Marsh Award for a Beautiful and Litter-Free Countryside

This new award is for volunteers who have worked to reduce litter in the countryside, in a sustainable way that engages others and has a real impact on their local area. There are two categories in the award- one for an individual working within CPRE, and one for an individual or group working outside of CPRE.

The 2013 winners are Julie Hepworth and Nick Pickles

Marsh Award for a Beautiful and Litter-Free Countryside – Julie Hepworth

Julie volunteers with CPRE Ryedale District in North Yorkshire and is the driving force behind the Pickering Litter Pickers. This is a group working to clean up rubbish from Pickering, a beautiful market town on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, and the surrounding countryside.

Julie has also worked tirelessly to create campaigns to educate young and old members of the public about not dropping rubbish in the first place. She has involved local children in her campaigning by taking the litter campaign into local schools and working with young people groups such as the scouts. Julie was one of the key people behind the famous “Rubbish Song’, written by a local school teacher. The song was recorded on a CD by the children of St Joseph’s RC Primary school children from a choir in Malton and Stop the Drop campaigners and the Thornton le Dale Litter Pick Campaign, and was sent to other primary schools in the area to be used as an educational tool.

Julie Hepworth’s campaign to stop the drop in Pickering has also inspired and encouraged other branches of CPRE in the area and she takes the time to coach other CPRE groups in organising litter campaigns.

Marsh Award for a Beautiful and Litter-Free Countryside - Nick Pickles

Nick is responsible for creating the BeachCare group, a litter picking team which tackles the issue of marine debris and litter in Polzeath. Before Nick’s involvement, there was no other local involvement and now a monthly clean-up is in place. As the beach is only cleaned by the Council in the summer period, Nick’s group has stepped in to remove unsightly litter throughout the winter and complement the Council’s work in the summer.

Nick has engaged with local residents, schools and businesses and got them to see the beach area differently. Three local schools, which have always utilised the area for games, are now involved. Nick supervises beach cleans, and talks to his groups before each event, to educate them and encourage the prevention of littering. Previously businesses generally used the beach as a commercial opportunity and were not engaged in protecting it but now members of various local businesses have got involved and are starting to take ownership of the problem. This is all in addition to his regular monthly cleans that are now routine for local residents.

In addition to his Polzeath group, Nick volunteers for the National Trust in environmental activities and is a key member of the Polzeath voluntary Marine Conservation area group. Nick’s contributions to Plozeath have been key in protecting the environmental beauty of the area and all that it has to offer for its local residents.

Pictured above: Nick Pickles and the BeachCare Group on Polzeath Beach, photograph credited to Jane Pickles


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