OXCLEAN members have been picking up litter from across Oxford in their annual Spring Clean drive.

But one Blackbird Leys resident has made it his mission to keep the estates and allotments in his community tidy all year round.


Paul Brackett, above, has been picking up litter and keeping the area in peak condition for the last seven years.

He said: “Litter was a major problem We had a lot dumped all over the Blackbird Leys estate and the Sorrel Road allotments.

“I walked my dog and granddaughter around and saw there was a major problem. I used to hate going past it every day.”

The Thistle Drive resident said: “Over the years, there got more and more litter. The wind blows it in and people leave it there.”

So he decided to start cleaning up the litter that he saw while walking around the area, and this year he arranged for Oxclean, a group run by the Oxford Civic Society, to help. A team of six volunteers spent two days picking litter from Dunnock Way, in Gillians Park and Frys Hill Park.

Oxclean organiser Rosanne Bostock said: “We managed to get 50 or 60 bags full.

“Superficially Blackbird Leys is very clean, but the the undergrowth and so on is full of rubbish.”

The North Oxford resident said: “The council are going to a lot of trouble to make it look a nice area, the residents are working and bringing up children there as a community - it’s very charming.

“But getting people to come out and pick up the litter is a bit of a problem. I think they should bring skips into Blackbird Leys so people can dump their rubbish there rather than in the fields.”

Mr Brackett, 54, said: “When you walk past and see hundreds of alcohol cans staring back at you, you can’t keep walking.

“It’s just about giving a few hours for a few days a year in your local area. You can’t just leave it piling up.’’ Mr Brackett is well known through the area for his litter picking.

Northfield Brook councillor Steve Curran said: “I absolutely commend Paul, if every person had the view that if they saw a bit of litter they picked it up there would obviously be a major improvement.”

Mr Curran also helped the Oxclean volunteers pick up litter, but denied that the estate has a big litter problem. He said: “Blackbird Leys is a major estate in Oxford with a huge population, and for that reason you find there’s rubbish where it shouldn’t be. It’s the same across the city.”

Oxclean volunteer Ros Weatherall said: “Litter gives a poor impression of the city.

“I hope people will notice that we’ve been there and tidy it up a little more. If places are tidy, people don’t drop so much litter.”

Mr Brackett, however, is not looking for any recognition. “It is self-rewarding, when you see it all perfect. I get my feedback from people in community and that’s good enough for me,” he said.