Litter picker, 8, shows 'small acts by small people make a difference'

Alexa Bacon has been collecting litter around Gosfield, in Essex

Alexa Bacon has been collecting litter around Gosfield, in Essex - Credit: Amy Bacon

An eight-year-old has proved that "small acts by small people can make a difference" by walking 130 miles around her village to pick up litter.

After watching David Attenborough wildlife programmes about the state of the planet, Alexa Bacon felt helpless to stop what her mother Amy said "felt like a big rolling machine".

Yet refusing to be beaten, Alexa - of Gosfield, near Halstead - and her cousin in Oxfordshire came up with the idea of doing socially-distanced litter-picks to keep their neighbourhoods clean, as well as raise money for Rewilding Britain.

Alexa has been joined by her sister Milly for the litter-picks around Gosfield, near Halstead

Alexa has been joined by her sister Milly for the litter-picks around Gosfield, near Halstead - Credit: Amy Bacon

Joined by her sisters Milly, aged five, and Leonara, two, Alexa thought she would raise just a few hundred pounds at most.

But she has been inspired by the difference she has been able to make in her own backyard, raising over £2,600 after walking more than 130 miles in all weathers to clear up rubbish.

Alexa has collected rubbish in all weathers in Gosfield, Essex

Alexa has collected rubbish in all weathers in Gosfield, Essex - Credit: Amy Bacon

Mrs Bacon said: "They are delighted and very pleased

"It has been tough going for them and they have been staggered by what they have picked up."

Alexa and her relatives have been staggered by the amount of litter in Essex

Alexa and her relatives have been staggered by the amount of litter they have found on rural footpaths in Essex - Credit: Amy Bacon

Most Read

Much of the litter they collected was plastic wrapping. However, there were also a worrying number of dog waste bags discarded on rural footpaths.

"This has been a good learning experience for them," said Mrs Bacon. 

Alexa Bacon has walked more than 130 miles in her quest to pick up litter

Alexa Bacon has walked more than 130 miles in her quest to pick up litter - Credit: Amy Bacon

"They are proud of what they have done. It has shown them that, even though they're only young, they can take control of a situation and make a difference to something they believe.

"They might only be small steps, but they can make a big difference over a long period of time.

Alexa Bacon with her mother Amy and sisters Milly and Leonora

Alexa Bacon with her mother Amy and sisters Milly and Leonora - Credit: Amy Bacon

"The big message was that they felt so devastated when they watched the David Attenborough documentaries, it felt like such an enormous machine of destruction which they couldn't stop.

"However, small acts by small people can make a difference.

Alexa, Milly and Leonora have picked up tonnes of litter around Gosfield

Alexa, Milly and Leonora have picked up tonnes of litter around Gosfield - Credit: Amy Bacon

"If everyone made one small change, then we could all make our world a better place.

"Collectively, we can make a difference. It's not hopeless."

Alexa and her relatives are not the only young people taking action on litter in their communities.

Four-year-old Amber Miss was so horrified by the volume of rubbish left strewn across Sudbury Water Meadows that she got to work clearing up discarded barbecues, beer bottles and face masks.

She had already done the same at Friars Meadow the day before.

Litter has built up over the past week, as the weather improved and lockdown restriction were eased - allowing groups of up to six, or members of two households, to gather outside. 

It was a similar story around Suffolk last year as restrictions were eased.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter