The Museum of Cambridge pays tribute to Allan through his own words
“I never thought that I’d say I was lucky to get up each day at 4.30am to clear up the rubbish others leave behind. I never intended to stay in Cambridge, and planned to leave as soon as I’d saved some money. But I’m still here, and I still haven’t saved any money. I feel incredibly fortunate that Cambridge has become ‘home’. Cleaning the streets and parks – from King’s Parade in the centre to the estates on the edge of the city – has allowed me to get to know Cambridge and the people who live here.
“Sometimes I feel my barrow is a mobile confession box, all sorts of people feel they can tell the council road sweeper their problems. And the people just as much as the buildings are what make the city such a good place to live.
“Whichever way you approach Cambridge, you see grass, trees and lots of sky. The college gardens, parks and commons bring nature right into the town. Cows graze on Midsummer Common just five minutes’ walk from Marks & Spencer – and in the summer office workers and students eat their lunch beneath the willow trees that line the river at Coe Fen. At weekends Jesus Green becomes a giant playing field with games of every kind – from skateboarding to lacrosse. These spaces are vital to people’s wellbeing.”