Express & Star

Birthday boy delighted by special visit from waste truck team

A little boy who is ‘obsessed’ with the weekly visits from his local waste and recycling team enjoyed a special surprise for his third birthday.

Birthday boy Jude Clarke with his family and special visitors, Pete Wood and Darren Phillips of the Joint Waste Service

Every Friday, Jude Clarke, from Burntwood, waits excitedly for them to appear and watches in fascination as operatives empty the bins of recycling material and general waste into the back of the respective wagons.

He looks forward to it every week and insists on waiting at the entrance to his street, under the watchful eye of mum, Kate, for their arrival.

The operatives know Jude and wave to him and as Jude’s birthday, June 26, approached, Kate contacted Lichfield Council's Joint Waste Service to see if it could help with decorations for the ‘bin-themed’ party she was planning.

Managers went one better and visited Jude’s home to wish him a happy birthday in person.

The little boy heard the wagon approach and was wide-eyed with excitement when it pulled up outside his house.

Waste and transport operations manager Darren Phillips and logistics oficer Pete Wood met Jude and his family and presented him with a hi-vis vest, a children’s book about recycling, a certificate congratulating Jude on his interest in recycling, a set of red, white and blue miniature bins and a birthday card.

Their brief visit did not affect the regular operation of the waste team and Jude was delighted when he was given the opportunity to sit in the wagon and sound the horn.

His mum said: "Jude is obsessed with the waste collections, helps dispose of our rubbish and makes sure items go in the right bin.

"We put the bin out on a Thursday evening and if our neighbours are not at home we put theirs out too.

"Jude loves watching the wagons collect rubbish and recycling. If we do miss a wagon in our street, we go out looking for it on its round.

"Jude absolutely loved his surprise. Thank you to so much to Joint Waste Service team – you made his day."

Jude’s birthday was celebrated with a party at his home with family and friends.

Councillor Elizabeth Little, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for waste and recycling, said: "We are delighted that Jude is so interested in the work of our waste collection staff.

"It was lovely that two of our staff were able to visit him at his home and wish him a happy birthday."