'He's my friend' - Ipswich youngster thanks bin men for lockdown laughs

Raya Bailey touches elbows with Jorge the refuse collector

Raya and Jorge have become friends during the pandemic - Credit: Rachel Bailey

A five-year-old girl from Ipswich befriended a bin collector during lockdown - and has given him a thank-you card for all the times he made her smile. 

Raya Bailey and mum Rachel used to wave to the refuse collectors throughout the pandemic, with Jorge always the most enthusiastic responder. 

Rachel Bailey said: "Jorge really made an extra fuss to make her laugh, coming up to the window and pulling faces, touching elbows through the glass, that sort of thing. 

"We made a video and sent it to the council and the next time we saw him he brought Raya a colouring book -- and then when he came back from a trip to London he'd brought her a snow globe, with Tower Bridge and all the landmarks. 

"After that we spent a few hours making the thank you card.

"It's been really lovely, getting us through the lockdowns, and now she's going to school so she gets to actually go out and talk on bin day. 

"I've just asked her what she wants to say about Jorge and she's said 'he's my friend.'"

Raya delivers a thank you card to her friend Jorge

Raya delivers the thank you card to her friend Jorge - Credit: Rachel Bailey

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Councillor Phil Smart, Ipswich Borough Council's portfolio holder for environment and climate change, said: "This is a brilliant example of how our operatives provide a valuable service to the community of Ipswich that goes well beyond just emptying the bins -- they strive to be community spirited, offering a friendly wave as they pass by or engaging in the occasional kerbside conversation. 

"Bin crews and other frontline workers in the community are a constant in people's lives and over the course of the pandemic they have become a reassuring beacon of normality. 

"I'd like to thank this young resident for going out of her way to make a card for Jorge and recognising his hard work - it's this type of kindness that can make a person's day."