Sheffield friends tackling a 24-hour litter pick to raise money for city food banks

Two Sheffield friends are in training for a 24-hour sponsored litter pick to raise money for a city food bank.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 1:16 pm

Rebecca Watts and Sam Bough will take on the challenge on July 1 and 2. All proceeds from their fundraising will help fund Sheffield food banks.

They plan to start off at noon on July 1 at Manor Top, then at 2.30pm head to Darnall. After an hour’s break they will then travel to Gleadless for 6pm.

Then they will go to the Crystal Peaks area, finally heading to finish at Westfield from 9am to noon.Rebecca said: “We will have collection tins on the day and all the proceeds from these will go to the food banks in the areas we are visiting.

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Litter pickers Rebecca Watts, left, and Sam Bough with some of the rubbish they cleared on their 10.5-hour training session

“No family should have to go hungry and our ambition is to raise as much money as we can to help food banks support families in the six-week holidays.”

They also have a donations page set up at https://gofund.me/60ea28eb.

Rebecca, aged 36, from Renishaw and Sam, 38, who lives in Westfield, have been litter picking for two-and-a-half years.

Rebecca said: “We were out one day and were just chatting as we were picking. Sam said we could a sponsored litter pick and for some bizarre reason we decided to have a 24-hour one!

Some of the rubbish that Rebecca and Sam collected on their training run

"Not long after it was on the news and on social media about local businesses were providing food so that kids didn’t go hungry during the school holidays. We decided to put the two together and raise the money for a local food bank.”

The online funds will go to the S20 food bank at Westfield and the collection tin money will be split between food banks serving the areas where they are litter picking.

The duo work for Aviva in the complaints department and the firm gives staff three charity days to do fundraising. They both signed up for a team litter picking event in Gleadless and just carried on.

Aviva will match their fundraising total.

Rebecca says she goes out two to three times a week and she and Sam also set up a Facebook litter-picking group in S20 and S21, which now has 240 members. Smaller groups arrange to meet up and do their local areas.

She said: “It’s fantastic. I’ll be driving around in my car and think there’s some bags, someone's been collecting. I can’t go out in the car without seeing someone somewhere. It’s really good.”

Rebecca says that people often ask how to get going, so she has spare gear in her car. She said that local councils will provide anyone who wants to do litter picking with equipment.

Sam and Rebecca did a warm-up 10.5-hour pick to train for big challenge and cleared 40 bags of rubbish.

“In one place, Halfway Industrial Estate, we picked up 88 vodka bottles! It was shocking.”

She has also found toilets and even an entire bathroom suite once – as well as a dead dog.

Rebecca says she finds litter picking relaxing: “Work can be a bit stressful. If you do this you can completely switch off. It’s nice to get out and in the fresh air.”

Sam and Rebecca are happy for anyone to join them on the day. They might make a litter picker out of you!