Leighton Buzzard girls save the day with litter pick after overflowing park bins weren't emptied for two weeks

Kind-hearted schoolgirls Annabel and Ava wanted to make the park "clean, tidy and safe" for the community and local wildlife

Friday, 16th April 2021, 5:00 pm

Two determined Leighton Buzzard girls took it upon themselves to tidy their local play park after the bins hadn't been emptied by Catalyst Housing for at least two weeks.

Annabel Edmonds, four, and her friend Ava Llewellyn, five, walked around the big play park on the Rutherford fields estate on April 4 and picked up litter that had overflowed from its two bins or been chucked away by careless visitors.

The mini environmentalists were upset by the state of the park and wanted to make sure that it was a safe place for children, families and wildlife.

Ava and Annabel took it upon themselves to tidy the play park.

Annabel's proud mum Claire Hazelden, 28, told the LBO: "We didn't even say anything, it was lovely. I was in the park with Ava's mum when they approached us and said: 'Look at all this rubbish in the park! Let's pick it up and get rid of it'. So we gave them some bin bags, and they just went around and picked it up.

"We felt so proud; it was amazing.

"I praised Annabel for the whole day, saying it was such a good thing they had done, to pick up rubbish and recycle to save the environment."

Meanwhile, Claire had been on her own mission to try and find out who was responsible for emptying the bins, which she claims were in a disgusting state, with one even having a dirty nappy hanging from it. There had also been a recent incident involving an office chair, which had been dumped in the park, then smashed by teenagers and not removed for a few days.

Claire told the newspaper that she was sent "back and forth and back and forth" between Catalyst Housing and Central Bedfordshire Council, with both saying that it was the other's responsibility.

However, on yet another phone call to Catalyst Housing, she was finally given an explanation.

Claire claimed: "They said that they had a groundsman but that he had been on holiday for two weeks. But I said 'That's not OK, you need to find someone to cover for him!'

"They said that they were really sorry and that it wouldn't happen again.

"If it does, we know it's down to Catalyst."

Annabel, who attends Leedon Lower School, and Ava, who attends Heathwood Lower School, hope to inspire people to take care of the environment and look after their play parks.

Claire added: "I'm very encouraging in terms of recycling and Annabel understands that we need to think about it. She's got a younger sister as well, and Annabel tells me: 'Mum, we can't let Florence on the floor. There's bottles and plastic and she'll eat it and get poorly.'

"Annabel also tells me that if litter gets into the ocean the animals will eat it.

"'Why don't people pick up their rubbish and put it in the bin?' she asks.

"So I say, 'Because not everyone's as nice as you!'

A spokeswoman from Catalyst Housing Ltd, said: “We’re very sorry that the park hasn’t been kept up to the standard that customers should expect it to be. Since the issue has been highlighted we have put in place some changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“As a thank you to Annabel and Ava for clearing up the rubbish we’d like to offer them a voucher each as a token of our appreciation for their kindness and hard work."