Tonbridge and Malling Environmental Champions rewarded

Eleven Tonbridge and Malling residents and eight groups from within the borough have been recognised as Environmental Champions by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council for ‘going the extra mile’ to improve their local environment.

On Friday 27 April 2012, Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Cllr Brian Luker, presented certificates to the winners, who were all nominated through the Borough Council’s Environmental Champions scheme.

The scheme, which was launched in 2009 to encourage more people to make an extra effort to improve the environment, is open to all Tonbridge and Malling residents and anyone can nominate a person or a group to become an Environmental Champion.

The winners were rewarded for a range of environmental efforts including litter picking, planting flowering bulbs, cleaning up the River Medway, installing owl and song bird boxes as well as taking part in community days and organising events to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Mayor, Cllr Brian Luker, says: “All of our Environmental Champions really impressed me – what a huge effort they have made to improve and protect our environment. I hope their actions will inspire others to do what they can, not just to keep our borough clean and tidy, but to help preserve our communities for future generations. In this, the fifth year of the scheme, it was good that so many groups were nominated, showing just how many more people are committed to working in their own community to improve their environment.”

To nominate an individual or a group to become an Environmental Champion please call the Council’s Environmental Projects Coordinator on 01732 876295 or email

The winners are:

Brian Lloyd (East Peckham)

Brian regularly clears litter in East Peckham specifically Hale Street and the playing fields. His work was initially on a voluntary basis but has since been employed in a small part-time capacity by the Parish Council. He operates as an extra pair of eyes and ears reporting environmental and street scene related issues to the Parish Council. He has an active interest in protecting and improving the environment of East Peckham.

Jenny MacDonald (East Peckham)

Jenny regularly voluntarily litter picks around Bullen Lane and the Chidley Cross areas of the village. Jenny regularly walks the public rights of ways and reports anything out of place to the Parish Council. Her efforts have made a positive impact on the environmental quality of East Peckham. Jenny operates as a valuable pair of eyes and ears for the village. Jenny has an active interest in protecting and improving the environment in East Peckham.

Chris Walter (Tonbridge)

Chris volunteers with the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership’s (MVCP) Thursday Action Group (TAG) and also works at Haysden Country Park as a volunteer. He regularly carries out additional environmental volunteering for MVCP, helping at some of our educational events in Haysden Country Park and also doing important reptile and amphibian surveying for us. Despite ongoing family commitments, he is very proactive and more than worthy of being individually nominated. Chris has also volunteered as a Borough Council Street Monitor for his area of Tonbridge for over four years.

Sue Pickering (Tonbridge)

Sue volunteers with the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership’s (MVCP) as a very proactive River Warden and member of the Thursday Action Group (TAG). She is one of the best, constantly sending in her reports and keeping in contact. She works hard around the Haysden area and also works as a Haysden Country Park volunteer. She regularly carries out additional environmental volunteering for MVCP such as local walk checks, helping out at MVCP educational events in Haysden Country Park and also doing important reptile and amphibian surveying for us. She is more than worthy of being individually nominated.

Shirley Barker (Tonbridge)

Shirley Barker is a River Warden for the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership (MVCP). She also regularly litter picks around Haysden Country Park. Shirley is very active in regard to volunteering her time to improve her local environment. She is very worthy of an award. She has also recently volunteered to learn how to check Public Rights of Way and designated walks on behalf of MVCP.

Pete Gardner (c/o Veolia Environmental Services, Tonbridge depot)

Pete Gardner is the street cleaner for West Malling, he does a very thorough job, there is never any litter when he is around even cigarette butts out of plant tubs go in his sack. He is conscientious, helpful, bright and cheerful always wishing a good morning to everybody. After the Christmas Lights switch on, the High Street was in a terrible mess, although it is his job, he cleaned it all the litter and rubbish without complaint.

He calls on two residents in the High Street to make sure they are up and well too – which is certainly above the requirements of his job role. He is a little gem. He deserves this recognition and an award.

Paul Osbourne (Snodland)

Paul has taken on the role of cleaning his local area by sweeping gullies, litter picking and cleaning out drains.

Joe and Lucy O’Donnell (Tonbridge)

Both of these siblings gave up their Saturday morning to work hard picking up litter for the South Tonbridge Love Where You Live litter pick in January this year.

Rabin Pun (Tonbridge)

This young boy volunteered and worked so hard and carefully throughout the South Tonbridge Love Where You Live litter pick in January.

Sophie Seal (Kings Hill)

Sophie is only 11 years old and has assisted with four Bash the Trash events around Kings Hill. She is always very cheerful and willing to keep her local area looking at its best for other people to enjoy. Her community spirit goes way beyond her years.

Kent Army Cadet Force (Tonbridge Detachment)

These litter pickers showed exceptional dedication and hard work picking up litter as part of the Love Where You Live South Tonbridge clean up in January.

Sgt Apps, Cpl Alex Nye, Cdt Olivia Irwin, Cdt Louise Francis, Cdt George Spence, Cdt Megan Kibble, Cdt Jamie Brennan

HadLOW CARBON Community (Hadlow)

HadLOW CARBON Community was launched in 2008 as group of local people working together to raise awareness of climate change and the necessity for sustainable use of finite resources, working towards community-based solutions. Activity includes growing fruit and vegetables on the community allotment on land made available to them from Hadlow College. The group have compiled a local food directory for Hadlow, created the ‘snow people’ environmental art work in the village centre last year, and installed four bicycle stand planters in the village. They have secured funding from KCC, B&Q and the Grassroots Community Fund. More recently the group have planted 5000 bulbs on the green outside of Hadlow College, next to the A26 as part of their Love Where You Live commitment.

