Tag Archives: Christmas

Wandle Cleanup: December 2019

At our December cleanup we were joined on a very windy Sunday by 38 volunteers for some festive fun pulling all sorts of rubbish and unusual items out of the river. This month we were at Ravensbury Terrace in the borough of Wandsworth: this site has changed a lot since we were last here and now has some significant development taking place. Luckily, we were still able to access the river, though some creative wheelbarrowing was required through some of the single file spots!

The in-river team spread out across the channel
Single file access along the edge of the building site

Ravensbury Terrace is one of our shorter cleanup stretches (about 100m) and has no easy access for the public. Nevertheless, we found plenty of rubbish!

A delightful selection of toys were extracted from the river. Parents with young children might even wonder if attending a cleanup in December would be an excellent way to save money on Christmas shopping? (Disclaimer: The Wandle Trust do not endorse the gifting of river rubbish!).

Volunteers found the time to dig this out of its watery grave

The clock was ticking as rain was forecast for the afternoon so volunteers made the most of the dry weather and continued litter picking in the river and on the banks until 1:30pm when we stopped for a late lunch and decided to call it a day.

Volunteers were ready to apprehend anyone caught littering! If you look closely you will see that leeches also seem to be big fans of law enforcement.

So, what did we find?

Five tyres, two metal poles, a selection of pots and pans, a laptop, a sealed steak, a football, some handcuffs, a Robin Hood CD, a clock, a boiler cover, a bed frame, a set of car carpets, some plastic guttering, 4 plastic toys, items of clothing and a whole host of other rubbish.

The final pile

A special thank you to everyone who helped unload in the morning and pack up the van at the end of the event, Dave for supervising the Event Tent,  Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funder, Thames Water.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming:

Dave, Katharine, Louis, L, Karen, Rob, Charles, Wally, Eamonn, Bev, Matthew, Mark, Tony, Aaron,
Zead, Suzanne, Anita, J, Kim, Thomas, Margaret, Rob, Tom, Mark, Freddie, William, Sue, Gary, Sheila, Andy, Martin, Nick, Luke, Philip, E, Per, Derek & Caitlin.

Wandle Cleanup: December 2018: Wandsworth

For the last cleanup of 2018, we headed to King George’s Park in Wandsworth.

This was our first cleanup funded by our fantastic new funders the Big Lottery. Thanks to all the players of the National Lottery that make funding great projects and activities like our Wandle cleanups possible. We couldn’t do it without you!

We started off the day with the usual Welcome Talk and Health & Safety briefing. We then cracked on with wading and litter picking around the banks.

Despite the windy weather, we had 31 merry volunteers – so thank you to everyone who managed to make it at this busy (and cold) time of year!

We removed as much litter as possible from the river, getting to all the tangled plastic bags in the river bed and surrounding vegetation. We found a trolley filled with empty cans that had been dumped into the river and pulled that out easily.

We stopped for lunch around 1pm and enjoyed some well-deserved mince pies and other Christmas cakes. We also squeezed in a Christmas Wandle-themed quiz, reflecting on the good work throughout 2018!

We couldn’t wade much further downstream after lunch as the river was too deep and fast-flowing. Instead, we did a second sweep of the river and found more rubbish that the river had uncovered since our first sweep.

It was getting a bit too chilly and there wasn’t much left to litter pick, so we finished early and headed home for Christmas. 

Here is the final rubbish pile!

So what did we find? 2 tyres, 2 mattresses, a trolley, a pushchair, an old kettle, a wooden pallet, 2 footballs, a traffic cone, lots of bottle, cans and plastic bags. 

I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I look forward to keeping up the great work with everyone in 2019!


Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event (in particular Dave, Joe and Chris), Rosie and Wally for supervising the Event Tent, Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day, Big Yellow Wandsworth for providing free storage space for our equipment and to our funders, the Big Lottery.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Charles, Michael, Victoria, Thea, Jonathan, Rosalie, Ed, Joe, Phil, Dave, Paul, Jenny, Nick, Jason, Kesra, Rose, Andy, Eddie, Chris, Martin, Per, Phil, David, Steve, Korab, Wayne, Jane, Simon, William and Guy.

Wandle cleanup: December 2016: Wandsworth

The one with the birthday pike!

 December’s cleanup was special for a number of reasons….

  1. It was the last Living Wandle Landscape Partnership cleanup. Thanks to this large HLF project, we have run 20 cleanups and made a real difference to the River Wandle, engaging new people and raising awareness about the issues of fly tipping and other sources of urban pollution.
  2. It was Theo Pike’s birthday! We were very happy to share this cleanup with Theo on his birthday. As Chairman of the Wandle Trust since 2008, Theo was one of our original volunteers, who started our tradition of Wandle cleanups and has guided the Trust in its work for the last 15 years.
  3. It’s Christmas! Well, nearly. And so as usual, I suggested Christmas attire.

For this Christmas/birthday cleanup we were at Trewint Street in Earlsfield. Joined by 30 volunteers on a sunny Sunday morning, I gave the Health & Safety Briefing and we got started.

Thanks to some keen eyed local volunteers, we knew there was a motorbike on the bank upstream, and so a team headed straight there to retrieve the bike and start the rubbish pile. We also had a head start as Guy had arrived early and started litter picking!


As the waders cleared the area below Trewint Street Bridge, the rubbish pile grew and grew. There were a couple of mattresses…


Some weights – we have always said cleanups are an outdoor gym!


