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Maryland residents praise 'local hero' who tends gardens, picks litter and gives out newspapers

PUBLISHED: 16:32 25 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:32 25 April 2018

Retired gardener Derek Bingham who every day works on the community garden as well as collecting rubbish

Retired gardener Derek Bingham who every day works on the community garden as well as collecting rubbish

Archant

Maryland residents have heaped praise on a community figure who tends a communal garden, cleans the streets and delivers free newspapers through the letterboxes of his neighbours.

Retired gardener Derek Bingham who every day works on the community garden as well as collecting rubbishRetired gardener Derek Bingham who every day works on the community garden as well as collecting rubbish

Derek Bingham, 68, who lives in Warner Close, has lived in Marlyand for 17 years and is out almost every day serving his community for free.

Dog mess on the pavement, rubbish strewn in the road, underpasses smelling of urine and unkempt gardens inspired Derek to undertake the selfless task of tidying the area.

The former gardener said: “I want to make sure this area is nice. If I wasn’t doing this, I’m not sure what I would be doing.”

He has put a lot of his own money into the project, he says, and wants to ensure the area is pleasant for the people living there.

He hangs bin bags up around Maryland to encourage people to dispose properly of their rubbish rather than throw it on the floor.

“I want to show people what I’m doing,” he said.

His work makes the area a much nicer place to live, according to fellow MarylandE15 community group member Kate Shelley.

She said: “He does it without getting anything back. It makes a massive difference to the community.

“I don’t think we really appreciate how much litter would be around if it wasn’t for him. We just take it for granted.”

Derek has recently started collecting and depositing a selection of free newspapers through his neighbours doors.

“It is very kind of him,” said Kate.

Neighbour Johanna Kazi said Derek also cleans an underpass where lots of people deal and take drugs and urinate. Derek performs the thankless task of scrubbing the pavement and picking rubbish and drug paraphernalia off the floor.

“He is a local hero,” said Johanna.

Kate says that Derek’s actions encourage others to be more community-minded and take pride in the area they live in.

Derek and many of his neighbours are members of the MarylandE15 community group, a group who meet to discuss community cohesion and to boost the profile of their area.

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