Retired trucker from Sutton drives school project to tackle litter

A project to rid the environment of litter is being driven forward by a 77-year-old retired trucker from Sutton.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 5:13 pm

For Danny Thompson is going into schools to teach youngsters about the importance of keeping their local area clean and tidy.

He has already paid a visit to Mapplewells Primary and Nursery in Sutton, and plans more in an initiative backed by Sutton Rotary Club – of which he is senior vice-president.

"It’s all about education,” said grandad Danny. “There is no need to see loads of rubbish in town, and the council can only do so much.

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Environment champion Danny Thompson with youngsters at Mapplewells School in Sutton.

"If I can get the youngsters interested and they go home and tell their mums and dads, they start talking about it.

"We need to get people interested in their own communities, instead of discarding litter.”

Danny spent three days at Mapplewells, spending an hour with different classes, giving a talk on the environment and then taking the children around nearby streets and parks to clean up any litter they could find.

"It was such a pleasure to talk to them about Mother Nature, and how the animals and creatures in our world live and survive,” said Danny, who lives on Dalestorth Road with his wife Jeanette, 76.

Danny takes out Mapplewells youngsters to clean up the area near their school.

"I told them this was a beautiful country but, sadly, it was getting spoiled by people throwing rubbish down.

"I also explained to them what can happen if animals come into contact with some of the discarded litter, such as birds getting tangled up.

"They were very interested and asked some brilliant questions. When we left the classroom to do some litter-picking, the excitement was amazing.”

Such a ‘Good Samaritan’ attitude towards children is firmly embedded in Danny’s DNA because, back in the 1990s when he was a truck-driver, he began work on transporting humanitarian aid to Romania.

Danny with gifts and cards presented to him by Mapplewells School after his visit.

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In 32-tonne trucks, he carried materials to help build orphanages for needy youngsters, which led to him setting up his own charity that still exists today.

Danny explained: "One year, I took my wife over to show her the work that had been done and when we called into one of the orphanages, we bumped into a man called Joe Walker from Rotherham, who was also helping.

"Since 2000, we have been partners in a charity called People In Need Worldwide, raising money for various projects in Romania.

“We have helped to build a village hospital, and we are currently waiting for the green light, after the Covid-19 pandemic. to go over there again to take touch-sensory equipment for children with autism and other health issues.

"The soothing equipment, such as lights and tactile toys, helps to calm and relax them.”

Through Joe, Danny was introduced to the Rotary Club in Sitwell, Rotherham, and three years ago, he became a member of the Sutton branch.

Of his litter project, secretary Tony Lord said: “This is a superb achievement by Danny on behalf of the club, and he deserves our thanks.”

So pleased was Mapplewells with his efforts that the school lavished him with presents. But Danny deflects the praise, insisting it’s all in a day’s work during retirement.

"As Joe and I always say, we don’t want to let the grass grow beneath our feet,” he said. “We like to keep going.”

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