Greenford 'Partners in Grime' Reach Astonishing Milestone

Two local women collect 2,000 sacks of litter

Noel I St Clair-Adelaja and Gayle Labib with some of their haul
Noel I St Clair-Adelaja and Gayle Labib with some of their haul

Greenford’s top grime-fighting duo are celebrating a personal milestone… after collecting their 2,000th sack of rubbish.

It’s one year since Gayle Labib and Noel I St Clair-Adelaja started cleaning the area's streets and parks. Among their many achievements is transforming a hideous rubbish hotspot into a garden.

Gayle says litter picking gave a new purpose to her exercise regime. "Instead of walking aimlessly around the park to get my daily 10,000 steps in, I decided to do something. I joined LAGER Can - the Litter Action Group for Ealing Residents. Walking and litter picking made me feel as if I was doing something productive while keeping fit."

When neighbour Noel offered to help in October 2021, the team was born. "At first we found it hard because the bags were so heavy," says Gayle. "We were two OAPs with sore backs!"

To lighten their load, the duo trundle their rubbish sacks along on a fly-tipped pram and a trolley provided by LAGER Can. They log their daily haul of rubbish and reward themselves with tea and cake at a local cafe after filling every 100th sack.

"We do three routes a week around North Greenford," explained Gayle. "We’re out on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday for at least three hours. Sometimes we will add days if we’re alerted to litter in a different area.

"The area around Rockware Avenue was a nightmare and a complete disgrace and needed some serious work to make it presentable. It was the eyesore of Greenford.

"One area at the entrance to Greenford Business Centre is a meeting place for drinkers who throw their bottles and cans everywhere. We asked the manager if we could plant flowers at the entrance on a small patch of land. In March we started digging it up, finding cans dating back to 2013. We used old tyres as planters. So our garden was born!"

Gayle, a mother-of-four, says the garden has won praise from passers-by and reduced litter

Gayle, a mother-of-four, says the garden has won praise from passers-by and reduced litter.

"Flowers and kept land seem to deter litter. I would say there is now a 99% reduction in litter. We’ve recycled a dumped kitchen bin and most of the drinkers are now using it for their bottles and cans."

In another success, the pair have installed a fly-tipped rubbish bin in Cayton Green Park, which is being used by visitors in addition to the three official council bins.

Reflecting on their year-long campaign to make Greenford greener, Noel says, "We make a good team. Gayle's the boss but I have better eyesight. I’m more flexible and can reach things that are far away. She’s always shouting at me to get out of the bushes in case I hurt myself!”

LAGER Can chair Cathy Swift said, "I can’t thank Gayle and Noel enough. If every local area was blessed with such a dynamic duo, the Borough of Ealing would be a cleaner and greener place."

LAGER Can, which started five years ago, now has more than 2,000 members. Their work has been recognised with a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Gayle added, "We love our litter picking sessions for LAGER Can. They give us something to get out of bed for, friendship and a purpose in life. The only thing we really hate is the number of human poos and tissues in the bushes. I’m afraid we avoid those. We need public toilets in the area."

Mark Percy

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October 27, 2022