In Pictures: A year of hard work and success for the Wyberton Wombles litter warriors

From picking up discarded sex toys to wading through water-filled ditches to retrieve litter -– there’s nothing the Wyberton Wombles won’t tackle to keep the Boston area tidy.

Some of the members at the 'first anniversary womble' in Kirton at the weekend. Photo by David Dawson.
Some of the members at the 'first anniversary womble' in Kirton at the weekend. Photo by David Dawson.

With February 5 marking a year since the voluntary litter-picking group was formed, the Standard takes a look back at the dedication of the group and its various achievements.

Wyberton Wombles of Boston Common was created by Steve Slater and Steph Leyland when they set up a Facebook group dedicated to litter-picking in Wyberton.

In less than 12 months it has seen its volunteer members rise to over a thousand – with supporters litter-picking in all weathers – and taking on other tasks to tackle ‘grot-spots’ in the area.

Mario Decesare, Pete Sharman and Cheryl Crighton head out for the anniversary litter-pick at Wyberton. Photo by David Dawson.

In this time they have filled thousands of bags of rubbish, reported numerous cases of fly-tipping to Boston Borough Council and tackled miles of grotty footpaths.

They have also cleared rubbish from Pilgrim Hospital’s car park four times.

They have tackled all manner of waste horrors in that time – from used sex toys, to bottles of urine, soiled mattresses, and animal carcasses.

While members were gathering rubbish from the ground they were also garnering new friendships and an added sense of pride in the area they live in.

L-R Zoe Decesare and Lynn Bateman litter-pick at the anniversary womble. Photo by David Dawson

The group was created following the efforts of founding member Steve Slater who started taking long walks in his village of Wyberton following the devastating loss of his wife Debs in November 2020.

It was during these long walks over the next few weeks that Steve began to get increasingly dismayed by the amount of litter and fly-tipping he saw and began his first solo fly-tipping mission in January, calling himself the ‘Wyberton Womble’.

His posts on Facebook about his plucky efforts garnered lots of encouragement and praise from the local community.

Later, with the support of fellow litter-picker Steph Leyland, they formed the group now known as Wyberton Wombles of Boston Common.

A photo of members following a successful litter-pick back in November. Image supplied.

Steve said: “We now have just over 1400 members on the Facebook account, of which, of which about 140 are picking rubbish on a regular basis.

“They are committed to improving the environment we live in, and they take pride in their own local areas – some going out weekly to maintain them.

“Some have set up improvements in the area, for example putting their own rubbish bins in places where there haven’t been bins before.

“We have had group picks which go out weekly (Kirton Crew) but they don’t just pick rubbish in Kirton but go all over the Common.

The group's volunteers tackle a fly-tip in a roadside ditch. Image supplied

“But most important are the friendships and companionships that have been formed contributing to the wellbeing of the members both mentally and physically.

“It’s not just about picking rubbish but improving footpaths, overgrown hedges and pavements and generally tidying up eyesores in the area.”

Asked what kind of horrors they uncover during their work, Steve said: “We’ve found sex toys, clothing, food packages dating back to 1995, needles, wasted soil from cannabis plants, dead animals, and endless bottles of urine.”

Steve’s efforts to help local communities were recognised with a Boston Heroes Award from Boston Borough Council in December. Addressing the Wombles at the time, Steve said the award was ‘on behalf you you crazy lot -– what a privilege and I’m so proud of you all’.

Members met at Wyberton Church on Saturday for an ‘anniversary womble’ and litter-pick around the village.

Some members even wade through water-filled ditches to retrieve litter. Image supplied.
Members work hard to keep their areas free of litter. Image supplied.
Some great work captured on camera back in December. Photo supplied.
Members report the fly-tips they discover to Boston Borough COuncil - like this mess left in one of the waterways around Boston. Image supplied.
Wombles pictured at Pilgrim Hospital car park where they conducted a litter-clearing operation. Image supplied
This member swapped his litter-picker for a net to retrieve discarded rubbish from the water. Image supplied.
Liz and Malc Hammond at the anniversay litter pick. Photo by David Dawson.
Richard Green in action at the weekend. EMN-220702-102156001
India Upsall 14, and Hannah King, 14, in action at the anniversary litter-pick. Photo by David Dawson.