‘Trash Girl’ defies bullies to go global

Image copyright Paula Sparkes
Image caption Nadia Sparkes said the “Trash Girl” nickname made her feel “like a superhero”

A 13-year-old who was nicknamed “Trash Girl” by bullies for clearing litter from the streets has gained a global following for her work.

Nadia Sparkes, from Norfolk, refused to let the taunts deter her from litter-picking on her way to and from school.

After her story went viral she became an ambassador for the wildlife charity WWF, and now has more than 4,000 followers on social media.

Nadia said she was “really pleased” to see her efforts make a difference.

Since starting her crusade, the teenager has collected more than 1,100 litres of rubbish – enough to fill about 40 kitchen bins.

She leaves an hour early to go to school each day so she can “clear her route” using her bicycle basket, doing one side of the road on the way in and the opposite side on the way back.

Image copyright Creative Nation
Image caption Schoolgirl Nadia Sparkes is depicted as a superhero in a cartoon by Creative Nation

Earlier this year, Nadia – who said being called “Trash Girl” made her feel like a superhero – was immortalised in cartoon form.

The teenager, who loves to draw, is also being given the chance to publish her own on-message cartoon in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper.

She even has her own range of merchandise and hopes to use the money to buy refillable water bottles for every pupil at her school.

Image caption Nadia said she was “really pleased” to be able to make a difference with her litter-picking

Paula Sparkes said her daughter wanted to “give people a wake-up call about litter” but despite her achievements, the name-calling at school had not stopped.

“It’s very hard to change the attitude of teenagers,” she said.

“Nadia always felt alone in her litter-picking and was made to feel different, but then she realised all litter-pickers felt like that.

“She wanted to create a group to bring them all together and she’s done that – she has been contacted by people from all over the world.

“We’re incredibly proud of her.”

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Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-46472284

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