Author Archives: Jo

Wandle cleanup: November 2018: Wandsworth

Our November cleanup was scheduled to be held at Ravensbury Terrace in Wandsworth and the sun was shining. However, the heavy rain the previous day and throughout the night resulted in us unfortunately having to cancel the event!

Taking one look at the river we could see the water level had risen dramatically. The small island on the bend was well below the surface and the lower branches of the weeping willow were submerged. A repeat of December 2017 showing just how easily rain affects this site in Wandsworth: 

We did remove a few bin bags of rubbish from around the cars. Mostly drinks cans, bottles and food wrappers – every bit makes a difference!

Despite all this we want to say a huge THANK YOU to Dave for getting to the site early and for staying to greet any unknowing volunteers, and to all those who helped litter pick the car park. Apologies again to anyone who didn’t get the email, it was great to see you and chat over hot drinks and cakes. If this was your first time attending a cleanup, rest assured very few events are cancelled and we look forward to showing you the ropes in December.

See you next time for our festive cleanup!

Please bring some cash to purchase your Wandle cleanup Christmas cards!

A date with Boris

Mayor Boris

January 2013 kicked off with an invitation for the Wandle Trust to send a small team of core volunteers along to London’s City Hall for drinks with Boris Johnson, his team and a selection of other Merton/Wandsworth charities.

Erica compiled a list, sent around the invitations and we all turned up on a dark and stormy evening for the do. Thinking that this might be an opportunity to make an impression or two, we also came armed with some info about the Trust, action shots of the team on cleanup days, a couple of Wandle Trust cook books, and a suitably decorated carrot cake for Boris and his teams’ morning tea the following day!

Wandle Trust cake

The evening was fun – over a few drinks and canapés and conversations with other charities in our area, some good connections were made.

AJ, Tim, Jez and Erica

Boris did a turn on the podium with a well-received talk about the fabulousness of London and his appreciation of volunteers through the 2012 Jubilee/Olympics and beyond – and one of us even managed to shamelessly mug him for a handshake and a brief chat about the Trust before he was whisked away by his minders!

Will and Jo

Overall, our Wandle Trust team were a tidy bunch who acquitted themselves with humour and dignity throughout the evening before tumbling out of City Hall, into the squally winter’s night to make their way home.

Tower Bridge

A good evening was had by all… and morning tea at City Hall the next day promised to be a much anticipated event with our cake as centrepiece. A gratifying thought!

Wandle cleanup: Merton: September 2012

The one with the floating pennywort…

Our September cleanup day dawned bright and clear, with a promise of hot weather to come. Just as well as our volunteers were to spend much of the afternoon dragging sodden pennywort out of deep water…

We set up in Ravensbury Park- a crew of regulars and a group of teen volunteers from the Challenge Network. We also had a number of volunteers from the Friends of Ravensbury Park who we worked with throughout the day.

The first part of our cleanup was our regular rubbish removal from the Wandle, which runs fairly shallow at this point. Some of our volunteers also set out with litter pickers to clean up the surrounding park area. But the real hard work was to come after the break…

Debbie and Jo were manning the home base, talking with and directing all three groups of volunteers and a passing policeman who came to check up on the pile of rubbish collecting on the roadside!

At tea break time, the crew were provisioned with an autumn harvest themed lemon and fresh plum cake, an apple/raisin cake and a basket of cheese scones (both plums and apples were grown/foraged in the Merton area).

After the break, the really hard graft began. Floating pennywort is an ongoing problem in Ravensbury Park– it’s a pernicious pest and comes back over time. Clearing it is a task we have undertaken in the past with the Friends of Ravensbury Park, but once again it had built up and was completely choking the lake:

The team split up into those in the water cutting and dragging it to the edge…

…those who helped haul the heavy, sodden masses out onto the bank…

… and those who wheeled/carried it over to the rapidly growing pile (once out of the water, it rots down naturally).

After a long hard slog, the crew pulled out around 10 tonnes of the stuff, and while we didn’t get it all, we are now looking at a second date to clear up the last of it.

Good work and congratulations to all and thanks to all the additional helpers from the Friends of Ravensbury Park and the Challenge Network, as well as Tony and Stan of Merton Council’s Waste Management Team who organised collection of the rubbish!

