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.