Friends’ disappointment over loss of National Trust litter role

Date: Friday 8th December 2017

A PAIR of friends who volunteered their time picking litter at a National Trust property for 13 years were surprised and disappointed to be told their help is no longer needed.

A PAIR of friends who volunteered their time picking litter at a National Trust property for 13 years were surprised and disappointed to be told their help is no longer needed.

Derek Gibbons, aged 83, of Great Asby, had been litter picking at Wray Castle, near Ambleside, alongside his friend, Roger Coupe, aged 81, of Cheshire, for 13 years.

It was while carrying out one of their regular volunteering sessions that Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Coupe were told their help was no longer needed as there was now an estate manager on site to pick up litter.

The news came as an unwelcome surprise to the pair, who say they are bewildered at the reasoning behind it.

“We could never see the reason (for them asking us to stop) — it’s not costing them anything,” said Mr. Gibbons.

They were told that in future they could pick litter at an alternative location, at Claife, near Windermere.

Wray Castle manager Jon O’Donoghue told the Herald: “We’re grateful for the time and dedication that our volunteers have put into litter picking on the western shore of Windermere between Claife and Wray.

“We now have a ranger who can carry out this task three times a week as part of a wider property monitoring and inspection role. We explained this to our volunteer and we asked if they could help us with litter picking at Claife.”

Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Coupe often went sailing together and began picking up litter when they went for a walk after mooring their boat at the public jetty. After a time, they were asked to become official volunteers so, at least once a week, they would head to the area and spend time picking up rubbish.

Mr. Gibbons, who has lived with his wife, Catherine, at Great Asby for 35 years, said the volunteering wasn’t just about helping the site, but was also a chance to socialise, meet and chat to visitors.

The pair picked up litter throughout the year and, when the castle was closed to visitors in winter, they would provide their own rubbish bags.

Mr. Gibbons said as volunteers, they were entitled to claim expenses, but they never claimed any money back.