NO-ONE wants to live somewhere unloved and rubbish-strewn, so father and son Lee and Joshua Atkins (pictured below) decided to take matters into their own hands after they moved from Wiltshire to North Yorkshire.

“I was shocked by how much rubbish there was when we moved to Catterick at the end of last year,” explained ten-year-old Joshua. “One day I was walking home from the shop with my dad and said we should do something about it.”

Lee, who’s served for the last six years, added: “Our initial thought was to just go out as a family at the weekend and clear up, but we then decided we could go for something bigger if we used social media.

“That night Joshua came up with the name – Catterick Garrison Clean Up Crew – and asked me to set up a Facebook page. It grew from there.”

They set a date for the first litter pick and by the time the day arrived the page had 200 followers.

“We’d expected about ten helpers to pitch up,” said Lee. “But there must have been more than 50 adults plus their children – it was amazing!”

The pair have been supported by Richmondshire District Council, which provided litter-grabbers, gloves and bags and collects the rubbish. 4 Brigade HQ and individual units have lent their support too by printing off posters and providing refreshments. In the summer, the local McDonalds also got on board by offering participants a free drink.

The aim is to continue the clean-up by encouraging locals to meet up once a month at the same location.

“It’s really nice to see people coming together,” said Lee, “and it’s really helped Josh cope with the sudden loss of his brother last year and our move north.

“He’s now been nominated for the North Yorkshire Young People Volunteering Award – the winner gets £1,000 towards their project.”

If you live in Catterick and would like to get involved you can find Catterick Garrison Clean Up Crew on Facebook.

Josh and Lee are our winter Community Champions and win a tablet courtesy of  DXC Technology.

Do you have a person who works hard to improve Army family life in your area? To nominate them for this award, email with ‘Community Champion’ in the subject line and a summary – no more than 300 words – of why you think they should win. The winner’s story will be published in Army&You and we’ll share the others on this website.

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