AN ARMY of sprightly senior citizens is helping to keep Anglesey's footpaths open in a bid to help a cash-strapped council.

The “Silver Slashers,” as they are known, due to their skills with hacking back undergrowth, have an average age of 72.

They are all members of the Ramblers Society and on a  “OAP mission” to keep Anglesey walking trails open.

According to the busy group, more and more footpaths are becoming overgrown since the Isle of Anglesey County Council imposed maintenance budget cuts.

The 20-strong gang of retirees, with a hard core of 13 who turn up every Friday, previously repaired the boardwalk on Llanddonna beach, after a storm surge, and are currently working on a seven mile circular path around Llyn Alaw.

Since they started, 11-years-ago, John Stubbs has been storing the group’s tools in his Benllech home garage. The pensioners would then have to lug equipment to various work sites

After appealing for help from the Ramblers’ Society, the group was given £3,000 Ifor Williams box trailer, fiitted out with frames to hold shovels, strimmers, brush cutters, saws and hammers. The trailer is towed to work spots by council highways staff and stored at the council depot in Llangefni.

Mr Stubbs, 82, said: “We’re on an OAP mission to keep foorpaths open, before we had the trailer it was much harder for us having to carry the gear and none of us are getting any younger.

“Most of us are in our mids 70s and 80s, a few younger ones are mid 50s.”

Andria Massey, 72, group member, footpath secretary and access officer for the Ynys Mon Ramblers Group said: “Since all the cuts, the council can’t keep up with the overgrown paths. As ramblers we found so many blocked routes we decided to do something, the trailer has made our lives a lot easier.”

A highly valued member of the team is Mr Stubbs’s black labrador, Boris - aka “Biffa” – as the gang have nicknamed him.

Mr Stubbs added: “Boris comes with us on all our projects. He loves being a Silver Slasher - though we never call ourselves the SS!

"Our Biffa Boris is an especially valued member of the team - his special job is clearing up the crumbs at lunchtime.”