EVERY week for the past three decades, grandfather Len Samways has picked up his brush, pulled on gloves and armed himself with rubbish sacks.

The Headington pensioner said he couldn’t just sit inside and worry about litter building up, but felt compelled to do something about it.

So the 84-year-old decided to clean up “his little bit” of Oxford.

And he said the problem had got worse over the 34 years he has been clearing Headington’s pavements, alleys and verges.

The grandfather-of-four said: “Every Monday, I spend two hours cleaning a little bit of Headington, all along my street, Latimer Grange.

“Then three years ago, I decided to start going down London Road too, so now I do a big part of that.”

Mr Samways is given rubbish bags by Oxford City Council, who pick up the filled sacks each week.

He said: “It’s usually just people throwing rubbish from their cars.

“I visited my son in Abingdon the other day and I couldn’t believe the amount of rubbish on some of the roundabouts – paper, tins, plastic.”

Mr Samways said he had seen odd sights over the years, but found one of his strangest finds just last week.

He said: “For the first time the other day, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Someone had dumped a whole Bible. It was brand new, so I’m drying it off and then I’ll take it to the local church.”

In the past few weeks, Mr Samways has also picked up writing paper scattered across bushes and an entire pack of playing cards.

Mr Samways said the problem had been exacerbated by nearby fish and chip shops, pubs and student accommodation.

He said: “I’m always cleaning up broken glass, because people take their glasses home with them when the pubs call time and leave them on the street.

“It punctures the tyres of wheelchairs going into the hospitals.”

Mr Samways added: “Instead of sitting indoors and moaning that your street is dirty, people should do something about it.

“The problem is only going to get a lot worse now the council is having to make so many cutbacks.”

The city council has set out plans to cut £10m from its budget over the next four years.

But city councillor John Tanner, executive board member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said street cleaning budgets had been protected.

He added he was concerned Oxfordshire County Council’s plans to close rubbish tips would increase flytipping.

Mr Tanner said: “I’m very grateful to litter champions like Mr Samways, it’s what makes Oxford such a wonderful city.”

  • Do you know a hard-working litter champion in Oxford? Call our newsdesk on 01865 425444.
  • Volunteers are being urged to come forward and help clean up the city for Spring Clean 2011.

The fourth annual OxClean clean-up, organised by the Oxford Civic Society, will take place on the weekend of March 4-5.

For more details, visit oxclean.oxfordcivicsoc.org.uk