Abe Agnew set up ‘Eco Rangers Larne’ in October 2020 to encourage people in his community to join him - and his dog Bobby - in combating a rise in litter on roads and along the coastline.
Abe has been carrying out litter-picking for many years, and realised that pandemic restrictions allowed many people to connect more closely with their neighbourhoods and have the time to tackle problems of waste.
After collecting more than 15,000 pieces of litter a week during the first period of lockdown, Abe began inviting others to join him, and now has over 600 volunteers signed up as Eco Rangers, with sister groups also set up across Co Antrim.
This award coincides with the start of the Great British Spring Clean, the annual campaign encouraging people to volunteer to keep their local neighbourhoods clean.
In a personal letter to Abe, Boris Johnson said: “I was inspired to hear about your crack team of 600 eco rangers clearing the beautiful coastline and countryside of Northern Ireland. Litter is a scourge on our green spaces and so it is fantastic to see your team of volunteers tackling this issue.
“Let me also thank your faithful companion, Bobby, who I know joins you on your clean up sessions.
“As we mark the Great British Spring Clean, I am delighted to recognise you as the UK’s 1644th Point of Light. Thank you and congratulations!”
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s announcement, Abe said: “I am delighted to accept the award on behalf of the Eco Ranger group, now with 600-plus Eco Rangers, who undertake conservation work and remove polluting litter in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.”
Abe is the 1,644th person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.
Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements, including hundreds of volunteers who have been recognised for how they have served their communities through the coronavirus pandemic.
Click here to read: Eco Rangers Larne tackle unsightly rubbish in lough
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