An 84-year-old man who has voluntary litter picked almost every day for 19 years was presented with a surprise award from Loughton Town Council on Wednesday.

Alan Wintle, from Loughton, received a certificate for exceptional voluntary work on the Roding Valley Recreation Ground from Loughton Town Mayor, Cllr Stephen Murray at Murray Hall.

The award ceremony was part of Loughton Town Council’s annual meeting, which councillors noted the many activities and achievements within the town during the past year.

When asked what his response was to receiving the award, Mr Wintle said: “It was a surprise I must admit.”

“I had received a letter saying but I didn’t realise all of the council and mayor was going to be there. It’s quite a nice certificate I would like to get it framed.”

Whatever the weather, the retied pensioner is regularly collecting takeaway containers, laughing gas capsules and more around the recreation ground.

Mr Wintle said he has continued to litter pick for so long is to ensure he reaches his 10,000 steps a-day exercise whilst looking after the green space.

He added: “My family are strenuously against litter, whenever I see anything I pick it up, it’s as simple as that.

“I was quite pleased that at least the council are recognising we people are doing, not that I expected anything.”

Certificates were also presented to fellow residents for their achievements, whilst displays were mounted by representatives from local groups, organisations and charities who received grant funding for 2019/20.

Loughton Town Mayor Cllr Stephen Murray, presented his report to the attendees, saying:

"It is my strong belief that as a town council we deliver the services that we are responsible for in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

"Every event I have attended, of which there have been very nearly 110. I have found strong community groups making a difference to our town in so many wonderful different ways.

"Everywhere I have been this year I have been struck by the volunteering spirit and I would like to say thank you to all the community and faith groups that help make Loughton the wonderful place it is - thank you for all that you do in and for our town".

The evening concluded with refreshments and a question and answer session, allowing residents to express their views and ask questions about issues in the town.