PUPILS from Belfast Royal Academy have taken part in the school’s 23rd annual sponsored clean-up in the Mourne Mountains.
The 109 young volunteers and 36 adults, many from the Newtownabbey area, braved wintry conditions to remove several tonnes of refuse including an abandoned car; television; pram; assorted household goods and more than 40 tyres.
The team was welcomed to the area by South Down MP, Margaret Ritchie, MLA Chris Hazzard and chairman of Newry and Mourne Council, Mickey Coogan.
Master-in-Charge, John Reilly MBE, Belfast Royal Academy, has been organising the clean-up since its inception 23 years ago and has said that, since then, they have cleared over 140 tonnes of rubbish.
“Belfast Royal Academy’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Centre makes use of the Mourne Mountains for expedition work on 12-15 weekends per year,” he said.
“Our pupils have benefited so much from taking part in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Mournes are a particular favourite amongst our pupils.
“They are always delighted to be giving something back and showing their appreciation for this stunning beauty spot.
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award promotes a sense of responsibility amongst its participants, and we see this every year when we have around 150 volunteers who give up their Saturday morning and afternoon to take part.”