Pensioner Billy clocking up 15 hours a week to keep Diss tidy

Retired 77-year-old pensioner Billy Turner helps to collect litter in Diss High Street with Rickinghall business owner Peter George. Picture submitted.

Retired 77-year-old pensioner Billy Turner helps to collect litter in Diss High Street with Rickinghall business owner Peter George. Picture submitted.

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Pensioner William Turner is clocking up nearly 15 hours a week in his bid to keep Diss looking clean and tidy.

The 77-year-old, a resident of Wordsworth Road, turns out five mornings a week, spending between two and three hours picking up rubbish around the town and the Mere, as a voluntary “labour of love”.

He could easily be sitting in a deck chair relaxing, taking retirement easy, but he is clearing streets and river banks of litter, and he is an inspiration in community spirit

Peter George

Wearing a high-visibility jacket with VLP on the back, Mr Turner, known as Billy, said: “That stands for Voluntary Litter Picker but often when people say what does it mean, I joke that I am a Very Loving Person!”

“I started several years ago and my inspiration came from being brought up in the war.

“I have a great admiration for what the Americans did during the war.

“People fought and died to make a better country and in my own small way that is what I am doing, litter picking to make Diss a better place.”

Mr Turner, who used to work on farms and in chicken processing factories, has been married for 56 years and his wife, Muriel, encourages him to keep the town looking good.

He said Diss Town Council and South Norfolk Council appreciate his efforts and provide bags to collect rubbish.

In 2013, Mr Turner was awarded the Diss Honoured Citizen Award and he will now receive sponsorship and new equipment, after businessman Peter George spotted him hard at work in the town.

Mr George, owner of Malthouse Security in Rickinghall, said: “I dislike litter, my colleagues agree and this is something we feel strongly about.

“It’s about having pride in our community and I think what Billy does is remarkable and I admire him.

“He could easily be sitting in a deck chair relaxing, taking retirement easy, but he is clearing streets and river banks of litter, and he is an inspiration in community spirit.”