A massive ‘thank you’ has gone out to the heroes of this year’s Big Spring Clean who helped clear tonnes of rubbish and litters from streets, parks and open spaces.

Organised by LitterFree Durham and Darlington, in partnership with Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council, the Big Spring Clean ran from 19 February until 15 April with litter picking events across the area.

More than 1,090 volunteers took part in 68 events across Darlington borough donating in excess of 1,150 hours of their time to clean up streets, parks and green spaces. A huge 1,102 bags of litter were collected along with around 3 tonnes of bulky waste items in our area alone.

Meanwhile, in the County Durham area 3,041 volunteers took part in 204 litter picks and donated more than 5,267 hours of their time. In total, 3,021 bags of rubbish were collected.

Cllr Gerald Lee, chairman of LitterFree Durham and Darlington, said:

“LitterFree Durham & Darlington’s Big Spring Clean has now been running for more than ten years and every year the numbers of volunteers who take part keep increasing.

“This year was no exception and it’s wonderful that so many people in Darlington and across County Durham take a pride and ownership in their own communities by taking action themselves. Our thanks go out to each and every one of them. ”

Cllr Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for leisure and the local environment, added:

“We’re incredibly grateful to all our litter heroes who took part in this year’s Big Spring Clean and to the growing army of Street Champions and others who help keep our streets clean year round.

“Litter is an ongoing problem for us all and we all need to play our part – by not dropping litter in the first place and, by taking positive action when we do see it and picking it up.”

In addition to organising the Big Spring Clean, LitterFree Durham and Darlington puts a lot of importance in educating schoolchildren about the consequences of dropping litter. This year the chairman Cllr Lee has spoken to 635 pupils at schools in the area, making the total over the years in excess of 16,000 in Darlington and County Durham.

This year’s Big Spring Clean may now be over but you can still do your bit to help look after #OurStreets by becoming a Street Champion, organising your own litter pick or just picking up any litter you spot and putting it in a bin – if everyone picked up just one piece of litter a day it could make a huge difference.

Details of the Council’s street cleaning and litter bin emptying schedule can be found at www.darlington.gov.uk/ourstreets and for information on how you can help keep ‘Our Streets’ clean and how to organise a litter pick log onto the website at www.darlington.gov.uk/litterpick – don’t forget to tell us, and others, about your efforts on social media using the #OurStreets hashtag.