Champion litter picker Ken Forbes has been handed a special community award by Derbyshire Dales District Council.
For more than 40 years Ken, a resident at Waltham House in Wirksworth, has voluntarily cleared rubbish from the terraces, stands and pitchside at Matlock Town Football Club’s ground in Causeway Lane.
For many of those years he lived in Brassington and regularly walked to Matlock the morning after a Gladiators match and back home again - a round trip of 20 miles.
Presenting a special community award to Ken, chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales Cllr Peter Slack said: “When Matlock Town contacted us to tell us how much Ken has voluntarily undertaken for the club and community since the early 1970s, we had no hesitation in agreeing to recognise his remarkable work.”
In addition to a community award certificate, Ken was presented with a framed photograph, a commendation from Matlock Town and a Christmas gift from staff at the district council’s Matlock Town Hall headquarters, where he is a regular visitor.
Matlock Town secretary Keith Brown said: “Ken really has been an excellent volunteer for Matlock Town and is still working at the club even though he has recently been in hospital.
“I cannot recall how exactly Ken became involved. He just appeared one Sunday morning having walked all the way from Brassington and said he would like to keep the ground neat and tidy by volunteering to clear away all of the rubbish after every match.
“In those early years attendances were always around the 1,000 mark so you can imagine the amount of paper, bottles cans which was created. But Ken never failed to turn up on a Sunday, walking in all kinds of weather although his journey has reduced a little following his move to Wirksworth a few years ago.”
Keith, who attended the presentation with Matlock Town chairman Tom Wright, added: “Ken is an outstanding individual and the tidiness of our ground is a credit to his very hard work.”