Rubbish is a drag: Volunteers take pride in cathedral grounds
VOLUNTEERS have proved that litter picking does not have to be a drag.
They joined forces to tidy up the grounds of Gloucester Cathedral, which unruly teens are using as a rubbish dump.
And they were led by drag queen Monica Tension from the nearby Westgate pub.
Regulars from the pub, which sits in the shadow of Gloucester Cathedral, were out in force picking up litter as part of the big city clean up.
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"Monica" alias Sid Kostromin, was leading the project to maximise publicity for their efforts.
He said: "There is usually one lady who walks around with her dog and picks up the rubbish on her own, so we had to help out."
The city council donated litter pickers, gloves and bags for the project and the volunteers are hoping to do regular sweeps, at least twice a month.
And it's not just KFC and McDonald's wrappers that litter the green space in the picturesque grounds.
Hypodermic needles and other drug paraphernalia were discovered on the first of what is hoped will be regular community clean-up operations.
Westgate Pub manager Chris Marsh said something had to be done to help protect his business.
"The Cathedral is the jewel in the city and one of the most beautiful buildings in the country, yet there seems to be plenty of young people who are not treating it with the respect it deserves," he said.
"We get plenty of business from the Cathedral, particularly during the Three Choirs Festival.
"We approached other businesses to help, including KFC and McDonald's, but only Patisserie Valerie has offered.
"People should be taking more pride in their city – the amount of rubbish left behind is disgusting."
The warm summer has made the Cathedral grounds a magnet for youngsters looking to meet their friends on the grass.
Volunteers said many were well behaved, but some were spoiling the area for other visitors.
Emily Black, a Westgate regular, said: "These people are nothing but urchins, they've left it in a right state. It's not unusual.
"I saw the advert in the pub and had to help."
Bishop Michael Perham, who lives near to the Cathedral, welcomed the extra help to keep the grounds clean. He said littering had become a common problem over the summer and he had heard young people meeting there as late as 4am.