AN unsung hero who has spent the last 40 years helping to put the pride into Inverclyde has finally emptied his last bin.

Greenock man Robert Bain first started in the council refuse service at the age of 18 and has now finished his last round.

In recent times he has been part of a dream team with friend Stephen Gray looking after rubbish collections for businesses.

During the pandemic the key role of refuse collectors gained renewed recognition as they continued to work as the country closed down.

Robert, 58, from Fancy Farm, said: "I am very emotional actually to be going.

"I am very proud of the job we do.

"I have had such a lovely response from the public, I have to say they have always been incredible to us.

"During Covid it was completely different, but we just kept on going.

"In the 40 years working in the town I have enjoyed it all, particularly the last few years with Stephen.

"The job hasn't really changed much, the wheelie bins were introduced in 1986, that is probably the biggest change.

"I think people do appreciate the job we do.

"I will miss the team, we have a great team at Pottery Street.

"It is a privilege to be part of it."

Now Robert is set to spend some time relaxing with his wife Christine and his family.

He said: "I have no plans, I am just going to take it easy."

His refuse collection colleague Stephen, 62, said: "During Covid it was just the two of us working together.

"I think there are just some jobs that you have to keep doing.

"We couldn't stay at home.

"I will miss Robert, it will be completely different working without him alongside me.

"We've worked together for the last seven or eight years and it has been great."