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Hellesdon High School pupil nicknamed ‘trash girl’ by bullies refuses to stop collecting litter

PUBLISHED: 19:33 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:44 18 January 2018

Hellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes with some of the rubbish she has collected. Photo: Paula Sparkes

Hellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes with some of the rubbish she has collected. Photo: Paula Sparkes

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She has been dubbed “trash girl” by bullies for her environmentally-friendly ways.

Hellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes with some of the rubbish she has collected. Photo: Paula SparkesHellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes with some of the rubbish she has collected. Photo: Paula Sparkes

But Hellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes is refusing to let them stop her from protecting the planet.

The 12-year-old has been picking up other people’s rubbish along her two-mile route to school ever since September last year.

She uses the basket of her bike to bring it home and has already collected more than two recycling bin’s-worth of plastic.

Despite her good intentions, her green habits have also caught the attention of local bullies, who nicknamed her “trash girl”.

Hellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes with some of the rubbish she has collected. Photo: Paula SparkesHellesdon High School pupil Nadia Sparkes with some of the rubbish she has collected. Photo: Paula Sparkes

Other students, meanwhile, have told her to pick up their litter as it is “her job”.

Rather than let the comments get to her, Nadia, who is in year seven at school, says she is refusing to give up on her eco-friendly ways.

She said: “I’m not going to stop doing the right thing because of them, and if they are going to call me trash girl, they can say it with respect.

“I’m doing something to protect the world they also live in.

“It’s everyone’s job. We are all responsible for keeping this world safe, instead of believing that it’s always someone else’s job.”

Nadia’s mum, Paula, said her daughter started picking up the rubbish after becoming concerned about the amount dropped on her way to school.

She said the school had been supportive in regard to the bullying, but said the abuse was also taking place outside of the school grounds.

“I told her she had two choices, she could either stop collecting rubbish, stop drawing their attention and hopefully they would leave her alone,” Mrs Sparkes said. “Or she could own [the name] “trash girl”.

“As a family we are extremely proud of Nadia, not only for standing up to bullies, but also for standing up for what she believes is right.

Mrs Sparkes, 41, from Hellesdon, said it is not just her daughter who makes an effort to help the environment.

Nadia’s grandad helps keep the beach clean in Mundesley, while Mrs Sparkes often picks up litter when visiting the seaside.

“Nadia will be continuing to collect the bottles and cans that line her route to and from school,” Mrs Sparkes added. “It’s just a shame that so much is being dropped in the first place and that she has even been mocked for doing something so good.”

Readers give their praise

There has been an outpouring of support for Nadia on the EDP and Evening News Facebook pages.

Readers have praised her for not only protecting the environment, but standing up to the bullies who teased her.

Commenting on Facebook, Lisa Brewster said: “YOU [Nadia] sweetheart are a star that shines really bright above the rest. Hold your head high and never ever let anyone dull your uniqueness. You are doing something selfless and amazing. Shame on those that feel the need to belittle those people who choose to make a difference.”

Meanwhile, Caroline Ward said: “Congratulations to Nadia for standing up for what she knows is right. The school do teach good citizenship, but ALL parents also need to be good role models too - that means not tossing their rubbish on the ground, out of car windows, etc.”

Emma Whitmore added: “Nadia,I think you’re truly awesome! Own that nickname and don’t give up. The bullies are ignorant and should be ashamed. I wish more people were just like you”

And Tim Harvey said: “Well done you . Sod the bullies. We got your back. Your a credit to yourself and your family.”

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