Bin men give Sunderland toddler a Christmas to remember

Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen. 
Father Michael Roper and binman Mark Brown
Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen. Father Michael Roper and binman Mark Brown
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Little Zach Roper is having a rubbish Christmas - and he couldn’t be happier!

The Southwick two-year-year-old is mad about bin lorries and can’t wait for the weekly collection at home in Scoresby Close.

Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen. 
Binmen from left Kevin Hodgson, Mark Brown and Steven Kenny

Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen. Binmen from left Kevin Hodgson, Mark Brown and Steven Kenny

He has made friends with the crew on the local round - and they made his Christmas when they turned up this week with a present and card just for him.

Dad Michael and mum Helen put the story on social media - and were amazed by the response.

“It put a smile on my face and it has made quite a few other people smile, too,” said Michael.

“He just loves the binmen - he even watches videos on YouTube of bin lorries. Every week he gets excited and starts bouncing in his high chair.”

He was beside himself that he had a present from the binmen. It has absolutely made his day.

Michael Roper

The family bought the crew a Christmas gift and were delighted to find they had returned the favour, bringing Zach a selection box and card.

“We bought the binmen some chocolate biscuits and Zach was there to give it to them,” said Michael.

“He was standing at the gates waiting and one of the lads said ‘Stay there, I have got a present for you too.’ They had clubbed together and bought him a present and a card.

“He was beside himself that he had a present from the binmen. It has absolutely made his day.”

Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen.

Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen.

Council bosses were so taken by the response to Michael and Helen’s social media posts, they arranged for the crew to pop back and Zach got a chance to climb behind the wheel of the truck.

Mark Brown is one of the crew and said: “He’s always there every week with his Mam and we always talk to him,” he said.

“We just thought it would be nice between the three of us to get him something for Christmas.

“We weren’t expecting it to turn out the way it did but it’s really nice to be appreciated - he was over the moon when we went back today and he got the chance to sit in the cab.”

Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen. 
Binman Mark Brown

Toddler Zach Roper, 2 receives Christmas gifts from Sunderland's City Council binmen. Binman Mark Brown

Coun Michael Mordey, the city council’s Portfolio Holder for City Services, said: “I’m delighted one of our bin crews has been able to make Zach’s day.

“Crews often build up a real rapport with the people whose bins they’re emptying and I’m sure they’re as pleased to see Zach’s smiling face every week as he is to see them.

“The lads do a great job working in all weathers and it means such a lot to them to know that what they’re doing is appreciated.’