Ormesby man uses petition power to get Great Yarmouth cleaning job

HE is a well-known face in the centre of Great Yarmouth, having spent every morning of the last decade picking up chip forks and other litter for free.

Now Ormesby man Michael Beck hopes the borough council will employ him to sweep the streets and help market traders - and more than 450 people have signed a petition to back him.

The 49-year-old suffered horrendous injuries when he was knocked down by a car on April 2, 1987 and is on incapacity benefit with epilepsy and severe memory loss.

But he says cleaning the Market Place gives him a sense of purpose and he hopes if the council create a job for him he will not need to rely on state benefits any more.

“Every day I go and clean all the fag ends up and the market traders told me to ask for a job,” said Mr Beck. “Everyone knows me in Yarmouth and I talk to everyone.

“I’ve got a lovely family and I would love something to do during the day.”

Mr Beck, of Beck Avenue, was in a coma for 15 weeks after he was hit by a car on the walk home from his twin brother’s stag night.

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He says he was depressed for a while, but found helping around the market took his mind off his troubles.

“The market has kept me alive and I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” he said.

“People appreciate what I do and I would do anything for them. They can trust me and it’s very nice. I’ve got lots of friends down there.”

More than 450 people, including many market traders, have signed a petition to help Mr Beck get a job since he decided to appeal for one a month ago.

Diane King, 44, of Unique Sweets and Treats, said: “I know Michael very well.

“If you want anybody to watch the stall while you go to the toilet he will do it, or take your rubbish out for you, or get you a cup of tea. Hopefully they will give him a job.”

Julie Alexander, 40, of Dearnos Chip Saloon, said: “I do feel for the boy and I admire him.

“He’s had his disability for a long time and he’s got the get up and go to do something about it.

“Everybody on the market loves Michael and he can’t do enough for you, he’s always picking up the old chip forks. He wants to get off the benefits and get a proper job.”

Mr Beck handed his petition into Duncan Mallett, the council’s market manger, on Monday.

The borough council confirmed it has received the petition, but Mr Mallett was not available for comment at the time of going to press.