Longridge celebrates achieving eco goal of becoming a Plastic Free Town

They did it! An all age group celebration was held to mark the milestone of Longridge being named as a Plastic Free town.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 4:55 am

Those who had worked so hard to achieve the sought after status gathered at the town's Civic Hall on Saturday for the official presentation of the award.

It marks the success of much campaigning by local schoolchildren, the Longridge Environment Group (LEG) and Longridge Town Council to persuade local businesses and residents to think more about how to help the environment.

Many businesses offered their support to the project, switching to ecofriendly cups and cutlery for take out refreshments and vowing to reduce their use of plastic.

Time to celebrate - local school pupils cheer Longridge's new status as a plastic free town

The delighted compere for the event was former Longridge mayor Town Councillor Steve Ashcroft. He was in office when a local schoolgirl Jeannie Wilkinson, eight, from St Joseph's school at Hurst Green, wrote to the council with a plea for the council to make Longridge a leader in the fight against excess use of single use plastic and become a plastic free town. She had declared: "We really must do something."

Jeannie was unable to attend Saturday's celebration but the award was presented to current Longridge mayor Coun Bryan Dalgleish-Warburton on her behalf by another pupil from St Joseph's Matilda Blunden.

Margaret Baugh and Katie Pickup of LEG and Coun Dalgleish-Warburton also spoke at the event.

Afterwards Coun Ashcroft said: "I think both the Town Council and the LEG (Longridge Environment Group) were very pleased with the event and the support we got from the children and the schools. One of the pupils from St Francis school as part of her reading said as children we will not be ignored on terms of issues to do with the environment - I think that was quite a pertinent thing to come across really."

Matilda Blunden,10, pictured with the award which she presented to Longridge's mayor.

He also praised local businesses saying: "Without their support we wouldn't have achieved this."

The town's new Plastic Free Community status has been awarded by Surfers Against Sewage, a marine conservation charity which works across the UK.

Four schools were represented at the award ceremony - Longridge High, St Joseph's Hurst Green, St Francis Hill Chapel and Whitechapel schools.

St Cecilia's High School, the Agricultural Show Committee, the Civic Hall, the Women’s Institute and the local Co-op had also backed the project.

Local pupils Nia and Daisy Williams who played a key part in the campaign to reduce plastic use in Longridge. Posters they created were displayed around the town.

It was in 2019 that an Earth Day event was held at the Palace Cinema in Longridge. where Jeannie and other young people made presentations about

environmental issues and the need for change.

Rachel Yates, Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Communities Project Manager, said prior to the award celebration ceremony: “It’s great to see the work that Longridge has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.”

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Some of those attending Saturday's celebration at the Civic Hall
Former Longridge mayor Coun Steve Ashcroft whohad accepted the challenge to reduce the use of plastic and who compered the celebration event.
Longridge mayor Coun Bryan Dalgleish-Warburton is presented with the plastic free status certificate by Matilda Blunden
Ribble Valley's Deputy Mayor Coun Stuart Hirst and Deputy Mayoress Elaine Hirst (pictured front row) were among those attending the celebration at the Civic Hall.
Pictured from left: Ribble Valley Deputy Mayor, Coun Stuart Hirst, Ribble Valley Deputy Mayoress Elaine Hirst, Longridge Consort Mark Love, Margaret Baugh and Longridge Mayor Bryan Dalgleish-Warburton who received the award from Matilda Blunden (pictured centre)