Wandle cleanup: October 2009: Sutton

The one with the filthy lucre…

By the time of our October cleanup, the summer recess seemed to be well and truly over. 66 keen volunteers and local residents turned out to help us clean up the Wandle in Sutton… and a good thing too, since our ambitious plan involved completing a full circuit of Culvers Island as well as removing as much floating pennywort as we could find!

Starting at the confluence of the Durand Close carrier stream and the main river, groups of volunteers worked round both sides of the island…

working up carrier

working up main river

… whilst Erica greeted our newest group of American students from Richmond College with a special briefing of their own:

US briefing

Piles of rubbish accumulated quickly…

urn and rubbish

… before being ferried back to the main collection point , already pretty impressive by the time we stopped for a well-earned break:

rubbish at coffee time

action man and batman-1

After coffee, Bella led a pennywort-bashing party to the silty flats below Hackbridge…

pennywort at Hackbridge

… but the piece de resistance appeared just upstream: what we’d thought was a fridge actually turned out to be a safe, stolen, cracked and dumped in the river. The grapples and ropes were half a mile away, so we decided to lift it out with people power alone…

lifting the safe

 … and as it rolled onto the bank, something rattled and fell out of the hole blown through the back… the filthiest lucre we’ve ever found in the Wandle, and a welcome contribution to our charity collecting tin!

filthy lucre

Posing for a final team photo beside the pile of rubbish in the rain, we wistfully wondered where the burglars might now be toasting the remains of their swag (Brazil, the Bahamas or just Balham?) …

final team photo

… but we still ended the afternoon dry and warm, celebrating our own success with a thoroughly British pint at the Greyhound on Carshalton Ponds!

drinks at the Greyhound

Thanks to all our volunteers: Abby, Alan, Anderson, Andy, Anita, Ann, Barry, Ben, Brendan, Chris A, Chris E, Debbie, Diana, Dominic, Doug, Duncan, Elizabeth, Emily, Emma, Erica, Folajinmi, Forrest, Gideon, Helen, Jamie, Jenna, Jessica, Jo H, Jo L, Jo S, John, Jonathan, Joshua, Justin, Katherine, Kaseyann, Lateisha, Mahelet, Max, Merian, Mike E, Mike H, Nick, Nico, Olivia, Parris, Paul, Rigby, Rob, Roger, Rory, Rosalind, Sally, Sarah, Sihong, Simona, Steven, Sue B, Sue V, Theo, Tiffani, Toby, Tom, Tony, Tristan and Wayne – and as always to Sutton Council for completing the crime scene cleanup for us afterwards!

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