The Jubilee clean-up: 'It's only cleaning. But we're part of something big'

  • @kevinJrawlinson

After the pageants, parades and flypasts, just one Diamond Jubilee procession remained last night as an army of street-cleaners began the almighty task of cleaning up after a national party.

Before the royal carriage had even reached the crowds on the Mall, road-sweepers were out to clear the start of the Queen's jubilee procession route of debris.

"This is a big day for most of the guys. The whole world is watching the streets we look after. We take pride in making London's streets look perfect," said Lucas Kulaga, 31, a Westminster Council worker brandishing his broom.

His team of cleaners had also prepared the streets for yesterday's parade from Westminster Hall to Buckingham Palace. Mr Kulaga added: "It is a big day for Britain. Expectation is high and we have felt it for the past two weeks we spent preparing. We are pleased to have taken some part in it. It is hard work but, when you get it done, you feel you are doing something important. It is only street cleaning, but we are part of something big."

The capital's sweepers spent the bank holiday weekend clearing away the mess left by about a million people who descended on London, all apparently armed with sandwich hampers and flags.

Westminster Council said its cleaners had already picked up 30 tonnes – or 6,000 bags – of litter before yesterday's carriage procession. Piles of celebration flags and bunting, champagne bottles, tents and chairs had to be cleared from the banks of the Thames after Sunday's pageant. Just half an hour after the Queen passed through Parliament Square yesterday, roads were beginning to look spotless again as cleaners furiously swept up sand and piles of horse droppings along the route.

Ed Argar, a Tory councillor, said: "Our people are very proud of the work they do. They put in 110 per cent and really go the extra mile. There is a whole host of people who work really hard to make events like this go well. That includes the people sweeping the streets and making the city look fantastic for such an important day."