From the crack of dawn, in all weathers, a solitary figure in a high visibility jacket combs the streets and alleyways of Morecambe town centre in search of... rubbish!
For 20 years, Michael Morgan has been responsible for a remarkable one-man litter purge on pavements, pedestriansed shopping areas and back streets.
His dedication has earned him the respect and admiration of thousands of business people, residents and holidaymakers as he brushes and shovels litter into his trusty “barra”, as Michael describes his handcart.
He is is dedicated to his job with Lancaster City Council, his day often beginning as early as 5.10am, while the rest of the population is still in dreamland.
Indeed, Michael gets stuck in even before he arrives at the town hall to collect his gear – he picks up litter along the way and often has a full carrier bag by the time he arrives at work! “I cannot walk past rubbish, I clean up everything possible,” he explained.
Born in Lancaster, Michael worked for a number of years as a chef and sous chef, including spells at five-star London hotels, before returning to the area to care for his mother. He began his first stint with the council as a street cleaner in 1987 but gave up in 1996 due to health problems. However, he was well enough to return in 1999 and has been on the streets ever since, rattling up an overall total of 30 years’ service.
Michael explained his early starts: “I don’t make a noise, I am not using anything mechanical so I don’t disturb people. I do the main streets first and hope to finish them before people go to school and work. Then I go into the back streets. I also do a lot of weeding as I go along.”
Michael, who is 60 and planning for retirement next year, said: “Streets tend to be cleaner these days, partly because people put a lot of rubbish into black bags. But I have noticed a big increase in cigarette ends on pavements near pubs and restaurants since the smoking ban.”
Michael, who has colleagues doing similarly excellent work in other areas of the resort, added: “I love Morecambe, I love my job and I take great pride in it.”