THEIR motto is 'be prepared'. And 1,300 Girl Guides were certainly prepared for hard work when they joined forces to clear litter along an eight-mile stretch of our coast.
Members of Girlguiding Ulster armed themselves with litter pickers and bags as they set off on their 18th Lorne walk along the North Down Coastal Path – from Bangor to their headquarters at Lorne House in Craigavad. Along the way, they cleared away the litter in relays along the spectacular coast.
The event was part of our Big Spring Clean campaign and involved Guides from Bangor, Holywood and Belfast converging on the coastal path to collect an amazing 200 bags of litter, including a wealth of sweet wrappers, crisp bags, plastic bags and aluminium cans.
The Belfast Telegraph has joined forces with Tidy Northern Ireland and DoE Rethink Waste in a bid to galvanise 50,000 people across Northern Ireland to roll up their sleeves and clean up their area.
Claire Flowers, executive manager of Girlguiding Ulster, said it was a beautiful sunny day and that really helped with the litter pick.
"They all had a great time and ended up back at Lorne with all their litter," she said. "They had their packed lunches there and I think this event made them think twice about what they do with their litter."
The clean-up was supported by Joan Smyth from the Soroptimist Society and Coca Cola donated beverages to the event.
Carole Graham, chief commissioner of Girlguiding Ulster, said: "A total of 1,300 members came out supporting Tidy Northern Ireland's Big Spring Clean on the Lorne Walk. We are happy to support the Big Spring Clean and the girls thoroughly enjoyed the day in the fresh air."
Lynsey McCloskey, campaign manager with Tidy Northern Ireland, said: "Girl Guiding Ulster has been a major part of this year's Big Spring Clean. This has been our biggest clean-up this year – a pretty impressive feat, so well done to everyone. Educating the youth about the need to keep Northern Ireland clean and tidy is so important and where real change will begin."
Meanwhile, more than 40 staff members from Sainsbury's in Forestside recruited friends and family to help with a clean-up of the Lagan Towpath from Stranmillis to Shaw's Bridge.
The volunteers gathered more than 20 bags of litter, including cigarette butts, beer cans, plastic bags, sweet wrappers and plastic bottles – and were shocked at the amount of bagged and unbagged dog dirt.
This is the first year that the Sainsburys staff have carried out a Big Spring Clean, after they joined forces with Belfast City Council and the Lagan Valley Regional Park.