'Plogging' mum is on a mission to tidy up her Shropshire town

A south Shropshire mum has picked up more than 13,000 pieces of litter in the last year – and wants others to join her.

Helen Morris, 42, from Cleobury Mortimer, learnt about ‘plogging’ on Instagram (litter picking while running) and has picked up the majority of the litter she has collected during runs, carrying a small bag which she empties into bins en route.

Helen has started the Facebook group Keep Cleobury Tidy, to encourage others to join her, and the Cleobury Mortimer Litter Impact Project to raise awareness of the environmental impact of litter. She is working with the town council to provide litter picking equipment for the community.

Mum of two Helen said: “I have never been a person who would drop litter but I didn't take a particular interest in it either. I guess like most people I didn't really see it or give it a second thought. I have been on the odd litter pick and when a running club member planned one for May 2020 I planned to go along.

"We all know how plans for 2020 went but as we couldn't do the group pick I decided to order some litter pickers from the internet and go anyway with the kids."

Helen with some of the litter she has found

With less work due to Covid, and her children returning to school in September, Helen began devoting more time to litter picking.

“I count every piece of litter I collect and by the end of 2020 I was up to 13,000 pieces," she said. "I wanted to find a way to encourage more people to pick up litter as well as getting people not to drop it in the first place. I had the idea of running a monthly photo competition for 2021 and Cleobury Mortimer Litter Impact Project was born.

“The idea is that people submit images to the Facebook page and the best one each month wins a prize, sponsored by local people and businesses. The image could be a photo, a drawing, poster or piece of art, a computer generated image, anything that can be shared publicly to make people think. It's early days but I'm starting to get a sense of others in the community who really care about this issue and want to work together to take care of our local towns and villages.”

If you are interested in sponsorship or getting involved, contact Helen through the Facebook group ‘Keep Cleobury Tidy’. Since starting the group, Helen has started working with local artist Lisa Halliday on some positive signage about keeping our town tidy and is working with the town council regarding equipment for future group litter picks.

Follow Helen’s litter picking journey on Instagram @tidygirltidywoman.

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