Villager takes matters into his own hands to repair footpath and clear tons of litter from site

A resident of a Yorkshire village has single-handedly repaired an unsafe public footpath and cleared several tons of litter from the site.

Ricky Butler, from Norton near Doncaster, has received praise from “dozens” of residents after he undertook tarmac repairs on a public footpath which posed a safety risk. Around a 50-metre stretch of the path had crumbled, leaving around a 12×4 inch gap which was filled with litter.

Mr Butler said he cleared five tons of soil and litter from the area, with more yet to be removed. He said he was inspired to take the repairs upon himself after seeing the disrepair on a regular basis, saying: “If the council weren’t going to do it, I would.”

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He added the project has had a positive impact on his mental and physical health, having previously suffered a stroke which he is still recovering from.

The tarmac work done by RickyThe tarmac work done by Ricky
The tarmac work done by Ricky

An unnamed councillor called him a “local hero”, saying financial cutbacks would have likely left the path unrepaired by the council.

Mr Butler added: “I want to thank everyone for their support and praise, I’m doing it for the village and community. I know many people on the council and I get to know quite a bit of what is going on, but to be honest I’m not really interested anymore, I’m just an ordinary person trying to keep my area clean and tidy.

“I did try to campaign some years ago regarding the state of the roads but I’m past all that now. I’m always for the underdog and I have no political affiliation, the tarmacing was for my own good and safety of others and I apprecate people appreciating what I’ve done.”

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Director of Place at Doncaster Council, Dan Swaine, said: “Doncaster Council would encourage anyone to report any defective highway surfaces to the council’s highways department so it can be appropriately assessed and action taken where necessary.

“We believe that on this occasion the resident has acted in good faith in the interests of his local area, however we would not encourage private individuals carrying out works within the public highway.

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