Meet the retired 'one-man-council' hero of north Bristol suburb

Andy Sherman, who tours the streets of his community of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, doing what needs to be done
-Credit: (Image: PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC)


A pensioner has been hailed as a community hero after people living in a suburb of north west Bristol noticed he was out on the streets every day tidying up, clearing gutters and drains, cutting back vegetation and sprucing up the neighbourhood.

Andy Sherman is so prolific and dedicated, people living in Lawrence Weston thought he was a council employee, but it took a post on the area’s community Facebook group for the truth to emerge. The 66-year-old had started doing odd jobs around Lawrence Weston before he left his paid day job as a delivery driver, but now he’s fully retired, he has committed to the new role seven days a week.

He invested in a set of proper tools and is a regular fixture on the verges, pavements and roads of Lawrence Weston, keeping everything spic and span. He told Bristol Live that he can’t just walk past a job that needs doing, and it keeps him occupied, busy and fit to spend his retirement tending to his beloved community.

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For months now, many people in Lawrence Weston assumed the chap cutting the grass and trimming the verges was a council workman, but it took a post on the area’s community Facebook group for the truth to emerge. Local resident George Hunt highlighted Andy’s work, revealed he was just a volunteer, and said ‘he needs a medal’.

Andy has five children, six grandchildren and ‘even more step-grandchildren’, and his daughter Kirsty saw the post and confirmed to local residents that her dad was just doing all this work out of the goodness of his heart. “He does do an amazing job,” she said. “I am glad that there are so many people out there who appreciate all of his hard work. He is retired and does all of this off his own back, he doesn’t get paid for what he does. He has a lot of passion for what he does and the area he lives in,” she added.

All of this online praise completely passed Andy by - he doesn’t have a smartphone and doesn’t do social media, but he told Bristol Live he was pleased people had noticed what he did.

Andy Sherman, who tours the streets of his community of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, doing what needs to be done
Andy Sherman, who tours the streets of his community of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, doing what needs to be done -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

“I worked as a delivery driver, mostly for TNT and then for FedEx, but I have recently retired,” he said. “I’ve lived in Lawrence Weston for a good few years now, and I used to potter about like this at weekends and in my spare time. Now I’m retired I can get stuck into it a bit more.

“I just got fed up looking at the mess everywhere, so I decided to buy the tools and do it properly. I just get up in the morning and I go out with the bin, and whatever needs doing, I do,” he explained.

“If it’s a big job, I contact the council first and if there’s no reply, or they don’t get to it, then I do it,” he said. Unlike some on social media, Andy didn’t have a bad word for the council. “It’s not the council’s fault. They’ve got three guys to do all this stuff across Lawrence Weston, Henbury and Shirehampton, whereas just a few years ago they had more than ten. They’ve had so much money cut from the Government, that they can only prioritise the emergency stuff,” Andy explained.

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“So what I do is get the green bags from Ambition Lawrence Weston, and fill them - it could be rubbish, leaves that need clearing, grass cuttings, hedges that need cutting back, drains that are blocked, gutters that need clearing, anything. The traffic islands are the worst - people just chuck litter down. So I’ll fill the bags and leave them, and either let Ambition Lawrence Weston or my daughter know and they tell the council, and they get collected. I haven’t seen anyone from the council, but it’s just a bit of a back up for them, it works well,” he added.

“The drains are a key thing. The council don’t have the people to do this anymore. They used to have the resources and people to clear 22,000 drains a year, now they don’t have the money so only do 1,000 drains. So they will only maintain the ones at the bottoms of the hills, because they are the most important. I try to do the rest,” he explained.

Andy Sherman, who tours the streets of his community of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, doing what needs to be done
Andy Sherman, who tours the streets of his community of Lawrence Weston, Bristol, doing what needs to be done -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

“I tend not to go out if it’s raining. I might go if it’s a bit drizzly, but not heavy rain - I don’t need to do that,” he added.

He’s out most days - it could well be seven days a week if the weather is good - and a usual day will see him fill between eight and ten bags with green waste and rubbish.

“All I can do is see what needs doing and do it. It’s something to do. It keeps my mind occupied - what else would I do, sit in all day and watch television? No thanks. That’s a soul-destroying thing to do. I get a bit of exercise, and the place looks a bit nicer,” he said.