Yorkshire businessman cleans up with George Formby-inspired anti-litter film

Thomas Black

Thomas Black, a well-known West Yorkshire businessmen, has made a George Formby-inspired anti-litter film, following the astonishing success of his first anti-litter campaigning film three years ago.

Mr Black, the former joint chairman of the Keighley-based Peter Black Holdings, a major supplier of a wide range of products and services to the leading UK retailers, is fed up with the “horrible litter which is desecrating our beautiful Yorkshire countryside”.

In 2014 he made the film Don’t Drop Litter or Else!, which has received 200,000 hits on YouTube.

Now, using George Formby’s iconic When I’m Cleaning Windows as inspiration, Thomas Black, in conjunction with Yorkshire video production company Dexter Media, has created another hard-hitting film. This one is called Cleaning Up The Lay-Bys.

Mr Black, who lives in Ilkley, said: “I was completely bowled over by the success of Don’t Drop Litter Or Else!, which clearly struck a chord with many people.

“The rapidly increasingly amount of litter in our towns and cities, as well as our countryside, is a national disgrace. People who drop litter are ignorant, selfish and uneducated.

“This time around I have enlisted the help of exceptionally talented writer and ex-regional manager of Marks and Spencer John Hirst, who has changed the lyrics of When I’m Cleaning Windows to When I’m Dropping Litter, and equally talented ukele and banjo player John Toothill, who provides the music.

“They are supported by a superb dance troupe, arranged and led by Skipton choreographer Howard Bullock.

“Although this is a light-hearted parody, with some amusing lyrics and an appearance by myself, the anti-litter message is as hard-hitting as ever. I believe the film makes it clear that dropping litter of any sort is anti-social, bad for the environment and eventually hits us all in the pocket.

“Litter is an absolute disaster and it is up to all of us, including manufacturers such as Cadbury and Coca Cola, and fast food outlets like McDonalds, to start being pro-active and to take this issue seriously”.

Mr Black has three specific anti-litter ideas, which he is now following up:

  • Corporate sponsorship of stretches of litter-strewn roads and railway embankments and sidings
  • Encouraging supermarkets to reduce packaging and allowing customers to remove excessive packaging on site
  • 10 per cent off coffee and soft drinks at fast-food outlets if customers bring their own cups

“I am also aware that education is a crucial tool in any anti-litter campaign, so we will be sending our video to secondary schools across Yorkshire with the aim of teaching pupils the importance of keeping the environment clean and tidy. I believe strongly that a breakdown in family values and of discipline is directly linked to indiscriminate littering.”

He added: “It is enlightened self-interest to campaign against littering.   It is estimated that several billion pounds of local government money is spent on refuse management every year.   It therefore follows that less litter means more money for education, the police, the social services etc – and would also help to keep Council Tax lower,” he said.

“I am lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful areas of Yorkshire, on the outskirts of Ilkley, and it makes me so cross – and so sad – to see how many people disrespect the countryside and dump their revolting litter anywhere they want,” added Mr Black.

Cleaning Up The Lay-Bys was produced and directed by Leeds-based film-maker Mark Dexter and his production company Dexter Media.

It was filmed at Denton, near Ilkley and is now available to see on YouTube (just google Cleaning Up the Lay-Bys) and Thomas Black’s Facebook page   https://www.facebook.com/thomas.black.31392

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