'I draw the line at poo bags' - The eight year old fighting the tide of litter
- Credit: Hannah Yeldham
The mother of an eight-year-old boy who has become a "celebrity" litter picker in his home village of Hemsby says it is something he can excel in.
Theo Yeldham has severe dyslexia and learning difficulties and struggles to do well at school - but has found his niche in caring for the coastline and inspiring others to do the same.
He has become such a familiar figure on the beach near Great Yarmouth that he now has his own blog page Jr Seal Ranger Theo documenting his rubbish finds and has attracted the support of sponsors.
His mother Hannah Yeldham said it all started with a novelty grabber bought from the Sealife Centre in Great Yarmouth some years ago.
Fearing another plastic toy would be asked for then set aside she at first resisted his pleas to buy it - but having given in he became hooked.
During lockdown it became especially important as a way to get outside and establish routines, she added.
Mrs Yeldham's more recent role as a seal warden had also opened his eyes to the perils of plastic and lead to him completing a challenge award with Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
"We go down there mostly at weekends," she said.
"Generally we are there just over an hour during which time we fill a black bin bag and a separate carrier for glass.
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"It is mostly from the base of the dunes where the visitors sit.
"Last night when we went for a walk there was a pile of eight beer cans and a disposable barbecue. I draw the line at picking up dog poo bags though."
She said Theo had been doing his litter picking quietly without fanfare or applause until she posted about how her son had picked up after a load of adults who left rubbish behind on the beach urging people to do their bit.
Since then it had "taken off" and Theo was enjoying the spotlight.
"He wants to be famous," she said. "He wants to get more followers than Preston, his favourite YouTuber."
Monty's Fish and Chips and The Lacon Arms had both stepped forward to sponsor him ahead of his Big Beach Clean on September 3 at the end of the summer season which he hopes the community will support by joining him.