Senhor Claudio Funari is a well-known local figure in Carshalton, south London. He builds riverside sculptures using scrap metal he has pulled from the River Wandle. He also creates bankside flowerbeds and small gardens using natural materials such as branches.
Originally from São Paulo, Brasil, Funari (that’s what he likes to be called) started chatting with South East Rivers Trust (SERT) team members and visiting researcher Samantha Jane Hughes as they were watching trout breeding in this restored urban chalk river on their lunch break.
Funari talked about his art work along the Wandle and also knew where fish tended to shoal in different reaches of the river. He pulled an old photo album out of his shopping trolley. The photos showed his work as an artist in Brazil in the 1970’s and 1980’s when he was commissioned for sculpture, paintings and restoration work for private clients but also for churches and cathedrals across the state of São Paulo. Another life in another much warmer continent a long long time ago. He wasn’t sad though. He now knows and loves the River Wandle after following family to the UK. Claudio Funari personifies the phrase “life is a journey”. An amazing, and warm hearted man who shares the art and gardens he creates along the Wandle
Here at the Wandle Trust, we strongly support everyone who wants to take care of their local stretch of river. However, it’s important to make sure that your efforts help the river instead of harming it.
For instance, it’s great to pull out rubbish, but we ask you to please leave all plants, tree branches and other natural features in place.
The Wandle has been very highly modified for flood defence and other purposes in the past, and it now needs as many natural features as possible to act as habitat for insects, birds and fish.
Please don’t bring new plants to the river from your garden or other rivers, as this could introduce damaging new invasive species to the river.
If you’d any more information, or you want to talk to us about adopting your own stretch of the river, please get in touch with us.
Many thanks to all our supporters, and everyone who wants to help us look after the Wandle!
Author: Samantha Jane Hughes