VOLUNTEERS have been hard at work cleaning up a town centre ­— and were even out early on New Year's Day.

They helped clear Rawtenstall town centre of rubbish left by New Year's Eve revellers.

And volunteers from Civic Pride Rossendale (CPR) turned out to the centre of Waterfoot at 7am on New Year's Day to clear the mess left there. Three hours later, the area was transformed.

At 10.30am, 15 volunteers met in Rawtenstall's Town Square to give the same treatment to the centre of town. A section of Bacup Road was the worst affected due to takeaway litter, bottles and cigarette ends.

Roger Grimshaw, vice chairman of CPR, said: We do this every year.

“The reason we do it is because we want a clean environment for everybody to enjoy.

“We have created 26 gardens around Rossendale and this is totally independent from the council.

“This is something we do for ourselves and the community.

“We get new volunteers on a day like this, and we have 40 to 50 people doing something for civic pride. What matters is the litter picking and the gardening.”

The entrance to the cemetery, where the newly installed CPR planters stand, benefitted from the leaves being removed.

Day two of the new year saw 10 volunteers tidying up a neglected corner in Constable while the Waterfoot volunteers collected two more bags from Burnley Road East. Day five saw eight volunteers on Phipps car park, behind Altham’s on Bank Street, removing weeds, leaves and litter while others were near the Rawtenstall Spur filling several bags with litter.

Mr Grimshaw added: “There are no specific areas, we let people choose where they want to go and help clean up.

“We have litter pickers out every day of the year, even on Christmas Day. Mums will take their children out with them, and we have an outreach department that works with schools trying to educate youngsters on the perils of dropping litter.

“The reaction from the community is amazing and we get financial support from local businesses.

“The community are 100% behind us and it is very motivating when they stop and tell us they appreciate what we are doing.”

For anyone wanting to join in, the CPR will be hosting taster sessions soon.