BLACKBURN’S “passionate” street cleaner has won a 2020 Community Champions Award.

Alan Taylor works hard to keep the streets of Blackburn with Darwen clean and has now been recognised for his efforts both in and out of work.

Alongside his job, Alan also gives up his time at weekends and on summer evenings to maintain the graves of soldiers.

Alan said: “It’s not just me that cleans the streets of Blackburn and Darwen, there’s a whole team of us that work hard to keep our borough clean and tidy.

“I was mainly nominated for the award because of the work I do on the war graves and it’s really nice for my work to be recognised, but that’s not what I do it for.

“I want to make sure the soldiers that fought for their country aren’t forgotten.”

Since 2014, Alan has looked after 266 war graves at Blackburn Cemetery in Roe Lee and even visits on Christmas Day to tend to the grave of a man who died on December 25.

After cleaning the graves, Alan shares photos of them on Facebook with his group of over 3,000 followers.

Lots of families have been in touch to thank him for his hard work, which has even helped to reunite long lost families.

Executive member for Environment Cllr Jim Smith said: “It’s wonderful to see Alan’s hard work being recognised through the award from Transdev, he really is a community champion.

"He works hard maintaining the war graves at Blackburn Cemetery as well as helping to keep our streets clean and tidy. Well done Alan and keep up the great work.”

On top of this, this year Alan helped to raise over £3,300 for the Blackburn Market Poppy Appeal around his work with the council.

Alan ran the poppy stall from 11am to 4pm and made up his street cleaning hours by starting at 6am and then continuing to work from 4pm until 7pm.

Over the Christmas period, Alan brought a little festive cheer to his cleaning rounds by decorating his cleaning trolley with flashing lights and tinsel.

General manager of The Blackburn Bus Company which gave Alan the award, Tony Fiocca said: “Alan is well known to our team, and to everyone who calls Blackburn home.

“We see him day-to-day cleaning the streets and around the market, and his fundraising for the Poppy Appeal is always very passionately done too.”

“Our team wanted to see Alan recognised, not just for his commitment to Blackburn and to the Royal British Legion, but for the voluntary work he does on top of this.

“We know he puts a lot of time into maintaining the graves of soldiers without local families, and as a community we’re all very grateful for what he does.

“The Transdev 2020 Honours Community Champion award gave us an opportunity to highlight Alan’s efforts, and from a very competitive shortlist of people right across the north of North of England he came out as Champion.

“We’ve donated £250 to the Blackburn Poppy Appeal in support of Alan’s efforts, as well as presenting him with his award.”

Last week, the Lancashire Telegraph launched the ‘We Love Lancashire’ campaign to stamp out littering and fly-tipping across Pennine Lancashire.

The paper is bidding for increased support for the hard-working groups who strive tirelessly to keep roads, verges and beauty spots clean and tidy, as well as increased fines for fly-tipping and more funding for local authorities to tackle the worst affected areas