Volunteers brave cold to Clean for Queen

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Despite a bitingly-cold northern wind, and a threat of snow, hundreds of volunteers took to the streets to tidy up for the Queen.

Hundreds of Clean for the Queen events took place over the past three days, with scores of events happening in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.

Volunteers from Lee-on-the-Solent at the beach

Volunteers from Lee-on-the-Solent at the beach

The aim was to tidy up ahead of the Queen’s 90th birthday on April 21, which will be officially celebrated in June.

Among the litter pickers were Tory MPs including Gosport’s Caroline Dinenage and Fareham’s Suella Fernandes.

Ms Dinenage was helping a group organised by Solent Environmental Action which was tackling litter in Walpole Park, Gosport, on Saturday morning.

She said: ‘We do quite a lot of this activity here in Gosport and we always manage to pick up so much.

Pupils and staff from Rachel Madocks School in Eagle Avenue Cowplain head off to clean up the area near to their school as part of their 'World of Work' 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (160304-9282)

Pupils and staff from Rachel Madocks School in Eagle Avenue Cowplain head off to clean up the area near to their school as part of their 'World of Work' Picture: Malcolm Wells (160304-9282)

‘This is rubbish that if we weren’t picking up, the country would be doing it at an enormous cost, which could be better spent on schools and hospitals.

‘So not only is it the right thing to do – making the country look clean and tidy – but it is also saving the country a fortune.

‘However, there are some amazing volunteers in the Gosport community who come out and do this all the time, so hats off to them.’

Organiser Jeanette Perry said she was delighted to see so many people helping out.

Queen for the Clean volunteers with Liz Allen, centre, from The Boeing Company at Wicor Recreation Ground in Portchester 
Picture: Malcolm Wells (160305-9652)

Queen for the Clean volunteers with Liz Allen, centre, from The Boeing Company at Wicor Recreation Ground in Portchester Picture: Malcolm Wells (160305-9652)

She said: ‘It is so good to get the whole of the country involved. It’s normally just a little group doing their area but it’s nice this has spread across the whole country.’

People of all ages joined in.

Ernie Smith, 73, from Forton Road, was picking up the trash, alongside 10-year-old Oliver Perry.

Mr Smith said: ‘I’ve come out for the exercise and to get it cleaned up. Everybody should made to clean up their rubbish, there’s enough bins.’

Other litter picks in Gosport left from the ferry terminal, Stokes Bay, Haslar Lake shoreline, in Bridgemary and Lee-on-the-Solent.

Helping on the beach at Stokes Bay was the Friends of Stokes Bay group and Alverstoke WI.

Aloysia Worthington, from Gosport, said: ‘It has been amazing.’

She often cleans the beach and said she has found wet wipes, ropes and dog faeces tied to bushes in bags.

Miss Fernandes joined an army of litter pickers who left from Portchester Recreation Ground, also on Saturday.

Other clean-ups also took place in Waterlooville yesterday and in Medina Road, Cosham and Portchester Precinct on Friday.

Terry Smith, co-organiser of Waterlooville Clean for the Queen, said: ‘People need to think twice about just throwing their rubbish down.

‘Drivers who are just passing through don’t think twice about throwing their rubbish out of the window.

‘We are certainly making a big difference today.’

Gary Hughes, Purbrook councillor, agreed.

He said: ‘We always get a great amount of support on our litter picks from people who volunteer their own time to help their community to be a nicer place to live.’

Many schools organised events for Friday, including Woodcot Primary School, in Gosport, and Rachel Madocks School, in Waterlooville.

Nationally, more than one million people joined in the litter pick, making it the country’s largest-ever clean-up event. Prime minister David Cameron took part, as did Mayor of London Boris Johnson.