VOLUNTEERS cleared rubbish along a distance equivalent of more than 100 miles - picking up everything from Christmas trees to broken bicycles.

Colchester Civic Society volunteers collected a total of 45 bags during Keep Britain Tidy’s annual Great British Spring Clean event.

This was more than double the 19 bags members collect last year and included 110 discarded face masks.

There were two main collecting days undertaken by nine members on the first day and seven on the second, with one member doing an individual rubbish collection over a week.

In total the volunteers gave up 36 hours of their time to spruce up Colchester.

Members litter pick on a regular basis throughout the year, with some individual members lovingly dedicating spare time to their own area.

John Collett said in addition to the year-round litter picking it had been decided to specifically support Keep Britain Tidy’s 2021 “million mile mission”, which aimed to collect rubbish from a million miles in the UK in two weeks.

He said: “This year we set out to better our achievement of 19 bags last year.

“We excelled by equalising that with 19 bags from the first pick and then 26 bags on the second pick last Thursday, of which ten were bags picked up individually by one member during the week.

“This represents a total of 36 person hours, and equates to 108 miles cleared of litter.”

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All full bags were taken to the former Bus Station site off Queen Street where they were collected by Colchester Council.

Mr Collett added: “In addition to lots of rubbish which people litter our streets and public areas, there were also a few larger items of rubbish including a Christmas tree, a broken bicycle, the remains of some burned timber and an Essex County Council highways sign retrieved from the river mud at East Bay.

“We also picked up 110 single-use face masks.”

Jo Edwards, Chair of Colchester Civic Society, added: “We work closely with Colchester Council’s Litter Warriors and Colchester Litter Pickers.

“The Civic Society would be pleased to hear from those interested in supporting the diverse work the society does, not just litter picking.”

Visit www.colchestercivicsociety.co.uk.