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Teacher and taxi firm are named among Norwich and Norfolk's Eco Heroes

PUBLISHED: 18:27 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 22:58 29 March 2019

Matt Willer at the Allotment Project at Reepham High School and College. Picture: Ian Burt

Matt Willer at the Allotment Project at Reepham High School and College. Picture: Ian Burt

A taxi company and a teacher who helped turn an abandoned school field into a thriving allotment were among the Eco Heroes recognised for doing their bit to protect the planet.

Zero Taxis was one of the Eco Heroes winners. Photo: Thorpe St Andrew Town CouncilZero Taxis was one of the Eco Heroes winners. Photo: Thorpe St Andrew Town Council

The Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards 2018/19 were held at the city’s historic St Andrew’s Hall, with biologist and conservationist Prof Ben Garrod hosting.

One of the winners in the Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council organised awards was Norwich-based Zero Taxis, which won the small/medium business category for running with a fleet of electric vehicles.

There was also success for schools. Reepham High School and College scooped the secondary school award for its Allotment Project and Ellingham VC Primary School received the primary school award.

Matt Willer, who teaches GCSE and A-level history at Reepham High School and College was named the overall eco-hero award, having launched the Allotment Project in 2015.

Biologist and conservationist Prof Ben Garrod. Pic: Norwich City Council.Biologist and conservationist Prof Ben Garrod. Pic: Norwich City Council.

It saw an abandoned corner of the school playing field turned into an allotment with recycled items, 150 fly-tipped tyres, toilets and bathtubs forming growing spaces.

Judges said: “Matt is inspiring commitment and energy to both sustainability and to teaching. We were really inspired by the humility he brings to the project – the best sustainability leaders are those who give others space to innovate and do things themselves.”

Norwich Foodhub took away the community group award and the Mindful Mondays Project won the food producer award.

Prof Garrod said: “I was thrilled to have the honour of hosting this event, which is a real celebration of the effort people are making to do their bit for the planet.

“It’s particularly inspiring to see the younger participants, who are not just tomorrow’s conservationists but already proving that you’re never too young to make a difference.”

Each of the winners received a handmade sustainable wood trophy. Ellingham VC Primary was presented with three tablets by sponsor Updata and Reepham High School scooped £500.

Tom McCabe, interim head of paid service at Norfolk County Council, said: “It is everyone’s responsibility to prioritise sustainability and I believe these environmental champions will inspire the next generation.”

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