A litter picking pensioner is on a mission to remove rubbish from the lanes around his home in Hale – shifting 1.4 tonnes of it in 2022 alone.

Keith Neal, an 84-year-old retired teacher who was Head of Biology at Manchester Grammar for more than 20 years, started the activity some eight years ago.

Every six weeks or so, Mr Neal and others in the congregation of St Peter's, Ashley Road came together to remove rubbish from the village.

But in 2018, he wanted to cast the net wider, and so started on the lanes between his home in Hale and Wythenshawe he once used on the commute into school.

Messenger Newspapers:

He said: "When I was working, I was well aware of the amount of litter there was around. It upset me and the fact I was litter picking made me think I would have a go at the lanes with one or two others.

"It took us two years to remove bits and pieces of all sorts of things. By lockdown, we were more or less on top of it."

At the start of lockdown, Mr Neal set out on his own to abide by the restrictions.

He chose a two and a half hour circuit, which he has since completed more than 800 times, shifting 1.4 tonnes of litter last year alone. 

Messenger Newspapers:

He said: "I've had a tremendous response from members of the public. 

"People stop and thank me for what I'm doing. A lot of people honk their horns and wave, which I find encouraging, actually."

The aim is to complete the circuit another 200 times before his next birthday, on November 1, to take the total to a thousand.

He is also trying to raise £3000 for the church where it all started, St Peter's, as well as for Friends of the Earth and SolarAid.

Mr Neal said: "I thought well I've done 800 rounds, only 200 rounds to go to reach a thousand. I thought my goodness, how long will it take me? 

"I did a rough calculation and it seemed to coincide with my birthday."

To contribute, go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/keith-neal

This article was written by Jack Tooth. Jack is the reporter for The Messenger and covers anything and everything from within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford.

To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.