THE founder of a Middlewich group which tackles the town’s litter while educating residents has been recognised for her dedication at the Cheshire Woman of the Year awards.

Janet Chisholm, who used to run Chisholm’s newsagents in Wheelock Street, set up Middlewich Clean Team nine years ago after she became ‘fed up’ with litter left strewn outside the shop.

In an effort to combat the problem, the Brooks Lane resident created a self portrait and pinned it above a bin with the caption ‘Make Janet happy, use the bin’.

And since 2003, Janet’s project has grown to include an army of 200 dedicated clean team volunteers, all of whom look after a small area of the town and help with activities.

Her efforts were rewarded with a secret nomination for the 27th Cheshire Woman of the Year award, held on April 25.

“It was quite humbling really,” said Janet.

“It is Cheshire women and they are doing fantastic things for their communities ranging across Cheshire.

“It was really an honour to be nominated.

“It is not just a question of us trailing the streets and picking up litter, we have got an educational plan and we work closely with Cheshire East Council and Streetscape and we know who to ask for help.

“It is not just about me, it is about us all coming together and doing something for the town.”

She added: “I have been nominated but without all these other people it just wouldn’t happen.

“It is happening, and it is very positive.

“I might be the figurehead but all these volunteers are doing such wonderful work and we have now got 200 members.

“They look after a small area and join us on litter picks to keep the town clean and tidy.”

Janet said she had a lovely time celebrating with the nominees and eventual winner, Sue Bowen, in the Long Room at Eaton Hall.

Sylvia Cheater, chairman of Cheshire Woman of the Year 2012, added it was a ‘fabulous day’.

“I think the event is so worthwhile because a lot of these ladies are unsung heroes,” she said.

“It is a diverse group of women and as far as I am concerned, the fact that they have been nominated, makes them all Cheshire women of the year.”

The Middlewich Clean Team is now advising its counterpart in Crewe on how best to develop.