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Community Champion: Meet Fife’s kilted litter-picker, Peter Wright

Peter Wright is a familiar figure to people in Buckhaven.

The 77-year-old is out four days a week in his kilt, picking litter off the streets and putting it in the bin.

Peter is a volunteer with local environmental charity Clear and reckons he picks up four or five bags of rubbish every week – whatever the weather.

But while he enjoys doing his bit for the community, he wishes it wasn’t necessary.

Peter in action.

“Scotland is a beautiful country but there are two things that spoil it – litter and fly-tipping,” he said.

“I can’t do much about the tipping but I can do something about the litter.”

Peter owns six kilts but no trousers

Peter, who has six kilts but doesn’t own a pair of trousers, got involved five years ago.

“I started 60 years after I became a paper boy,” he said.

“I never thought then I would end up as a volunteer scaffie!”

A former finance officer with Glenrothes Development Corporation, he put himself forward after reading an article in The Courier where Clear chairman Allen Armstrong was appealing for helpers.

“I thought it was a good idea and I was mulling it over when I bumped into Allen, who was busy picking up litter,” said Peter.

“Because I’m an idiot, I gave him a hand and I was snapped up just like that,” he joked.

Peter says most people use the bins provided but he gets frustrated at those who don’t.

“The vast majority of folk play the game but there is still a minority who disregard bins altogether,” he said.

“I’m grateful to quite a few folk in the Bird Scheme, where I live, who I know do their bit.”

He enjoys helping the community

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I wish it wasn’t necessary but it gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

He particularly loves the social aspect of his work.

“I can have a chat with people in the passing,” he said.

“I say hello to folk, shout at their dogs or their dogs shout at me – it’s been a lifesaver.

“But my ambition is to come out some day and there be no litter.

“In the meantime, the best advice I ever got was once you’ve picked up a bit of rubbish, don’t look behind you.

“There are two certainties – there will always be litter and there will always be weather.”

But why the kilt?

Peter’s mother made his first kilt when he was just three-years-old.

His grandfather and great-grandfather were both pipers and often wore a kilt, with young Peter following suit.

“I used to wear trousers to school but when I kept outgrowing them my mother said, ‘that’s it, I’m not buying you any more’.

“She told me I could wear my kilt to school and I’ve been wearing it ever since.

“I don’t even own a pair of trousers.”

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