PRIDE in Pill founder Paul Murphy has been named as the winner of the Pride of Gwent Community Hero Award.

Mr Murphy, 52, has been serving his community since at least 2014 when he started a petition to bring bus services back to Pill.

“Then we noticed there was mess on the street and I said – let’s do something about it,” he said – and litter pick group Pride in Pill (PIP) was born.

South Wales Argus: Pride of Gwent Awards 2023

In 2017, he accepted The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at Buckingham Palace and Pride in Pill became Pride in Pill MBE.

Since 2018, PIP’s community work has extended beyond Pill, with initiatives such as Help The Homeless and Christmas toy donations for people across South Wales. Each Sunday, the volunteers collect and distribute as many as 90 bags of food and water for Newport’s vulnerable and homeless.

PIP won the Pride of Gwent Community Hero Award in 2019 before diving into their next bold project – cleaning the Usk riverbank from the Transporter Bridge to Glebelands Park.

South Wales Argus: Pride in Pill have been cleaning Newport since 2014

Last month, PIP wrote to Newport City Council leader Jane Mudd after the authority “withdrew their support” for the group’s clean-up work. Council officers have since assured the group they “endeavour to engage” and a meeting is scheduled in relation to the riverbank project.

“The Pride of Gwent Awards is a good day. I always liked the awards because they do a good service,” said Mr Murphy. “We spoke to other people who were all interesting and heard about all the things they’ve done.

South Wales Argus: Pride of Gwent Awards 2023

“I think helping other people is great. Winning an award is great, but we don’t do it for awards. We do it because we care for our community.

“We do a lot of work with the homeless now. We don’t want to see anything go to waste because there are people who need it.”

The South Wales Argus Pride of Gwent Awards take place on Thursday, December 7, at Rodney Parade.