Harnessing the Power of Pensioners to Clean Famous Westbury White Horse
By KimHerbing | Monday, April 16, 2012, 15:31
A team of brave pensioners learned to abseil so they could scrub their local landmark in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Cleaning the Westbury White Horse
Members of the Rotary Club in Westbury, Wiltshire, whose average age is 72, strapped themselves into harnesses and descended off the steep hill above the town to clean the famous white horse.
The dozen or so volunteers learned to abseil at the end of last week in preparation for the mission, which took place at the weekend. The 175ft-high figure is carved into the chalk hillside above Westbury and can be seen for miles around, but weathering, pollution and accumulated grime over the years had turned its gleaming whiteness fade to grey.
It's the first clean-up in six years and was organised by the Rotary Club to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The horse is believed to have been originally carved to celebrate the victory of King Alfred over the Danes at nearby Edington in 878AD, and local council chiefs plan to light up the horse figure with spotlights to mark the jubilee in May and June.
Organiser Steve Carrington said the volunteer cleaners were doing "an unbelievable job" with the steam cleaning equipment. "It really is quite amazing the difference it makes," he said.