School pupil's call to make Longridge plastic free starts new campaign

Jeannie Wilkinson with her letter, pictured with her mother Emma (right) and St Joseph's headteacher Mrs Moya Smith
Jeannie Wilkinson with her letter, pictured with her mother Emma (right) and St Joseph's headteacher Mrs Moya Smith

Longridge Town Council is to launch a campaign to cut the town’s use of plastic - after heeding a plea from a local primary school pupil.

Jeannie Wilkinson, nine, of Hurst Green, contacted the council about plastic pollution.

Help The Sea Be Plastic Free poster made by the Williams family.

Help The Sea Be Plastic Free poster made by the Williams family.

In a passionate letter to the mayor Coun Steve Ashcroft she highlighted her concerns about damage to the planet and the environment by the dumping and burning of plastic goods and packaging.

Now Town mayor Steve Ashcroft will call on Longridge to become a plastic-free town during a special climate action strike day at The Palace cinema in Longridge this Friday.

Last week the Town Council unanimously agreed to work to make Longridge a no-go area for single-use plastics.

Jeannie had told the mayor: “Plastic is a disaster for our planet because it disintegrates but it doesn’t go away completely. After it is used it goes in the ocean or landfill...We really must do something. I ask you to declare Longridge a plastic-free town.”

Collage poster  made by Nia, Daisy and Holly Williams, promoting the  'Friday's For Future climate strike day at Longridge's Palace Cinema

Collage poster made by Nia, Daisy and Holly Williams, promoting the 'Friday's For Future climate strike day at Longridge's Palace Cinema

Jeannie and classmates at St Joseph’s RC primary school in Hurst Green had embarked on a letter writing campaign after a pollution alerting visit by children’s TV characters The Wombles to their school.

The mayor was so impressed by her letter he made a special visit to the school, spoke at its assembly and promised to see what the council could do. He said: “We’re all aware of the damage plastic is doing to the environment. We’re hoping to galvanise the community.”

The Palace Cinema has joined Friday's strike day by cancelling its daytime films and opening its doors from 10.30am - 5pm for a day of activities which were prompted by the concern of another local schoolgirl Nia Williams.

Nia, nine, had joined previous ‘Friday’s for Future’ school strikes but wanted an event for all age groups to express concerns about climate change.

Longridge mayor Coun Steve Ashcroft

Longridge mayor Coun Steve Ashcroft

Her mother Catrin approached the Palace which was happy to lend its support to a special information and activity action day.

Nia and her sisters Daisy, 12, and Holly,14, have created special posters to advertise the event. These have been put outside the cinema.

Palace Owner Lara Hewitt said the cinema would be striking by not showing its planned film of 'Downton Abbey' during the day on Friday. Instead a film about climate change, entitled 'Tomorrow' will be shown at 2pm and there will be a range of free activities and talks, plus an art exhibition and community ideas board. Longridge High school will send groups of pupils to the event, which is also being supported by Longridge U3A group.

The plastic-free town initiative will be launched at 11am on Friday, when Jeannie will read out her letter and Nia will also give a speech.

*There will be a small charge for admission to the film.