It’s the news we have all been waiting for! We can reveal that the caped crusader who has been flying round our streets for the last three months is on a mission to…collect ring pulls from cans.
Speaking exclusively to the Times, he said he now wants to be known as Ring Pull Man. He explained that his campaign is to help children in the Philippines, where ring pulls can be turned into handbags, bracelets and other pieces of jewellery that can be sold by the Philippine Community Fund (PCF).
“My mission is to encourage people, especially children, to collect as many ring pulls as possible so that they can be put in a container and shipped to the Philippines,” he told us. “The idea is to have collection points in schools, shops and offices.
“Once people have 1,000 rings I will come along to collect them on my new, matt black power trike that will shortly replace the unicycle I have been using to move around the town.”
He explained that he wants to give Tunbridge Wells ‘its very own, resident superhero’ and to involve children in a worthwhile project where they can do their own thing and ‘not have to ask parents for money’.
He added: “This is not about money. I am not asking people to give money – just ring pulls from cans they have used. It’s such a simple, easy way to help others and something that I hope will go national and who knows, even global.”
Ring Pull Man, however, declined to remove his mask and reveal his true identity.
“I am not going to tell you my name, where I live or where I work. For the sake of the children I want to maintain an air of mystery. I want this to be about their own superhero and not about me as an individual. Revealing my identity would spoil it for the children. My identity doesn’t matter.”
Even his closest friends and work colleagues are unaware that he is the man behind the mask.
“I have had friends text me and send me pictures of the caped crusader asking If I had seen him. At work I have been almost face to face with colleagues talking about the mystery man and them not realising they were looking at him.” He said everyone had been extremely helpful.
“I was out on the streets at 3.30 in the morning road-testing the new power trike when I had problems with the saddle and officers in a passing police car stopped to help me.”
Once the ring pulls are used in a product they have a value of about 10p each. “By the time you publish this, people will be able to check out all the background of the campaign on my website and find out just how they can help with this project.”
On the website, Ring Pull Man lists his own ‘Heroes’. Top of that list, he names the “Times of Tunbridge Wells – for honest journalism”. What a superhero!
Who the ring pulls will help
The Philippine Community Fund (PCF) was founded in 2002 by Jane Walker MBE after eight years of working in the country. In the squalid shanty towns, residents search for recyclable materials in city rubbish dumps, earning approximately £1 a day.
Ring pull tabs from canned drinks and food are collected and handcrafted into handbags, accessories and jewellery. In 2010, a new school was built from recycled shipping container vans and now benefits 800 students who are provided food and a sustainable livelihood.
PCF community schools and health programmes help rescue child labourers, some as young as four years old, from the rubbish dumps. Adult skills training and livelihood projects also offer families an alternative income to waste picking.