Two days after Tuncurry's 7-day makeover was declared complete, Ted Bickford and a small group of his volunteers were there to make sure a rejuvenated Manning Street stayed that way.
The iconic graffiti-buster and students from Alesco Senior College, Bryony Sudell, Kintarli Morris, Gabby Pasolini and Maddi Law spent four hours applying anti-graffiti coating to the CBD's new murals and installations, putting the finishing touches on what had been a herculean effort from the Tuncurry community.
Ted believed it was because of the willingness of volunteers like the Alesco College girls, plus the many more youngsters who regularly lent him a hand, that Forster Tuncurry had become such a shining example of a community that took pride in its appearance.
"We've got a community of young people here who respect their town and their community," he said.
"I'm so proud of them."
Having enjoyed a long-standing relationship with schools like the Great Lakes College, Ted believed this sense of pride among the youth was only growing stronger.
On Wednesday, July 3 he held another information session at the college's Tuncurry campus, introducing more budding young graffiti-busters to the importance of keeping their community clean.
With half-a-dozen students already on hand to clean up any graffiti or vandalism that appeared at the school, teacher Sam Doust said the campus remained pretty well graffiti-free.
She also believed the program nurtured some great qualities in the kids.
"It gives them a sense of community and a sense of pride," she said.
"It builds self-esteem and team skills as well."
Ted pointed to the gradual reduction in his workload as clear evidence the programs were working.
Heading out in his truck at 6am every morning, he said it was not unusual for him to go two weeks without having to clean anything these days.
"The flow-on effect to the community is amazing," he said.
"The kids just won't accept it (graffiti)."
Ted also has an established relationship with corrective services in the area, which has given many offenders the opportunity to perform their community service hours while learning from a man who has dedicated his life to serving his community.
"This has been a very long successful partnership that has seen many of our clients over the years work with Mr Bickford and at the same time give back to the community," Taree community corrections manager Shane Pratt said.
To report graffiti in the Great Lakes, call Ted on 0408 440 309.
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