A dedicated Croydon dad has spent more than 100 hours clearing up his local playgrounds after they were in “dire straits” covered in litter and dog poo.

Jonathan Tolhurst takes his two children, aged three and six to Aspley Road Playground, in South Norwood at the weekends. 

However around a month ago, the 43-year-old noticed it been “left to ruin” with weeds and litter all over the place.

Wanting his children and other local families to have a nice place to play, the NHS IT worker said he contacted Croydon Council about the state of the playground.

When “nothing was done”, he took matters into his own hands and spent five hours clearing up the playground himself.

It was not the first time the dad has cleared up a local playground. At the beginning of 2022, he started doing the same at South Norwood Country Park which he said was also unkempt. 

Since then, he has completed around 28 sessions of between two and a half and four hours at the playground.

Jonathan told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Around a month ago it was in absolute dire straights there was litter, leaves and dog poo. I did try and contact the council to try and clear it up but they didn’t come and do it.”

The dad of two says the work carried out to improve the playgrounds should have been done by Croydon Council.

He added: “I feel Croydon Council has abandoned the basic things they should be doing.

"Some families in the area don’t have access to a garden or outdoor space at home, which makes it especially important that the council adequately maintain our playgrounds.”

Jonathan said the playgrounds are now a nicer place for his children and others to run around but wants the council to keep up the hard work.

He also said in the meantime he would welcome help from other parents who want to join his cleanups efforts and willing volunteers can get in contact via his website jonathantolhurst.com.

A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “New signs will be going up in Aspley Park to deter litter and dog fouling, and we are reviewing our park cleaning schedule to make sure it meets the needs of the local community and keeps our parks safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.

"However, we do continue to urge the public to take responsibility for cleaning up after their pets, and properly disposing of their rubbish.”