HALESOWEN'S dedicated street cleaners have won an award in memory of a stalwart town businessman.

Julie Harris and Stuart Freeman, who can regularly be spotted cleaning up around the town centre, won the Tony Billingham Community Impact Award at The Halesowen Business Awards 2022.

Hosted by Halesowen BID the awards were held at the B63 Bistro at Halesowen College on Thursday (March 24).

Actor, singer and ITV weatherman Des Coleman compared with VIPs including The Mayor of Dudley Cllr Anne Millward and MP James Morris present.

The audience heard how Julie and Stuart regularly put themselves in danger to pick up positive Covid-19 tests and drug paraphernalia.

They have worked in the town centre for years and are employed by Dudley Council. 

Des said: "This job is not for the faint-hearted or tickle stomached but the street cleaning team just get on with it.

"Julie and Stuart have been great ambassadors for Halesowen In Bloom over the years going above and beyond.

"Weeding and tidying making sure the town is pristine for judging and all year around.

"These guys are always happy to help both businesses and visitors to the town, always with a smile."

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Pic: Des Coleman at the business awards 

The award was presented by Tony Billingham's widow Pam to Cornbow Centre manager and Halesowen In Bloom organiser Eve O'Connor as Julie and Stuart could not make the event.

Des said Tony was a "formidable individual whose character and passion for our town will be remembered for decades to come."

He said: "Tony believed very strongly in putting Halesowen on the map and with his work with the many organisations across Halesowen he helped implement the many changes we have seen across the region.

"This award is our dedication to him and to honour his memory.

"The Community Impact Award seeks to celebrate the achievements of an organisation, individual, charity or business that puts our community first.

"We want to show our gratitude to those who truly make an impact on the people of Halesowen.

"This award is given to those who have played a part in changing our town for the better and adding something more than just a lending hand but a caring heart as well."

Halesowen In Bloom volunteer and hard-working litter picker Jean Green was also nominated for the award for her passion in keeping Halesowen a beautiful place.