A STREET cleaner from Pontypool has spoken of his delight after he was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community.

Keith Wright has been a Street Scene operative for 32 years.

The 49-year-old, who was handed the honour in the New Year Honours list, said he “absolutely loves” his job.

“I know there are many people out there who think they wouldn’t like the type of work,” he said. “But it’s a great job.

“I have built up a great rapport with shopkeepers and the residents.”

Born and bred in Trevethin, Mr Wright said he was very much a ‘Ponty boy’, although he now lives in Swansea with his partner.

He said they celebrated at home at New Year.

“To win the award is just fantastic,” he added.

“Thanks to all the staff and bosses at Street Scene, and also the top management at Torfaen County Borough Council, without them I would not have received it.”

Councillors and council officers took to social media sites to congratulate him.

Secretary of State for Wales David Jones, MP, also extended his congratulations.

He said: “In Wales, we have a rich and vibrant community spirit. So I am particularly pleased that many of those we are hearing and reading about have been recognised as a result of their voluntary or community-based work. They truly represent the Big Society in action.”