Tag Archives: Poulter Park

Wandle cleanup: February 2017: Sutton

The one where the waders were the warmest

Love was in the air, rubbish was in the river, it was time for the Wandle Trust Valentine’s Cleanup!

This month we returned to Poulter Park in Sutton on a very cold February morning. The park has always provided an impressive cleanup haul, with 200 tyres back in 2015 and 5 industrial freezers in 2016. So we couldn’t wait to see what the Wandle had for us this Valentine’s.

After the usual health and safety briefing, we got started. The waders divided into two teams: one to tackle the main river and one to head to Watermead Lane to tackle a faster flowing stretch of water which always gathers rubbish.

To begin with, it seemed like the river was fairly clean. The waders were taking a while to fill their trugs, and we were getting increasingly cold on the banks. It turns out it was warmer in the river, but it didn’t half smell bad!

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Eventually we started to find rubbish: tyres (not 200 thankfully), a steering wheel and a BBQ.

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In the depths of the silt, an oil drum was found. It took quite a few of us to get it up on the bank, and then we had to let some of the silt out before we had the strength to get it to the path and to the rubbish pile.

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In the undergrowth, the students from Richmond University found a stash of wooden planks. With keen eyes, they also discovered two motorbikes that had been burnt in the undergrowth.

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As lunchtime came around we were all freezing cold and ready for a cup of tea. The Richmond University students had baked for us again, and they put on an amazing Valentines’-themed spread. We had heart shaped cookies, ladybird biscuits, red velvet cupcakes and chocolate muffins!

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Even with cups of tea and coffee, standing around in the bitter north-east wind was only making us colder, so we got back to work very quickly. The long-distance wading team had returned with a car seat, and had assembled a pile of rubbish including money safes, a fridge and 3 more tyres before they rejoined the main party.

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Our waders continued through the park finding 3 coconuts – classic!

A nice cup of concrete to warm me up..

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And a mystery object that was buried so deep in the silt that even Phil had to give up on it. And Phil never gives up….

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Finally, we found a chimney stack and we were done for the day!

So what did we find? 1 wheelchair, 1 BBQ, 1 oil drum, 1 set of wooden steps, 1 carpet (that I saw, probably more), 1 car seat, 1 chimney stack, 1 dustbin lid, 1 pram frame, 1 steering wheel, 1 fridge, 1 car wheel clamp, 2 burnt motorbikes/scooters, 2 mattresses, 3 coconuts, 4 footballs, 8 tyres and bags and bags of other rubbish.

Huge thanks to Thames Water for funding this event, everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Wally for supervising the Event Tent, the Students at Richmond University for baking, and the Waste Team at Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:  Aaron, Andy, Ann, Chris, Claire, Dalana, Dave, Derek, Emma, Estella, Florence, Guy, Hannah, Ian, James, Joe, Kaitlyn, Kathy, Leah, Macie, Marcus, Mariam, Nick, Phil, Rob, Sally, Steve, Stewart, Theo, Tim, Tom, Victor, Wally, Wayne, Will and Zak.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?   That sometimes, 3 pairs of socks, 1 long sleeved vest, 2 jumpers, a fleece and my knitted hat, is not enough to stay warm!

Wandle cleanup: February 2016: Sutton

The one in the freezing cold

Our February cleanup fell on Valentine’s Day this weekend and so the theme was “Romancing on the River” although I am sorry to report a lack of romance. Perhaps a cold winter day in waders isn’t the best ice breaker?

For this event we headed to Poulter Park where last year we discovered 200 tyres in the river. Luckily, the story didn’t repeat itself!

After a quick welcome talk from myself in the cold wind, we all headed straight off to get to work and warm up. The wading team divided into two. The first team headed to the river down the path and started to tackle a pile of broken up fridges which had lodged on some leaning willows and brushwood islands.

Wading

Fridge Door

The other team headed towards Watermead Lane to tackle a similar pile of rubbish which had collected in the river. Fly-tipping had nowhere to hide…

Fridge Bits

We soon found the traditional coconut – a Valentine’s gift from the Wandle?

Classic Coconut

Perhaps my personal highlight of the day was a surprise visit from Erica who used to run the Wandle cleanups for many years. She had managed to hop on the train from Norfolk that morning and catch a lift with Jo, our famous former cake baker, who had come all the way from China to see us again!

Given the special date, we were hoping that love would be in the air at some point, and we weren’t disappointed when lunch time arrived! A team of students from the American International University in London had baked a huge range of delicious Valentine’s Day themed cakes and cookies for us, as well as contributions from Jan, Ann, Sally and Jackie! Who needs flowers when you have pink heart cookies and a hot cup of tea?

Heart Cookies

After lunch we were all pretty cold, but headed back out to the river. Within half an hour, our two wading teams met in the middle and we quickly realised we had covered the whole river through Poulter Park! So given the weather and the blue tinge to people’s lips, we called it a day early and started to pack up.

Back to wading

The rubbish pile was impressively large, particularly as we’d also created a second pile at the top of the park!

Rubbish Pile

So what did we find?  1 mattress wire, 1 golf trophy, 1 woven chair, 1 bicycle, 1 floor fan, 1 wooden pallet, 1 shelving unit, 1 trolley, 1 dustbin lid, 3 coconuts, 4 traffic cones, 5 concrete fencing stands, 5 fridge doors, 8 tyres, lots and lots of wiring and insulation from inside the fridges, bags and bags of other rubbish.

Bicycle

Huge thanks to Thames Water for funding the event, everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Mitcham & Carshalton Rugby Club for use of the facilities, Ann, Jackie, Sally and the students for catering for our volunteers, Wally & Chris for supervising with me, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent and the Waste Management Team at Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, Abi, Ahmed, Alassimo, Alex C, Amir, Andy, Ann, Aubrey, Barry, Behnaz, Blagovesta, Brian, Charin, Chris E, Chris S, Dan, Dave, David, Derek, Ed B, Eden, Emma, Gabrila, Gillian, Guy, Helen, Hiriah, Ian, Ida, J, Jan , Jane, Jason, Joe, Kaitlynn, Lisa, Manuel, Marina, Marta, Nikola, Per, Phil L, Phil R, Piper, Rachele, Rafael, Rob W, Robert M, Robert T, Rose, Rositsa, Rox, Sally, Samantha, Seamus, Thea, Theo, Tim, Vittorio, Wally, Wayne and Yoanna

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup? That wading the Wandle isn’t the most popular Valentine’s Day date.