Ottery resident spearheads tidy up

Mandy Ward collected this rubbish after a run through the Land of Canaan in Ottery.

Mandy Ward collected this rubbish after a run through the Land of Canaan in Ottery. - Credit: Archant

An Ottery runner has received ‘overwhelming’ support from residents and local groups to a community campaign to tidy up the town.

Mandy Ward was running through the Land of Canaan on Sunday with her partner when she noticed rubbish along the pathway and stream. She returned the same day and collected two bags of rubbish in half an hour.

The primary school teacher then took to social media to ask residents if they would be interested in taking part in a bigger clean-up and was blown away by the response.

Mandy said: “We regularly run or walk around about Ottery. Following the shocking campaigns in the media about how our disposable lifestyles and use of plastic in particular are affecting the environment, especially the rivers and oceans, we’ve noticed the amount of rubbish in the hedgerows and along river locally.

“We live with a river on our doorstep, and all that stuff is eventually going to end up in the ocean.”

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After lots of comments and personal messages, Mandy has now arranged a clean-up starting at the Land of Canaan car park at 11am on Sunday, February 11, and hopes it will be the first of many to come.

“I would definitely like to do more clean ups,” she said. “It has to be about changing people’s mindsets by doing little things.

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“Everyone has been really positive and will come along and help. I’m not doing it for any recognition - I was thinking what can we do? Let’s do it and get people on board.”

The 50-year-old thanked local businesses and groups donating hi-vis jackets and litter pickers to volunteers and said the clean had already brought the community together.

Mayor Glyn Dobson praised residents for getting behind the idea and showing pride in the town. He said: “I think it is a brilliant idea, the community has rallied and get it going.”

Mandy has asked residents to check for updates on Facebook group Ottery Matters and to message her if they are coming to the event.

Anyone interested in helping are asked to come along wearing suitable clothing and bring bags, gloves and hi-vis jackets if they have them.

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