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Workers who keep Exeter spick and span recognised at special event

Published: 18 October 2023

Workers who keep Exeter spick and span recognised at special event Exeter Sweepers Awards

The people who keep Exeter looking good have been recognised at an annual award ceremony.

Exeter City Council has a team of around 80 outdoor workers – many of them street sweepers and cleaners but also those who work in parks and cemeteries – who play a huge part in keeping the city spick and span and rubbish free.

Working closely together as the Council’s public and green space team, they work tirelessly to keep Exeter a clean, safe and attractive place to live in and visit.

The efforts of those workers were recognised at this year’s 42nd Tidy Exeter Group’s Awards, held at Exeter’s historic Guildhall, where all staff were treated to free lunch courtesy of event sponsors McDonalds. Biscuits were also donated by Waitrose.

This year’s winner of the Tidy Exeter Group Ambassador of the Year was Gary Baines. Currently serving as a member of the Council’s sports maintenance team, he has also worked across almost all aspects of parks during his time 16 years at the Council.

His citation reads: “Dependable, diligent and willing to help, Gary will attempt (mostly) anything thrown at him with a smile.”

Runner-up was Lewis Edmunds from the parks team. His citation reads: “Lewis’s adaptability to lend his hand to any task, and reliable hard work within our parks has proven him to be a great member of the team. This, as well as his resilience and ability to withstand multiple bee stings, makes him stand out to be one of our commended today! Thank you, Lewis, for all your hard work and humour!”

Highly Commended was Shane Hayman. Shane joined the Council in April as a van operative and sweeper for Burnthouse lane and St Loyes. His citation reads: “He is a proactive and diligent member of our cleansing team who has made a real difference to the community he works within.”

All staff had to select their favourite in the Personality of the Year, which this year went to Dean Melluish.

Dean’s citation read: “Dean always has a smile on his face and an amazing beard to go with it!  His incurable positivity goes a long way to enhance team morale across both Parks and Cleansing. Dean is always ready to get stuck in with his work and put his best efforts in to keep Exeter looking good.”

The award of Semper Fidelis went to Mike Brown, who has been with the Public and Green Spaces team for 19 and a half years. He works as the HGV mechanical sweeper driver, co-ordinating the early morning sweep team. His citation read: “Mike is retiring in December and we all wish Mike the best for the future and thank him for all the hard work over the past 19 and a half years.”

Cllr Ruth Williams, Lead Councillor for Place and City Management said the team achieve so much in Exeter: “Whether it’s the early morning sweep team, litter picking and litter bin emptying, burials, grass and shrub maintenance, graffiti removal or play provision, they work together to keep Exeter looking good and an attractive place to be.

“I can’t thank them enough for the work that they carry out in the city and it is fantastic to see all of their efforts recognised every year at these awards.”

The Tidy Exeter Group also made a presentation to Mick Edwards, who is retiring from the committee after recently celebrating his 100th birthday.

Mr Edwards, who was a founding member of the group as well as the Red Coat guides, is a Second World War veteran who took part in the Atlantic Convoys. He was presented with the Lord Mayor of Exeter’s Commendation Award.

Also presented with the Lord Mayor’s award was Daphne Burdick, for her dedication on organising the annual reed bed litter clearance for the last 25 years.

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