Meet the lockdown litter heroes whose clean-up Burnley campaign is picking up pace

Two hard-working schoolchildren are spearheading a virtual army of litter pickers as they wage war on Burnley's rubbish-blighted streets.

Patrick Minihan (11) and little sister Orlagh (eight), who both attend Christ the King RC Primary School, came up with the idea of a clean-up campaign after attending a summer school for young entrepreneurs last year.

The eco-friendly pair are now holding a weekly litter pick near to their home, and are calling on other children in Burnley – and from across the globe – to join their virtual clean-up community by blitzing streets in their own area.

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Youngsters in Australia and the Philippines have already thrown their support behind the green crusade, posting photos of their own clean-up operations to Facebook.

Patrick and Orlagh Minihan, whose clean-up campaign has gone global. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Proud mum Janice, who lives in the Coal Clough area, said the homeschooling project was a way of creating awareness about the environment.

She said it's also an excellent way for children struggling with lockdown to get out and exercise.

"I enrolled them in a summer school last year for little children entrepreneurs, and this was their big idea – to clean up the streets of Burnley.

"We did it as a one-off in September, just to get out. We only did four streets, and we picked up three full bags of rubbish. That was a real eye-opener for us.

Patrick and Orlagh with mum, Janice. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

"Then we went back into lockdown [at the beginning of the year]. We're at home all time, and I was concerned about them being stuck indoors with no exercise. So we put two and two together, and here we are.

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"We've now got the time to really make a difference."

Patrick and Orlagh hold their weekly litter pick every Friday between 10 and 11am.

They are encouraging other children to choose a day and time that suits them, and then post photos to the Minihan Primary and Property Academy Facebook page after they have finished.

Orlagh said: "We did it for one week last year, and then we moved house. Now we've started doing it again. We picked up three full bags in just one hour on one day. We ran out of bin bags that day, so we carry a spare one now just in case."

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"Burnley has a lot of rubbish around it, and it doesn't look the best," said Patrick. "We're going to carry on doing it even when we go back to school. We want to go further around the town."

Mum Janice added: "The problem is everywhere. If we can make our children more aware now, then as they become adults we can keep it going long-term.

"We're trying to get other people on board to look around where they live, and see if they can improve their area, while getting the children out, and getting them some exercise.

"The fact we can't see anybody else at the moment, and we're indoors all the time with limited exercise, it kills a few birds.

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"We do it Friday between 10 and 11am because that suits our homeschooling, but people can do whenever suits them. We just encourage them post to our Facebook page.

"My business (Minihan Group) will donate gloves and bin liners to people who would like to get involved but may not be able to afford it."

"Let's join together virtually!"