AN environmentally conscious father and his autistic daughter are on a valiant mission to keep the streets of Jaywick clean and free of dumped rubbish.

Nigel Whitehouse, 45, and daughter Ruby, 11, embark on weekly litter-picking expeditions every Saturday around the seaside village.

The inspiring waste vigilantes conduct their work in a bid to both make the local area tidier and to benefit the environment’s wildlife, something which is very important to Nigel.

The pair’s refuse haul is usually made up of fizzy drinks cans and plastic bottles which have been carelessly dropped on pathways and thrown from car windows into the road.

Throughout the summer Nigel and Ruby astonishingly found themselves bagging up more than 1000 pieces of rubbish.

Plastic bottles or cans were crushed down and put into their own recycling bin, while glass bottles were taken to Brooklands Community Centre and disposed of using the bottle bank.

Nigel said: “Ruby has been such a star and despite her autism she is so good when it comes to the environment.

“It is amazing to see my daughter wanting to go out doing this to help nature in her free time, wanting to help her community and asking me if we can go litter picking.

“I do not know why the people who dump litter on the floor feel the need to do it.

“This summer we removed more than 1000 bits of cans and bottles off the street.

“I believe communities can only change if you show positivity and this is why we do what we do - it is the children's future we have to think of.”

Nigel is the founder of the Wildlife Defenders, a non-profit initiative he set-up to combat the damaging adversities faced by wildlife and animals.

His passion for making a difference started when he was just five-years-old and cites David Attenborough as a huge inspiration.

He said: “I have grown up around wildlife and nature and my passion to really help wildlife has only grown stronger.

“After seeing a report about ocean plastic, I started to realise how bad this problem was, and David Attenborough has been a big part of why I wanted to help.

“So, I decided to start doing something for the community to help drive positivity into the area.

“Running Wildlife Defenders has had such a positive effect on my daughter because we run on the pride in the community and it’s all done from the heart.”

To find out more about Wildlife Defenders visit