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Young men help to clean up their parish

Helping hand: Antoine Richards, left, and Krishun Douglas on landscaping duty in Devonshire (Photograph supplied).

Volunteer landscapers have spent their summer holidays tidying up public areas in their parish.

Krishun Douglas, Deszion Davis and Antoine Richards are among the people who offered their services to carry out gardening work in Devonshire.

The drive was organised by Christopher Famous, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, in an attempt to keep the parish spick-and-span.

Mr Douglas, who has just graduated from Warwick Academy, said: “Around my community, there’s a lot of trees and grass overgrown in certain areas and there are a lot of blind corners, so we’ve been cutting that down.

“It’s a great feeling and satisfying to know that my work is appreciated by others.”

The 18-year-old is scheduled to head to the UK, where he will study business and financial management at Northumbria University in Newcastle.

He added: “If someone was to drive past they sometimes stop and talk. Because I’m a young person doing this, I’m taking my time volunteering to help others, they always say I’m doing something good.”

Mr Famous, MP for Devonshire East, said: “The high temperatures and lots of rain equals lots of grass growth all around the island.

“The growth of grass is unsightly, but in some areas foliage is growing into the roads, so as you go into the road vehicles have to swerve to avoid the trees and could end up on the wrong side of the road, which eventually could lead to an accident.

“The solution that we came up with as a community was that we would get young men or others from the community to come out whenever they have free time and they will cut back the bushes, trim the trees and do what needs doing.”

Mr Famous said the group had tackled the area around Devonshire Post Office.

He said: “The irony is that we were there on the Sunday, but then at the start of the next week I saw the government truck.

“We cut the grass, they did the more manicured part of it and trimmed the hedge.”

Joanne Wellman, Devonshire postmistress, explained staff at the Parks Department maintained the area around the building but it could become overgrown between their visits.

She said: “The trees and grass were coming at us, it was like a forest out there.

“We definitely appreciate the help — they see the need and they do it.

“That’s great community service, giving back, it’s good that they learn to focus on the community at a young age.”

Mr Davis, a 17-year-old CedarBridge Academy pupil and Mr Famous’s son, said: “It’s all about keeping the community looking nice.

“I’ve lived in Devonshire my whole life, it’s my backyard. I want to keep my backyard clean and looking presentable, so I do it when I can.”

Mr Richards, 31, the founder and chief instructor at Bermuda Motorcycling Academy, added: “I tend to seek out service opportunities whenever my entrepreneurial ventures hit a wall. I’ve done Meals on Wheels and senior’s boccia in the past.”

The parish resident said: “This time, I wanted to help out closer to home, so cleaning up Devonshire was a great option.”

“I like the fact that I can see the fruits of our labour every time I leave my house. It helps me to appreciate how much maintenance goes into keeping our island beautiful.”