Litter-picking heroes across Malmesbury have been honoured for their efforts.

Ben Thornbury has mobilised his local community into picking up litter, cleaning the streets and brightening up areas since the pandemic began.

An online group – Helping the Community of Malmesbury – formed as a response to lockdown and since then, he and other volunteers have worked to improve the area for all.

Now, both Ben and his comrades are to receive the High Sheriff of Wiltshire’s award for services to the community during the pandemic. They were nominated by Malmesbury mayor Campbell Ritchie.

The 15-year-old will accept the honour virtually on March 22 on behalf of all the volunteers who work hard to support the town.

Taking a break from his post-school litter-pick to speak to the Gazette, Ben said: “It's nice to share the award. We have a lot of volunteers helping out and numbers have really grown throughout lockdown. It’s an award for everyone.

“We still have a lot of people get in touch. When someone sees one person helping out, then they want to get involved and do their bit as well.”

He added: “I share what we achieve on online groups and people from all over the place respond and say they’ve been inspired to do similar things themselves. I hope more people will join us as it gets warmer as well.”

In January, Malmesbury folk hit national headlines after the success of its Hope Springs Eternal trail, which encouraged people to deck out their front gardens and windows with flowers, rainbows, butterflies, hearts and other colourful creations.

“There is a lot of good news in Malmesbury,” said Ben.

He and Cllr Ritchie are working on an ‘adopt your street’ project that will encourage residents to dedicate a few minutes a week, creating a wider impact on the town.

Search Helping the Community of Malmesbury on Facebook to get involved.