A 69-year-old campaigner on a crusade against litter in Andover has become the latest winner of a Point of Light volunteering award, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
Manuela Wahnon becomes the latest recipient of the Prime Minister's award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day someone across the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
The new award has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in America, which was established by President George. H. W. Bush, and has since recognised over 5000 people and has the support of President Barack Obama.
Whether it’s a student setting up a new cancer awareness campaign, a Cadet leader teaching young people life skills or a Dad engaging the community to raise funds for the elderly, the Point of Light award will honour shining examples of volunteering across England.
Manuela’s clean-up campaign began in May 2009, following an encounter with a homeless man named Max. Spotting the man taking shelter one evening in an Andover shop doorway, Manuela returned the following morning expecting to clear up the rubbish he’d left behind, only to find he had left it spotless. Max told Manuela it was important to him to keep his town tidy and, feeling she had her prejudices challenged, Manuela decided then and there to take responsibility for keeping Andover’s streets clean.
Since that day, Manuela has racked up five years’ worth of litter-picking and set-up the Attitude of Gratitude campaign in Andover to encourage others to work towards the same goals. She also regularly speaks at schools across the county to help encourage young people to be more thoughtful with their litter. To date Manuela has visited 95% of all the schools in her area.
Manuela’s local MP, Sir George Young, welcomed the award. “ Manuela has improved the quality of life in and around Andover by campaigning on environmental issues as well as removing unsightly litter. We owe her a debt for her energy and commitment, and this is a fitting recognition of her work.”