"I have a purpose": Single Leeds mum said son's life transformed by the duo's litter picking adventures in Farsley

A single mum who has suffered from mental health issues since losing her job said she has a new purpose in life - after becoming a litter picking hero with her son in Farsley.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 4:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 4:34 pm

Ami Walker, 33, lost her job as a prison officer in February 2020 - just one month before the start of the national lockdown.

Since then, Ami - who has sons Aidan, 11, and Freddie, 6 - said she has struggled to leave her house and was in a complete rut.

However, six weeks ago while driving with her son in the car, Ami and Freddie spotted some purple bags next to a bin and were intrigued where they had come from.

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Speaking to the YEP, Ami described how Freddie - who suffers from ADHD and "didnt't think much of himself" - has completely transformed due to their new venture.

Having scoured the internet, Ami realised the bags were the efforts of the Litter Free Leeds Facebook group members - a community of almost 3,000 people across the city.

Eager to "find a new purpose", Ami reached out and a kind member lent her and her son their own picker to help clear the litter in her community.

In the past six weeks, Ami and Freddie's relationship has grown stronger than ever as the heroic pair spend up to two hours a night scouring Farsley and the surrounding areas for litter.

Speaking to the YEP, Ami described how Freddie - who suffers from ADHD and "didnt't think much of himself" - has completely transformed due to their new venture.

Speaking to the YEP, Ami described how Freddie - who suffers from ADHD and "didnt't think much of himself" - has completely transformed due to their new venture.

She said they have been given a new purpose in life and "finally found some happiness again".

Amy posted a heartfelt message into the Facebook group thanking everyone for their kindness and compassion, which has since gone viral.

Now, the pair plan to continue litter picking most nights and Ami said Freddie is "happier, calmer and loves the hunts" they go on.

Ami said: "He is like a different kid.

Speaking to the YEP, Ami described how Freddie - who suffers from ADHD and "didnt't think much of himself" - has completely transformed due to their new venture.

"He has changed so much.

"Freddie is one of those kids who didn't think much of himself.

"He would draw pictures and say they were rubbish.

"Now, he believes he is helping the animals and it has given him purpose.

Speaking to the YEP, Ami described how Freddie - who suffers from ADHD and "didnt't think much of himself" - has completely transformed due to their new venture.

"He loves being outside and we have had some lovely chats and laughs on our walks.

"We have made new friends and passing cars even beep their horns at him and call him a star.

"It has changed him completely."

Ami and Freddie have been out picking litter on the streets almost every night for the past six weeks.

The pair can often be seen on the ring road or Farsley town street - although their monumental efforts have often resulted in being unable to find new litter.

Ami joked: "Freddie asks me if we can move on to somewhere else which actually has litter!

"My sister has promised him 10p for every item he picks up so he literally never wants to come home.

"My son is now a super proud little boy and smiles all the way home from school as he knows we are going picking that evening.

"It is all thanks to Litter Free Leeds.

"I want to say thank you to them for helping us find some happiness again."

James Crabtree is one of the founders of the Litter picking group.

Speaking to the YEP on Thursday, James said Ami was "inspiring"

He said: "This is what it is all about, not only helping our community but inspiring others to do the same.

"Ami has been on this difficult journey but I am so happy she has found some light at the end of the tunnel, not only to help make the best version of herself but for the ones she loves the most.

"Well done Amy, you're a star and it is people like you that make us proud of where we came from."