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Hellesdon school pupil nicknamed “Trash Girl” by bullies turned into cartoon superhero

Nadia Sparkes' story inspired production company Creative Nation to transform her into a cartoon superhero. Photo: Creative Nation

Nadia Sparkes' story inspired production company Creative Nation to transform her into a cartoon superhero. Photo: Creative Nation

Archant

A school pupil labelled “trash girl” by bullies for picking up other people’s rubbish has been transformed into a cartoon superhero.

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

Twelve-year-old Nadia Sparkes was ridiculed for her efforts to protect the environment by clearing up litter along her two-mile route to school.

But the Hellesdon High School student refused to stop and instead took ownership of her new nickname.

Nadia’s determination has since won the hearts of people across the world and even inspired a production company to transform her into a cartoon superhero.

The creators hope the image could lead to a cartoon being used in schools to inspire more young people to do the same.

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

Nadia’s mum, Paula Sparkes, said since the publicity, her daughter’s bullies had stopped teasing her.

“It was like turning off a tap,” Mrs Sparkes said. “Ever since the story went in the EDP she has not had any negative comments.

“She just sat there [reading the responses to the story] and said ‘I am not on my own anymore’.”

Mrs Sparkes, 41, from Hellesdon, said her daughter had received support from people living in Canada, America and New Zealand.

The image of Nadia Sparks 'trash girl'. Picture: @Ruddy MuddyThe image of Nadia Sparks 'trash girl'. Picture: @Ruddy Muddy

She even has a “Team Trash Girl” Facebook page with more than 560 members, which encourages people to share photos of the rubbish they collect each day.

More locally, Norfolk van artist Ruddy Muddy created a piece dedicated to her on the back of his vehicle with the caption “this girl’s got bottle.”

Mrs Sparkes said: “Nadia has been a bit overwhelmed by it by it all, but she is happy that so many people are thinking like her.”

Since September 2017 Nadia has used the basket of her bike to pick up plastic and bring it home for recycling - so far collecting more than two recycling bin’s-worth of plastic.

Alex Jeffery, from Creative Nation, which is located near Harleston, said the story inspired the company to create the Trash Girl cartoon.

He said: “We think she is a super hero for putting the planet first, in the face of the bullies who chose to criticise rather than help her and get involved.

“We created this image for her to say thank you and to offer our support for her fantastic work.

“We also wanted to see if our image could inspire a nationwide cartoon, sent to schools to inspire more young people to do the same fantastic work.”

Have you been inspired by Trash Girl? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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