WOKING Litter Warriors’ founder Lauren Horncastle has been shortlisted in the Environment category for BBC Radio Surrey’s Make a Difference Award.

“The award is for those who help to make where we live more environmentally friendly,” Lauren said. “It’s a chance to say ‘thank you’ and recognise and appreciate people who love to make life better for others.

“My dad, David, nominated me without saying so and I was shocked when I found I’d been shortlisted. It was only then that he owned up to putting me forward.

“When they called to notify me, I was silent for a moment or two and couldn’t quite believe I had been nominated for a BBC award. I didn't even know an award like it existed.

“It’s obviously very humbling to be nominated and it would be great to win to put my group and all our wonderful volunteers into the spotlight for recognition.

“Any recognition for the group is amazing so I’d love to be able to share something like this with them.

“But win or not I will continue to organise litterpicks and work with others to try to help keep our local areas clean of litter for as long as I am able.”

Lauren was shortlisted as one of four finalists by an external panel of judges, with the winner to be announced at a ceremony at the Ashdown Park Hotel, East Grinstead, next Monday (26 September).

Since starting in February, the Woking Litter Warriors (WLW) group now numbers well over 200 members, not including the many youngsters who have joined their parents on group outings.

Between them have removed roughly 250 bags of assorted rubbish from the roads, verges and parks of Woking, the approximate equivalent of one household’s weekly output for a whole five years.

On their most recent outing this month, and their eighth since February, the warriors cleared the stretch of Guildford Road between Mayford and the border with Guildford borough.

Over two hours, the group collected 25 bags of rubbish, plus two-and-a-half bags of recyclable cans and bottles.

 “People really should be ashamed that so much trash is dropped or thrown out of cars in and around Woking,” Lauren said. “It gives a very poor impression of the town to visitors, particularly given the regeneration and redevelopment of much of the town centre.”

WLW will be in action again early next month when a litterpick will start from the WeACT hub in Woking town centre. Details can be found on the Facebook site – Woking Litter Warriors (WLW) – or by emailing [email protected].