Thanks to all our volunteers:  Abi, Alessio, Aletua, Amadea, Andy, Barry, Bart, Benjamin, Charles, Ciara, Debbie, Francesca, Gearoid, Hannah, Helen, Henry E-X, Henry W, Jackie,  Jane P, Jane P, JJ, Jo, John , Kaleigh, Kathryn, Leonie, Lesley, Liz, Macson, Mark, Max, Michael, Nick, Nico, Olivia, Paul, Per, Phil, Priya, Rachael, Robert, Roger, Rory, Rosie, Sam, Sue, Thusy, Tim H, Tim L and Toby.

… who collected:

1 buggy, 1 plant pot, 1 garden table, 1 car seat, 1 iron, 1 doll, 1 carpet, 1 toy tiger, 1 bucket, 1 bicycle frame, 1 bicycle tyre, 1 fireplace surround, 1 office chair, 1 rug, 1 car bumper, 1 empty tool case, 1 saw, 1 moped seat, 1 road light, 1 shopping basket, 1 pedal car, 2 pieces hardboard, 3 garden chairs, 4 car tyres, 8 footballs and 10 bags of assorted rubbish.

… and removed approximately 10 tonnes of floating pennywort.

Wandle cleanup: May 2012: Sutton

The one with the sunbathing bear (and yet another handgun…) 

After weeks of rain, Sunday dawned bright and sunny with a light, cool breeze – perfect cleanup weather! We all assembled at Culvers Avenue in Sutton where the hawthorn and chestnut trees were blooming and river birds had been nesting (and were given a wide berth). 

Andy Bolgar, until now Erica’s trusted event offsider, took over the reins today for his first cleanup as Event Controller… and a wonderful job he did too!

This stretch of the river is quite gentle, not too deep, and ideal for children to get into the water too.  We had some new faces today – Finlay, Sam and Benjy and their mums came up from Wandsworth to give us a hand, and some of the local kids also pitched in later on.

There were a few friendly Wandle Piscators faces in the crowd, as well as two very welcome volunteers in Emily Sartain and Steve Fisher from LV in Croydon…

The river forks into 2 branches in this location, so our crew split up and worked their way up both channels around Culvers Island. Most of our river junk was of a pretty manageable size, although we had to fish out an old bed and a few largeish items at one stage. Andy also found yet another discarded handgun in the river, which Theo and Sally took to Wallington Police Station at the end of proceedings!

Unexpectedly, a large stuffed bear came to light and was settled very comfortably on the salvaged sun lounger found nearby – supervisor of the rubbish pile!

We also discovered some Himalayan balsam and floating pennywort, which Bella and others attacked with gusto…

There was a very relaxed feel throughout this event – people enjoyed their taste of the spring weather and  meandered back to base at half time for their tea or coffee and banana nut bread, carrot and orange cake, and cheese scones (no leftovers, as per usual…)

By the end of the day, we had 2 piles of rubbish for Sutton Council’s removal the following morning. Special thanks to the Sutton Community Fund for supporting the cleanup, and also to the Timberland Earthkeepers’ Fund, who funded 30 brand new and much-need litter pickers as well as new waders and gloves. We made good use of them on the day!

Thanks to all our volunteers: Abi, Andy B, Andy P, Ann, Anthony, Bella, Benjy, Carla, Carol, Charles, Chris, Emily, Finlay, Francesca, Gideon, Helen, Henry, Jan, Jo H, Jo S, John B, John N, John P, Leonie, Lucy, Mark, Mark, Maureen, Mel, Michael F, Michael S, Mike, Nick, Phil, Roger, Sally, Sam, Sara-Jane, Shannon, Simon, Stephen, Steve, Theo, Tim and Will

… who collected:

1 car tyre, 1 bike tyre, 1 teddy bear, 1 sun lounger, 1 chair, 1 suitcase, 1 artificial Christmas tree, 1 metal tripod, 1 plant pot, 1 scooter, 1 jumper, 1 tarpaulin, 1 tent, 1 mattress, 1 carpet, 1 dustbin lid, 1 metal drum, 1 clipboard, 2 bike wheels, 2 road signs and a tonne of so of unidentified junk.