THE Birkenhead bonfire has been cleaned up by volunteers in a powerful display of a community coming together, after the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported the huge mess left by Tuesday’s celebrations.

Those who turned out said they were proud of their area and did not want to leave it in a state.

Karen Rotherham, who helped organise the clean-up, said: "The reason I got involved is that there was so much negative press leading up to bonfire night.

"No-one has anything good to say about the area, but the bonfire was all supervised by adults. Families came with their own fireworks.

"There was a mess afterwards, but every year we work alongside the council to get it cleaned up.

"I'm really proud of the kids, they came straight from school to help out. The most amazing people live here, people don’t see that."

Among the volunteers were children and adults, people from the local area and others from elsewhere in Wirral.

Karen said the vast majority of the mess was dealt with last night, in a community-led clean-up. Wirral Council said it assisted the volunteers.

Echoing her thoughts, fellow-organiser Dawn Taplin, from Moreton, said she was "choked up" by the community spirit on display.

She added: "At least 20 volunteers turned up and filled 45 bags of rubbish. That's a community where you stick together.

"When we finished, I hugged everyone there."

Dawn is regularly involved in community events and is the mother of Tidy Thomas, a boy from Moreton who goes around Wirral tidying up.

Dawn spoke passionately about the north end of Birkenhead: "Everyone of them respects me.

"They're down to earth and lovely people.

"Next year let's do the bonfire bigger and better.

"Let's charge and put the money towards a charity."

The clean-up was rapidly organised yesterday, when Karen called the North Birkenhead Development Trust, a community organisation based at the St James Centre on Laird Street.

Other local community groups were asked to help and between them a sizeable team of volunteers was assembled.

Jen Rhodes, from Saughall Massie, said: "Today was a great example of how a community can come together to look after the local area, from children helping to pick up the smaller items, to adults using a Land Rover to move the larger tree stumps left over from the bonfire.

"Birkenhead North often gets a lot of negative media and the local community are keen to change that and show how they can work together to make a difference.

"Over 20 people turned up today, not all from Birkenhead, to help each other and work as one team."

It seems that despite local concerns for people’s safety, the bonfire went off without a hitch and was an uplifting moment for this much-maligned community.