Wandle cleanup: November 2013: Wandsworth

The one with the action replay 

It was like déjà vu all over again!  Here we were at Ravensbury Terrace – again – with a van load of kit – again – but this time a bright Autumn sun shone down on a tranquil river, the torrential rain and murky spate of last month’s cleanup a distant memory.

Eager to help, a record 73 volunteers turned up to tackle 100m of the Wandle up and downstream of the Haslemere Industrial Estate.

We were particularly delighted to welcome Colin and Adele Brown of local estate agents, Seymour Green, who were kindly supporting this month’s cleanup.

WT and SG

About 40 students from the American International University – Richmond Hill Campus – joined our regular volunteers too, and even though they were novices, this didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for or their enjoyment of the event.

Students from Richmond

With some of the volunteers in the river, others assembled along the bank, ready to retrieve the rubbish as it came out of the river, filling up wheelbarrows and negotiating the rather narrow pathway back to the dumpsite.

Wheelbarrow load

Joining us in the water part way through the morning was our old friend Gordon the diver. This made searching for and removing submerged objects much easier, because he, at least, could see what he was doing!


At one o’clock we were more than ready for a break.

Ready for a break

Following a baking bonanza, Sally brought ginger cake, Jana used beetroot from her allotment and combined it with chocolate to make a sponge, and Robert produced a beautifully iced carrot cake.  Ann’s car wouldn’t start that morning, however, she kept her cool, called for breakdown assistance, and her sultana cake and shortbread biscuits were a triumph.

After lunch we concentrated our efforts on the stretch of water just below the islet that juts out below the Trewint Street bridge.

Ben and office chair


Patrick and tumble drier

Everyone worked extremely hard all day:

A trug load

especially Selena from the American University who, on her quest to find a motorbike, got completely soaked and didn’t have a change of clothes to go home in.  What must her fellow passengers on the train have thought!

Our thanks go to Joanna of Wandsworth’s waste management team who arranged  collection of all the rubbish.  Thanks too to Richard who let us use the loos in the warehouse office, to Gideon who helped load up the van and to AJ who cycled to the garage to help unload.

Thanks to all our volunteers:  AJ, Adam, Adele, Alex R, Alex S-S, Alexandra, Andres, Andryana, Ann, Annic, Barry, Bayan, Beatriz, Bella, Ben, Bim, Blendina, Caden, Charles, Colin, Elliot, Emilia, Emily, Flavio, Francesca, Gideon, Harry, Hugh, Jamie, Jan, Jana, Jennifer, Jo, John, Jonathan, Julian, Justin, Katie, Ken, Louise, Luko,  Madeleine, Nihan, Noughan, Oceane, Olufunke, Patrick B, Patrick J, Paul, Peter, Philip, Prince, Rayhan, Rob, Robert, Roger, Romina, Rose, Sally, Sally Ann, Sandra, Selena, Shepherd, Simon, Theo, Tim, Tosin, Valentin, Victoria, Vincent , Wally, Wayne and Will.

Who removed: 1 small safe, 1 tumble dryer, 1 electric fan, 1 paintbrush, 1 toy car, 1 toilet, 1 bicycle, 1 office chair, 1 buggy, 1 hanging basket, 1 wheelbarrow frame, 1 air conditioner, 1 child’s scooter, 1 shower curtain, 1 road cone, 1 sink, 1 headboard, 1 metal box, 1 rubbish bin, 1 shovel, 1 lock pick, 1 coal scuttle, 2 coconuts, 2 LCD televisions, 2 exhaust pipes, 2 hub caps, 2 car mats, 2 telephones, 2 hobs, 3 carpets, 3 vacuum cleaners, 3 metal pipes, 4 tyres and 40 rubbish bags full of miscellaneous litter including credit cards, clothes, and shoes.

Exhaust pipe

Oh, and a piece of wood which resembled the head of a rhinoceros.

Rhino head

All photographs: Sally Ann Symis 

This event was supported by Seymour Green estate agents

 Update: this cleanup has now been reported by our local media.

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