Vicar's daily litter pick turns into group effort for Captain Tom challenge

Goodmayes group collects 100 bags of litter for Captain Tom challenge

Volunteers and just some of the rubbish collected. - Credit: Janet Buchan

A vicar from Goodmayes who litter picks on her daily lockdown walks hopes to collect 100 bags of rubbish for the Captain Tom challenge alongside a newly recruited team.

In February, Reverend Janet Buchan, the vicar at St Paul's church, became disheartened by the amount of litter she saw along her walk through Westwood and Seven Kings Park into the grounds of Goodmayes Hospital.

Inspired by her late mother, she decided to do something about it.

Rev Buchan said: "My mother was an inveterate litter collector - no matter how smartly she was dressed at the time - and so, inspired by her, and using her litter picker, I began to pick up one bag of litter every day.

"[That is] one bag less of plastic ending up in the stream running through the space, and possibly ending up in the ocean."

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As she did this, she met others who wanted to join in.

Goodmayes litter pickers raise money for NELFT

Geoff Loader (left), Judy Sender (right) with Medha Seebaluck and Sheks Seebaluck in the background - Credit: Janet Buchan

With the support of Vision RCL and Goodmayes Hospital, they created an informal group and on Easter Monday, cleared a large amount of litter from Seven Kings Park.

Inspired by the Captain Tom 100 challenge, to mark what would have been his 101st birthday, Janet and 18 volunteers collected 93 bags of rubbish over the bank holiday weekend.

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They were also able to recycle an odd collection of items, including one artificial Christmas tree, a supermarket trolley, a traffic cone and one bright pink children's bicycle. 

By the end of this week, the group plans to surpass the goal of 100 bags of rubbish. 

In the process, they are raising money for the Health Way Foundation, the charity that supports the North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

In particular, the group is helping to create a sensory garden and gardening project for Brookside, the child and adolescent mental health unit at Goodmayes Hospital. 

Janet has raised more than £700 towards her goal of £1,000. 

She said some members of the group have started to do daily litter picks on their walks as well and she hopes to inspire more people to take up the cause and the picker.

To contribute to the fundraiser, visit

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