Top trio clean up at awards
THE men and women who work tirelessly to ensure our city stays clean have been honoured by the Lord Mayor.
And for the first time in its history, there are joint winners for Exeter's annual Sweeper of the Year Award.
Sharing the honours are city centre car park cleaners Sharon Webber and Derek Mingo, both relatively recent recruits to the city's dedicated cleansing services team.
The awards are presented each year by the Tidy Exeter Group, chaired by Councillor Percy Prowse, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
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The ceremony was held in the city's Guildhall and Exeter's small army of sweepers were welcomed by Lord Mayor Councillor Rob Newby, who thanked them for their hard work.
Sharon has worked in the car parks for just nine months, having previously worked for an agency employed in the city's parks and cemeteries.
She said: "I was laid off when we had the snow and then this job came up."
Sharon is responsible for cleaning Mary Arches, Guildhall, Harlequins and Cathedral and Quay car parks.
Her fellow award winner Derek Mingo has been working for the team for 18 months.
He said: "I did care work, but I was working at the weekend which didn't give me time for my hobbies which are around nature and wildlife.
"I like what I do now, talking to people and helping them when I can."
Louise Harvey, Exeter's cleansing operations manager, said: "Both of them have turned the car parks around and do excellent work so we felt the fairest thing was to split the award between the two."
This year's personality of the year award went to Mike Brown, who has worked for the city council for eight and a half years.
Mike works the large mechanical sweeper, cleaning the street gutters, and says he loves the challenge of his work which he starts at 5am.
Mike, from Whipton, said: "It is challenging because of all the different positions you have to get the sweeper in."
Mike has been a driver most of his working life, having previously worked for Comet and British Bakeries.
Runner up in the sweeper of the year award was Jonathan Horwell, a member of the deep clean team which covers the whole city.
Highly commended was Michael Hollyer, a solo sweeper who concentrates on the canals and river area.