Community Local News

Manuela’s Mission: A Tireless Advocate for Cleanliness and Community in Andover

In the heart of Andover, there exists a force for change, a champion of cleanliness, and a beacon of community spirit – Manuela. Her journey toward becoming a prominent figure in Andover’s litter campaign began with a chance encounter, a moment that would spark a commitment to making a difference that would resonate far beyond her own footsteps.

It was a seemingly ordinary evening when Manuela first spotted Max taking shelter in a shop doorway. What followed was anything but ordinary. Returning the next morning, expecting to clear the debris left behind, she found the area spotless. Max, despite facing his own struggles and challenges, had left the space immaculate.

“I was influenced by the shame that I felt that I had a home and a bed, and I could remove my shoes and coat to get into that bed and my home had a roof,” Manuela recalls, her voice tinged with emotion. “Max had to sleep with his coat on, and his roof was the sky.”

Max’s gesture stirred something deep within Manuela – a sense of responsibility, a call to action. Thus began journey, a journey marked by countless hours of litter-picking and the establishment of the Attitude of Gratitude campaign, a movement aimed at inspiring others to join her cause.

Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Prime Minister David Cameron himself commended her commitment to the local area, making her a Point of Light. “Beyond belief, the proudest moment of not only my life but my family’s life too, I was one of the first 50 in the country and the very first in Hampshire to be recognised but of course now there literally thousands of them as they appoint a point of light every day” Manuela reflects, her words resonating with humility and pride.

At the heart of Manuela’s campaign lies her engagement with schools, where she passionately educates children about environmental responsibility. “Each child that hears me speak represents their families,” she emphasizes. “I don’t speak to one pupil; I speak through those children to their families and their neighbour’s.”

In her talks, Manuela dispels misconceptions about littering, challenging the notion that children are the primary culprits. She paints a vivid picture of the diverse array of litter encountered during her clean-up efforts, from cigarette butts to discarded clothing, highlighting the need for collective action to address the root causes.

The passion extends to the wildlife and talking about these issues in schools “The level of awareness among school pupils, thanks to both well-known and lesser-known environmentalists who produce films and short videos, is truly impressive. They demonstrate remarkable thoughtfulness and compassion, particularly when confronted with the impact of litter on rivers, beaches, and oceans, and its subsequent journey to other countries and lands.

While I refrain from using graphic images in my talks, as they can be distressing for children, I do make occasional references to them to illustrate the profound consequences of littering. It’s crucial for them to understand that what may appear to be harmless plastic, capable of holding four cans of beer for easy transportation, can, in reality, lead to the death and suffering of marine life, as they become trapped in it”.

Collaborating with environmental staff and organisations like the H.S.A., Manuela participates in organised litter picks, finding empowerment in collective efforts. “It’s rewarding to look back on a river or a road that you have helped clear up,” she remarks, her eyes alight with the satisfaction of tangible progress.

Despite facing challenges, including health limitations as she ages, Manuela remains steadfast in her mission. “What keeps me motivated is knowing that whilst I am able, I can help keep my town looking beautiful,” she says, her voice unwavering in its determination.

For those inspired to make a difference, Manuela offers simple yet profound advice: “Try it. It’s great for the body, all the stretching and bending and walking. It’s free, and feel-good endorphins run riot with your body.”

In addition to her direct outreach efforts, Manuela extends her impact through digital channels. She keeps a captivating blog where she shares her experiences, insights, and reflections on her journey as a litter campaigner in Andover. Through this platform, she not only chronicles her own efforts but also amplifies the voices of others in the community who share her passion for cleanliness and environmental stewardship.

Furthermore, Manuela uses her blog to champion local businesses and initiatives that align with her values, fostering a sense of community pride and support. For those seeking to join her cause or learn more about her work, her website,, serves as a hub of information, inspiration, and opportunities for engagement.

In the end, Manuela’s dedication serves as a testament to the power of individual action and community spirit. Through her tireless efforts, Andover is not just cleaner; it’s a shining example of what can be achieved when individuals come together for a common cause. Manuela’s mission is far from over, but with her guidance and unwavering spirit, the future of Andover shines brighter than ever before.