Julie Taylor received the award on behalf of the group.

Tonbridge Canoe Club (Tonbridge)

For many years the Tonbridge Canoe Club has diligently joined in with the annual River Rubbish Round-Up which is run by the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership. Most people who partake in this challenge litter pick the river banks. The canoe club is different – over thirty members of the club take to their canoes to clear litter from the River Medway (Tonbridge stretch). The River Medway is enjoyed by many users – including The Tonbridge Canoe Club. The club ensure that they can continue to enjoy their activities on their river by keeping navigation clear of litter and debris and as you may have seen the odd shopping trolley! Recently the canoe club have been continuing this arduous task as part of their Love Where You Live commitment.

Jeremy Clark (Chair of Tonbridge Canoe Club)

Haysden Country Park Volunteers (Tonbridge)

Year round, in all weathers, a merry band of volunteers meet at least once a month to carry out a range of tasks in Haysden Country Park. They plant trees, repair paths, construct and erect fences, build bird boxes and bird hides and carry out improvement works on the lakes. There really is no end to their talents. Many of the volunteers give up extra time between task days to help the ranger, Rachel Cantwell with bigger work around the park. The volunteers talk to park users to explain to them what they do as well as deal with the issue raised by the other park users, for example cutting back over hanging branches. Every year park users benefit from over 1500 volunteer hours at Haysden Country Park. This makes the park more welcoming, accessible and enjoyable for all users.

Receiving: Sue Hennessy; Kevin Lavender; Don Croker; Dave Withington; Anthony Bales, Chris Walters; Sue Pickering and Deborah Slater

Larkfield Litter Pickers (Larkfield)

Larkfield has always been a place which has demonstrated great care from the point of view of residents living there. We have 19 street monitors who live in Larkfield who regularly report issues and a very active neighbourhood watch area. As part of the ‘Love Where You Live’ Campaign the Larkfield Litter Pickers sprung into action in September 2011 with over 80 volunteers from local schools, churches, neighbourhood watch, football clubs and uniform groups to really Bash the Trash in the Larkfield area. They have since carried out two more large scale clean-ups. These three ladies are a force to be reckoned with in terms of passion and can-do attitude. They have made a huge impact in the Larkfield area through engaging residents and demonstrating the many ways we can show we love where we live.

Receiving: Sarah Cole, Sarah M’Grady and Claire Dobson

Macey’s Meadow (West Malling)

From what was a very neglected and rubbish filled 20-acre cherry orchard as oasis has been created entirely by local volunteers in the centre of West Malling. There now exists an apple orchard (old varieties budded on specially for the parish council), a cherry orchard, a nut plat, a mixed indigenous woodland of oak, ash, wild pear, holly and silver birch, a Jubilee wood and a ‘green space’ for general use. Many of the trees in the woodland were sponsored by local people in memory of a loved one. There are also two pastures where sheep graze. The delighted children love to see the new born lambs when they arrive each year. The whole area is accessible at all times via the kissing gates. Over 300 metres of new hedge has been planted. Dedicated volunteers have learned many new skills, including hedge laying. Among the volunteers we are lucky enough to have an expert in looking after our tractor, a shepherd, a foreman from East Malling Research Station who oversees the operation, and a technical person who has helped set up the website. Two members have installed an owl and a song bird box. Other volunteers are willing to do all and more of what is asked of them for this special area of land. The parish council are also delighted to have two young men, who as part of their Duke Of Edinburgh Award are working as Macey’s volunteers.

Receiving: Margaret Robinson (Chair) and Malcolm Wickenden

Russet Homes Junior Wardens Scheme (Mereworth)

These six young people have been nominated as a group for their commitment to participating and completing the Junior Warden Scheme run by Russet Homes (part of Circle Anglia Group). Junior Wardens learned about the effects of Anti Social Behaviour on people and neighbourhoods, were made aware of the dangers of fly tipping, and abandoned vehicles and how to report issues to the relevant people. They also attended sessions run by Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue learning about personal safety and the resources that are used up by mindless bogus calls. Most of all they have taken on the responsibility of looking after the refurbished play area on their estate and took part in a litter pick of the Air Field estate.

Friends of Nevill Park (Snodland)

This group has been nominated for their wide ranging interest in the care and cleanliness of Nevill Park and for a recent Spring Clean of the park undertaken by a team of around thirteen local residents. The park was litter picked by the volunteers in February. The park is owned and managed by Snodland Town Council who welcome this support to keep the park at its best. The group have recently secured funding to carry out the repaint the play equipment in Nevill Park. A team of fifteen residents spent around 100 man-hours painting over the Easter weekend. The Friends group are pleased to welcome back a dog show for the second year running, to their park this August, to enjoy a day with all the family and their dogs. Members of the group are also linked to the Snodland Goes Cleaner project.

Members: Mrs D Crook, daughter Melanie and grand-daughter Libby; Mr & Mrs G Cartlidge and family; Mrs R Hewitt and family; Mr A Pink; Mrs W Brice; and Mr Ben Kember (who won an Environmental Champions Award in his own right last year)

Receiving: Mrs Dilys Crook, daughter Melanie and grand-daughter, Libby, Gary Cartlidge (and up to 3 children)

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