Eco Rangers Larne
1644. Abe Agnew
Abe Agnew, from County Antrim, is a retired paramedic who set up ‘Eco Rangers Larne’ in October 2020 to encourage people in his community to join him, and his dog Bobby, in combating a rise in litter on local roads and coastlines.
Abe has been carrying out litter-picking in his local area for many years, and realised that lockdown restrictions allowed many people to connect more closely with their neighbourhoods and have the time to tackle problems of waste. After collecting more than 15,000 pieces of litter a week during the first period of lockdown, Abe began inviting others to join him, and now has over 600 volunteers signed up as Eco Rangers, with sister groups also set up across County Antrim.
This award coincides with the start of the Great British Spring Clean, the annual campaign encouraging people to volunteer to keep their local neighbourhoods clean.
In a personal letter to Abe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was inspired to hear about your crack team of 600 eco rangers clearing the beautiful coastline and countryside of Northern Ireland. Litter is a scourge on our green spaces and so it is fantastic to see your team of volunteers tackling this issue.
“Let me also thank your faithful companion, Bobby, who I know joins you on your clean up sessions.
“As we mark the Great British Spring Clean, I am delighted to recognise you as the UK’s 1644th Point of Light. Thank you and congratulations!”
“I am delighted to accept the award on behalf of the Eco Ranger group, now with 600+ Eco Rangers, who undertake conservation work and remove polluting litter in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.”