This is Pat, our champion litter picker; yesterday was her 91st birthday.
Several times a week, including almost every Sunday morning, Pat walks around the park picking up the litter that other people have left behind. In all weathers, she wades through the nettles looking for discarded beer cans; she scours the woods for abandoned vodka bottles and climbs through the undergrowth to reach the plastic bags of dog poop that some dog walkers can’t be bothered to carry to the next bin; she wages war against the ubiquitous wet-wipe and plastic containers of all kinds. Without her, the park would be a far less beautiful place.
However, Pat is filled with optimism: she says she believes that people have learned to value the park for the precious resource it is and that they are taking better care of it now than ever before. This winter, despite the huge increase in the number of walkers, there have been times when her bin bag has been almost empty.
Pat is a wonderful example to us all: we should just get on with the job and do the things that we know need to be done. Yesterday, on Pat’s birthday, as if on cue, we received a picture from Julie Newblé of her daughter Amelia, with this message:
“Amelia is eight years old and regularly collects litter around the park. She asked for the litter picker for her last birthday present!”
This is the next generation, learning from Pat to look after our environment.
Thank you, Pat, for all your diligence and hard work and for showing us that even the enormous task of repairing the world’s ecosystems begins at home, with the thing that needs to be done right now.