A Chester recycling hero who has got his whole community involved in recycling over 50,000 Christmas cards through the Woodland Trust and has raised £60,000 for the Neuromuscular Centre has been named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Woodland Trust and M&S partnered five years ago, and in that time Michael Main has encouraged his community to recycle more than 50,000 Christmas cards, getting three local schools involved.
Thanks to Michael’s recycling, over 50 trees have been planted as part of M&S’ Christmas Card Recycling Scheme.
Michael, 75, an antique and period home restoration specialist is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Michael has been recycling cards since the Christmas card recycling scheme with the Woodland Trust started in 1998. Over the last five years, Michael decided to put a sign outside his house inviting Christmas cards for recycling.
Last year he collected 12 bin bags of Christmas cards from his local community, and is aiming to more than double the bags collected this year.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “As we start to take down Christmas decorations, Michael is playing an important role in helping to make sure people across his community give something back with their Christmas cards. Thanks to Michael’s hard work as a recycling champion with the Woodland Trust and M&S scheme, thousands of local people have helped to turn their Christmas cards into 50 trees. I’m delighted to recognise Michael as the UK’s 435th Point of Light.”
Michael is the 435th winner of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush.
Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.
Michael said, “It’s an unbelievable and totally unexpected honour. I’ve always been very passionate about giving back to the community and the work I do with the Woodland Trust is something I hold dear to my heart. So when I found out that the Prime Minister wanted to recognise my volunteering efforts, I felt a bit embarrassed to be honest - as it’s something I just enjoy and has been a big part of my life. This partnership project between the Woodland Trust and M&S means the recycling comes with an extra bonus. I just hope that more people reading this will want to contribute to the scheme or even to organise a card collection in their own area.”
Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust Beccy Speight said “We are absolutely thrilled that Michael is being recognised by the Prime Minister for his tireless, selfless efforts at collecting Christmas cards for the scheme for almost two decades, which leads to much needed tree planting in the UK. It is remarkable how many cards he has collected and with his billboard he has made it a real community effort.
“This scheme is unique because not only do M&S collect and recycle cards they also fund us to plant a tree for every 1,000 cards collected so clearly without the energy of people like Michael championing it, the country would certainly have fewer trees! So on behalf of the Woodland Trust I want to say a huge thank you to him and also to the Prime Minister for recognising his achievement.”
M&S Director of Plan A Mike Barry said: “We are delighted to see Michael’s fantastic efforts recognised by the Prime Minister. Our partnership with the Woodland Trust is one that we are incredibly proud of, and it is the amazing work of people like Michael that makes it all possible.”