Litter campaign has a supporting role from Simon Callow
World-renowned actor Simon Callow fell in love with the stunning Northern Ireland landscape when he lived here as a student.
So it's no surprise the Four Weddings And A Funeral star is urging tens of thousands of people to tackle the litter blighting many parts of our countryside.
As part of our Big Spring Clean campaign, the Belfast Telegraph and Tidy Northern Ireland, supported by DOE Rethink Waste, are trying to galvanise 50,000 people to roll up their sleeves this spring and clean up litter in their neighbourhoods this April.
Simon Callow has a soft spot for Belfast, having studied at Queen's University in the 60s, and will be back in the city this spring to premiere his one-man play and deliver the annual Lyric Lecture.
He will be starring in the premiere of The Man Jesus at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, which runs from April 3-20, and is expected to be a sell-out.
Backing our Big Spring Clean drive, he said: "I was at Queens in the late 60s and I come to Belfast whenever I can. Northern Ireland has some of the most stunning scenery in the UK. Everyone should support the Big Spring Clean! It's vital we all play our part in keeping our countryside clean."
We've also won the support of Northern Ireland sporting legend Gerry Armstrong, who urged people not to discard litter. "You do see litter in various places around Northern Ireland, usually near nightclubs or anywhere that people have been gathering in large numbers and especially after concerts," he said.
When we launched the Big Spring Clean in 2010, it attracted 2,000 volunteers who collected four tonnes of rubbish in a week.
In 2011 the numbers swelled to 13,500 and last year the Big Spring Clean mobilised an incredible 26,000 volunteers who lifted 163 tonnes of litter.
This year, we've set ourselves an even tougher target – getting 50,000 people involved in cleaning up litter hotspots.
Our efforts to date have been supported by a host of celebrities, from sports star David Healy to TV botanist David Bellamy and from Dancing On Ice's Zoe Salmon to Celebrity Masterchef's Dick Strawbridge. We've been boosted by support from TV's Eamonn Holmes, model Katie Larmour and wedding planner Anthony Millar and Wicked's Rachel Tucker.
Tidy NI chief Ian Humphreys said: "People are up in arms – well, litter pickers to be precise – to send a clear message to the lazy litter louts that we want cleaner greener places to live, work and visit."
Joining in the Big Spring Clean is easy. All you need to do is register an event or join an existing event online at www.bigspringcleanni.org, order your free clean-up kit and get stuck in. Don't forget to tell us how successful your event was afterwards. Your local council will help by supplying additional kit and will collect the rubbish gathered. The website has your council's contact details to co-ordinate this. For more information, check out the website, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you are not on the internet, contact Tidy Northern Ireland directly on 028 9073 6920.