A cleaner who has swept the streets of York daily for 15 years after officially retiring will have to make do with the housework instead when he puts down his brush for the last time at the end of the month aged 80.

Fred Stewart left Rowntrees, where he was a process worker, aged 65. But needing to keep himself busy he took up a position as village cleaner in Heslington.

Two years ago he was named as Best Street Cleaner in Yorkshire and Humberside and last year he was runner up.

But now Fred, of Heathmore Road, has decided to call it a day and swap dusty village streets for dusters.

"He can still help me with the housework if he likes," laughed his 78-year-old wife, Gladys, today.

"To be honest he is not really that tidy around the home but he takes pride in the garden and he does wash the windows."

Over the years Fred has also gained a reputation for helping elderly residents on his rounds by making fires and breakfast for them, checking-up on them if curtains are drawn or just stopping for a chat.

Although he has started feeling tired on his rounds, which begin daily at 7.30am, he wants to stay until the end of the month to show his successor the ropes.

"I will particularly be warning him about the 'salad sandwich trail" said Fred today. "That is the remains of sandwiches left by the university students as they wander along the streets.

"They tend to throw out pieces from the sandwiches they don't like and it makes and awful mess."

As one final wish, Fred his hoping the students can save their sandwiches so that Heslington can win this year's Yorkshire Rural Community Council's Best Kept Village award to be judged just before he retires.

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