway in the Bearton area of the town.

“What has been interesting is finding out the areas that people care about and want improved,” added Mrs Clarke.

“It became clear quite early on that most residential streets are pretty litter free, and the council should be complimented for that, because that is a marked change from our last campaign in 2008.

“We’re very pleased that the town will be much more presentable for the Jubilee celebrations. This has been a tremendous community effort, with lots of support and enthusiasm and sheer hard work. It has also brought neighbours together who would not normally meet up like this.

“There were several small celebrations after the clean-ups finished, with picnics in the park and a bit of bubbly, so I guess the jubilee celebrations have already begun in Hitchin!”

The campaign was a partnership between several different bodies. Hitchin Motorcare gave a cash donation for equipment, M&J Hire provided a skip for metal, and Brookers and Cadwell Joinery donated equipment.

The town-wide project was also supported by Hitchin Initiative and the Comet, with North Herts District Council providing black bags and litter pickers.

• To view a gallery of pictures, click on the link in the top right-hand corner.