‘It was hideous and offensive’: Graffiti busting teens win prize for cleaning up Oakfield Bridge in Aylesbury

Richard Marshall and Salma Khan of Aylesbury Youth Action
Richard Marshall and Salma Khan of Aylesbury Youth Action

Teenagers have won a top prize for launching a war against graffiti in Aylesbury.

A clean-up team from Aylesbury Youth Action swooped on Oakfield Bridge in the town to remove offensive paintings from the structure.

Now the group has won £500 as runners-up in the iHelp county finals run by Aylesbury and Bucks Freemasons.

It received £250 earlier in the year after impressing in the freemason’s district competition.

Judges praised the way the team had done much to change stereotypes of young people in society.

The assistant head of Aylesbury and Bucks Freemasons, Mike Stimson, said: “We were highly 
impressed with how the team got together some 30 teenagers to help in the project.

“It was superbly organised. They really lived up to our principles of friendship, decency, and charity.”

One of the team, Richard Marshall, 17, of Park Street, Princes Risborough, a gap year student, said: “We strongly believe that young people should volunteer to demonstrate they are proud to live in Aylesbury.”

His colleague, Salma Khan, 18, a gap year student, of Monmouth Close, Meadowcroft, Aylesbury, added: “The graffiti was hideous and offensive.

“It made the surrounding areas look horrible and rundown.

“We want people to be proud of their community.

“So we took direct action to clean it up.

“We are so pleased that the freemasons appreciated our hard work.

“It is touching to be rewarded like this.”

Twelve lodges and six chapters meet at the Masonic Centre in Ripon Street, Aylesbury, to raise cash for local people.

You can find out more on how freemasonry works in Aylesbury’s communities at www.buckspgl.org.