Children join campaign

Top, Geoff Heslop and Darras Hall Estate Committee chairman Andrew Mate. Front, from left to right, Darras Hall First School pupils Josh Dale, Anya Tumia, Mercan Senbaklavaci and Ewan Ronald. Picture by Keith Robertson.
Top, Geoff Heslop and Darras Hall Estate Committee chairman Andrew Mate. Front, from left to right, Darras Hall First School pupils Josh Dale, Anya Tumia, Mercan Senbaklavaci and Ewan Ronald. Picture by Keith Robertson.

School pupils have produced some colourful creations to help an anti-litter campaign in an area of Ponteland.

They took on the challenge of putting together posters asking Darras Hall residents and visitors not to drop rubbish.

It was a tough task to narrow down the designs by the pupils at Darras Hall First School as there were 217 entrants in total, but eventually four finalists were chosen.

The overall winner was class 14 pupil Mercan Senbaklavaci.

The campaign is the idea of the Darras Hall Estate Committee and the winning design will provide the basis of a batch of professionally printed posters.

Chairman of the committee, Andrew Mate, said: “Litter is a scourge of modern society and we believe it is essential for children to be aware of the problem from the earliest possible age.

“The first school pupils were extremely enthusiastic about the project and have really taken the message on board. It is very encouraging that they genuinely want their area to look as nice as possible, helped by being free of litter.

“The competition has not only produced a poster campaign to be seen by everyone, it has encouraged pupils at the school not to drop litter themselves.’’

Printed by Ponteland Print, the posters have been going up this week in the vicinity of the school, Broadway shops, the car park near the committee’s offices on Old Station Court, surrounding streets and also at the entrance to the bridleways that are particularly popular with joggers and dog-walkers.

Mr Mate added: “We will be making a major contribution towards litter reduction itself by moving towards a paperless organisation with the introduction of online registrations for payment of the annual rent charge.

“This will save the committee from having to post more than 2,500 rent charge invoices every year, with residents invited to register at www.darras-hall.net in order to pay the rent charge electronically online.’’

The campaign has received the backing of Darras Hall resident Geoff Heslop, who is a familiar figure on the estate as he walks about 10 miles every week picking up other people’s litter.

With his Cavalier King Charles spaniel Nery, the 88-year-old goes along Western Way, Runnymede Road and Eastern Way and he also covers the bridleways, the Broadway area and the Old Station Court car park.

He said: “The pupils’ designs were very impressive and this campaign is important because the more we do to tidy up the area, the more people notice.

“As well as general rubbish, I pick up handkerchiefs and gas canisters with my litter picker.”