While the waders waded, the rest of the team worked to clear a large pile of rubbish left on the path. Perhaps my favourite find of the day from this was a small cocktail bar on wheels – Christmas drink anyone?


As the waders worked, we all noticed a rather bad smell coming from the river. But luckily our waders found two air fresheners, so I just put those out to cleanse the air.


What’s great about the Christmas cleanup is that it is the perfect chance to sort my Christmas shopping out. I found this lovely soggy handbag and flowers for my mum.


Another find of the day was a Boris bike. The bike had seen better days but we call TFL up and reported it to them anyway.


Just before lunch we found a small collection of Chinese coins. After much googling, we worked out that we had £1 in Chinese money – a Christmas miracle!


At lunch we celebrated Theo’s birthday with this amazing Pike cake made by Sally.


We also had Christmas treats from other volunteers including this snowman cake from Ann. During lunch we were joined by Giselle who is working on an MSc project all about rewildling. If you could spare a couple of minutes to complete her online survey, that would be great. 


After lunch, we got back in the river, but we had been so quick in the morning, most of the rubbish was cleared all the way down to Ravensbury Terrace. By half past two, the river was spotless (well, as spotless as the Wandle can be) and so we packed up and headed home a bit early.


So what did we find? 1 motorbike, 1 cocktail bar, 1 kid’s bicycle, 1 Boris bike, 1 bedside lamp, 1 set of body building weights, 1 licence plates, 1 handbag for my mum, 1 electric scooter, 1 walking stick, £1 in Chinese money, 2 window frames,  2 air fresheners, 3 mattresses, 3 cushions, 3 bouquets of flowers, 3 garden chairs and bags and bags of other rubbish from the river and footpath.

Huge thanks to the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership for funding this final event as part of the River Guardians projects, everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Rosie for supervising the Event Tent, Wally and Helen for helping supervise the cleanup, Ann and Sally for baking, and the Waste Team at Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Adam, Andy, Ann, Bob, Charles, Dave , David, Derek, Ed, Gearoid, Guy, Helen, Jamie, Jason, Jeremy, Jim, John, Judy, Kai, Mike, Nick, Penny, Per, Phil, Rose, Sally, Theo, Tom H, Tom K, Victor, Wally and Will.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?  Well, I learned all about Chinese currency!

Wandle cleanup: December 2015: King George’s Park

The one with the return of Miss Evans…

The year has gone very fast indeed and before we knew it, the last cleanup of 2015 was upon us. For December we went to King Georges Park in Wandsworth. With the Event Tent decked with tinsel and my reindeer antlers on, I was joined by 30 volunteers on a chilly Sunday morning. After the usual Health & Safety briefing we got started, with half of us getting in the river and the other half working from the banks.

Within 10 minutes, a bicycle had been sighted, collected and placed on the start of the rubbish pile by Santa. An excellent start.

River Santa

While on the banks we were discussing Christmas shopping, and how far behind we all were, with the idea that maybe the Wandle could be our solution? Although I imagine we’d be less than impressed if Santa’s sack really was filled with soggy gifts from the Wandle. Olaf flip flop anyone?

Olaf Flip Flop

To distract us all from the cold, we became magpies, closely inspecting what we were pulling out of the Wandle, looking for some special Christmas finds. I discovered this old style Fanta can which no one else seemed quite as excited about..

Fanta Can

We found the usual coconut…

Classic Coconut

As well as what we believe was a Nativity scene Mary, minus the head…


By 1pm, we were all ready for a cup of tea to warm up and to try some of Ann’s carrot cake which she kindly made for us all. Much to our delight, we were visited by a Christmas Angel during lunch – Erica Evans! As lots of our volunteers will remember, Erica organised our Wandle cleanups for many years and happened to be visiting London this weekend, so she thought she’d pay us a visit!

We didn’t stop for long with the chilly weather, and so back in the river we went. The waders continued upstream to the next bridge, clearing over 300m of river. Some afternoon finds included:

This metal chair, which I have been informed is a welding chair.

Welding Chair

This brightly coloured figurine which I was told was a Shirdi Buba (learning lots at this cleanup)


And some large heavy shed roof sheets which had absorbed so much water they were a real challenge to get out so late in the day. Trust Derek to find something just as we were finishing up!

Wooden Board

Last year 518 volunteers pulled out 8.5 tonnes of rubbish from the Wandle, donating 2012 hours of their time to the cause. Have we beaten this for 2015? Stayed tuned over the Christmas break to find out!

So what did we find?  1 frisbee, 1 motorbike dashboard, 1 Olaf flip flop, 1 railway sleeper, 1 70” record, 1 radio, 1 television, 1 vintage Fanta can, 1 sun lounger, 1 welding chair, 1 generic chair, 2 bicycles, 4 pillows, 5 tyres, 5 umbrellas, lots of wire and bags and bags of other junk.

The Rubbish Pile!

Huge thanks to everyone who helped unpack and pack up the van during the event, Ann for catering for our volunteers (cheese scones and carrot cake!), Wally for supervising the Event Tent and the Waste Management Team at Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, Ann, Barry, Charles, Chris, Dave, David, Derek, Ed  ,Guy, James, Jamie, Jane, John, Louise, Marina , Mike, Nick , Paul, Per, Phil, Sally, Simon, Theo, Tom, Victor, Wally, Xilano and Zoe.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?   That no one reads the email blast! My request for Christmas attire was missed on everyone..

Christmas Selfie