Wynne the Bin given tin can honour

PUBLISHED: 07:34 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010


She is known as Wynne the Bin - but it is possibly the biggest compliment you could pay Winifred Tutt.

She is known as Wynne the Bin - but it is possibly the biggest compliment you could pay Winifred Tutt.

To many it might sound like the most rubbish of pastimes but the 74-year-old has raised thousands of pounds through her relentless passion for collecting tin cans.

For Mrs Tutt the hobby she proclaims to love has escalated into something like a full-time job, with 5am starts and late finishes and she even has a special 'can van' bearing a warning that it might stop suddenly if she sees a stray tin lying on the verge.

Now the 'can-do' woman is to be honoured by trustees of the Norfolk Renal Fund today where most of her "earnings" have gone over the past decade.

For where there's muck there's brass and Mrs Tutt, who lives in Brundall, near Norwich, estimates she has raised about £5,000 since she started her unusual collecting craze started in 1984.

First the money went to a man who helped take in stray animals in her neighbouring village of Blofield, then she started giving the cash to the Big C Appeal.

It was purely by chance that she found out about the Renal Fund's lesser known need to raise money to make kidney dialysis patients' lives as comfortable as possible.

Mrs Tutt has been donating regular amounts every few weeks since thanks to her painstaking pastime, which includes not only collecting the cans but stripping the steel ones of their aluminium coating, crushing them and taking them to scrap metal merchants.

Trustees understandably felt that more than a few words of thanks were needed for their most "outstanding" fundraiser and will be presenting her with a certificate and planting a bush in the grounds of the Jack Prior renal unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to honour her efforts.

But it is not just raising money that is on Mrs Tutt's mind - she said she can not bear the sight of an unattainable stray can knowing the effects that dumping millions has on the environment.

"I love doing this, I hate waste and the thought of things going into landfill. It takes 98pc less energy to recycle the aluminium than it does to dig out the bauxite used to make it from underneath the rain forest.

"When my husband is driving along and I see a can that we can not stop and get I hate it."

The one-woman green machine said she is determined to carry on can collecting until she can no more and has enlisted the help of various park wardens to aid her mission.

She said she gets up at 4am or 5am for her "stripping" - taking the aluminium off the steel cans - before going on the hunt for more discarded tins, then has a rest in the afternoon ready for a second burst of energy in the evening.

Anne Thatcher, patient representative and trustee of the Norfolk Renal Fund said she found Mrs Tutt's efforts "incredible".

"We thought that has she had been so wonderful for more than 10 years that we wanted to do a little something to honour her.

"She said it is a full-time job and it is so exceptional that someone would go out and collect so many cans."

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press