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One-thousandth Snow Angel

While the Council does much to combat the effects of the notorious British winter – from deploying a fleet of gritters to implementing contingency plans to ensure vital services are maintained – the truth is it is impossible for Council staff alone to clear every single pathway and pavement in the borough the morning after it snows.

Waltham Forest’s Snow Angels scheme, established four years ago, enables residents to help clear snow from residential streets by providing volunteers with a free kit containing 20kg bag of grit, a branded high visibility vest, protective gloves and a snow scoop or shovel.

The scheme is held up as one of the most innovative and well received volunteer programmes being run by a Council anywhere in the London and it is making a real difference to residents.

Now the scheme can celebrate having reached a significant milestone, with the one thousandth resident signing up to be a part of the army of volunteers. Ian Ballard from Colworth Road, Leytonstone received a special high visibility vest with ‘1000th Snow Angel’ on the back from Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment.

Cllr Loakes said: “It’s remarkable and a real testament to the people of Waltham Forest that 1,000 residents have now signed up to be a part of this brilliant scheme.

“These volunteers can make a huge difference to their neighbourhoods when snow falls. If you’re elderly, disabled or pregnant icy pathways can present a real hazard that may keep you locked up inside for days on end for fear of falling.”

As well as providing equipment to Snow Angels, the Council has also greatly increased the number of grit bins it has deployed about the borough, upping them from 97 in 2009/10 to 176 today. It has also put them in strategic spots around the borough so that Council employees and Snow Angels alike have convenient access.

Ian said, “I thought it would be a good thing to do to put my name down and lend a hand as and when we get some snow. I mean it’s not like we get a lot so given the Council is providing all the equipment it didn’t seem like too much to ask.

“I think it is important that neighbourhoods and communities take some responsibility for themselves and that we all pitch in when we can. It’s good to do your bit and I particularly like the fact that I will be helping my neighbours in Colworth Road.”

While the Council celebrated the 1000th Snow Angel receiving his vest, there was also some sadness with the tragic news that veteran Snow Angel Bob Allan had passed away earlier this month.

Bob was one of the founding members of the scheme and the photos of him and children clearing the snow on Cleveland Park Avenue where he lived were used extensively to promote the Snow Angels initiative.

“Our thoughts go out to Bob’s family,” said Cllr Loakes. “I know he was involved in running Cleveland Park Residents’ Association and was the recipient of one of the Council’s ‘Love Your Borough’ Awards in recognition of all his hard work to keep the area looking fantastic.

“I understand he generously gave the prize vouchers he was awarded as part of the ‘Love Your Borough’ Award to the Cleveland Park Residents’ Association and that the gesture was typical of this great community champion.”

To find out more about winter planning visit or to join the growing ranks of Snow Angels phone Street Services on 020 8496 3000 or email

PHOTO: Councillor Clyde Loakes awards Ian Ballard from Colworth Road, Leytonstone his special ‘1000th Snow Angel’ vest.

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