They also serve.

02 November 2006

IT MIGHT sound like a humble task, but all credit to them who do it. The voluntary Winchester Litter-Pickers not only keep the Cathedral Close clean, but also the area outside the railway station, "to create a good impression when visitors arrive", and out in the suburbs.

The scheme has proved very popular, says John Edwards, who set it up with a couple of others ten years ago. More than 100 volunteers have joined in. They litter-pick the railway station - which is a good long way from the cathedral - and do the suburbs all the year round. From April to October, they go round the Cathedral Close at five o'clock every evening "to fill in the gap between the clearings done by those who are paid to do it".

The volunteers are provided with picking-tongs, and advised to wear strong gloves. At the end of fine afternoons, when the Cathedral Close has attracted picnickers, they need a trolley as well. They often find credit cards, Mr Edwards tells me, and do their best to return them. Among the more unusual finds was a Porsche-user's manual, and a box of pottery miniatures under a car-park hedge.

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