Your news: Church honours loyal litter picker

Michael Nichols with Rev Kate Capper and Mayor Mike George
Michael Nichols with Rev Kate Capper and Mayor Mike George

A Horley man has received a prestigious award for his years of service clearing up litter from the town’s two graveyards.

On February 19, Horley Town Mayor Cllr Mike George presented Michael Nichols with the Horley Town Award at St Bartholomew’s Church.

Mr Nichols was nominated by the church for his work in the churchyard as well as in the nearby cemetery in Church Road.

Churchwarden Ann Golding said: “For years Michael has single-handedly kept both our churchyards free from rubbish, daily going around with his litter picker and black sack making the environment look both clean and tidy.

“His contribution is invaluable. He picks up cans, bottles and he’s even been known to clean up dog mess.”

Former Horley Team curate Rev Kate Capper, who continues to be a confidante for Michael after leaving the parish, returned to St Bart’s for the special service.

She said: “I’ve known Michael since 2010 when he came along to help us with cleaning up the churchyard. He enjoyed it so much he said ‘can I keep doing this if you get me a picker and some black sacks’. I did, but wondered ‘how long will this last’ and here we are today.”

On receiving his award Michael said: “I’m very honoured to do the community work for St Bart’s Churchyard.

“I love doing it. People come and talk to me. Some of them even know my name now.”

The nomination to the council described how he now offers his time helping cut the grass, help decorate the church for Christmas and do essential work to upkeep the Grade 1 Listed building.

He has become a friend and righthand man to church maintenance expert Michael Gardner. He said: “Michael has been helping put down the wood chipping into all the holes and last year he was up on the roof with us doing the valleys.

“Without his help we would have had to do it alone. It makes a lot of difference a course cut the time right down.”

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