Spalding’s clean-up crusader Sandra White says if she was 30 years younger she would be making a bid for the town’s “new top job” to put the pride back into the community.
Taking a five-minute break from painting out graffiti during her one-woman daily campaign to clear the river bank of weeds and rubbish, she said she would soon “shake things up” if she were town centre manager.
The pensioner, who gained national recognition for her efforts in 2009 after saying she was embarrassed to discover that the streets of Thailand were cleaner than her home town, decided to target the graffiti because in spite of residents regularly complaining about it “nothing ever gets done”.
In addition, she has been weeding borders in front of properties and planting unkempt areas with shrubs – all at her own expense.
Now she is calling on the residents to join her – but not necessarily at the crack of dawn when she can usually be seen lugging a bag of tools along a stretch of High Street.
Sandra (72), of Sandtone Gardens, said: “I really don’t understand people. Recently, I’ve been painting out some of the graffiti that seems to have been here for years. I had some paint left over from something and it doesn’t take a lot to sort out.
“I’ve been talking to some of the businesses who are going to remove the graffiti on the side of their buildings, so hopefully we are getting there finally.
“But the borders are full of weeds – and why is it people do not clean their windows and window sills anymore? They are filthy.
“This is the route into Spalding for many people and the first impression they have of the town. If it’s looking dull and tatty it’s not how you want people to think of where we live.
“I’ve always said the river is the key to bringing wealth into the town – this should be an idyllic place to live. But just look at it. Now spring is here the weeds are going mad – the winter isn’t a problem because they don’t grow then.
“We need more people to do what I am doing. I think people are just depressed and think nothing is going to change. But it won’t if they don’t do something.
“They would feel so much better if the town looked nice”.
South Holland District Council is keen to let Sandra know she is not alone. The local authority is currently recruiting volunteers for the new litter warden scheme, where residents agree to adopt an area to keep tidy.
Laura Simpkins, the council’s waste and recycling officer, said: “I know Sandra thinks she’s on her own sometimes but we want her to know we are right behind her.
“Recruiting is going well and we’ll have more information about it soon.”