Wandle cleanup: September 2010: Merton

The one with the false teeth and the picnic…

This summer it’s been noticeable how many of our cleanups haven’t just been standalone events, but part of a larger pattern of co-ordinated community effort such as LOCOG’s Changing Places programme.

True to form, our September cleanup was no exception, as we fielded 40 volunteers to help the Friends of Ravensbury Park keep their waterways clear of rubbish and invasive species… on a day that also saw many similar volunteering events taking place across London as the LOCOG network supported the Prince of Wales’ national Start initiative.

(Click here for more information about this exciting, positively-focused campaign, and how it aims to promote and celebrate sustainable living by helping people across the UK lead more sustainable lives and to show what a cleaner and healthier future could look like).

So whilst others were cleaning up the Regent’s Canal near Lord’s cricket ground, creating habitat on the Greenway leading to the Olympic Park, and doing conservation work near the Olympic white water canoe course…

… we waded into the shady reaches of the Wandle where it flows through one of Merton’s prettiest green spaces, and started pulling out not-so-pretty rubbish…

… floating pennywort…

… and then even more rubbish from the river’s winding eastern side channel (Andy knew exactly where to find his outsize garden furniture after a recce with Erica earlier in the week)

Meanwhile, Sally and Jo were hard at work under the gazebo at the southern end of the park, laying out our annual picnic. It’s the Wandle Trust’s way of saying a big thank you to all our volunteers for helping us keep the Wandle free of rubbish and invasive species… and what a spread it proved to be:

And as we sat around on the grass in the late-summer sun, we agreed: if this is what sustainable living, rewarding community work and the whole “Big Society” idea means for South London, we’re already doing a pretty good job right here on the Wandle!

Thanks to all our volunteers: Abi, Afzul, Ailis, Andrew, Andy B, Andy P, Bart, Bill, Brin, Dave, Debbie, Dominic, Erica, George, Gideon, Helen, Jan, Jane, Jez, Jim, Jo H, Jo S, John N, John P, Justin, Kerry, Luke, Michelle, Paul, Peter, Robert, Sally, Sally Ann, Samuel, Shawn, Shelley, Steve, Susan B, Susan H and Theo

… and also to our friends Gary and Stan at Merton Council for taking away about 2 tonnes of rubbish for us, including:

12 tyres, a large number of wooden boards, metal rods, metal and plastic pipes, 5 carpets, 3 pallets, 2 traffic cones, 2 bicycles, 2 baby buggies, 2 large umbrellas, 1 shopping trolley, 1 road barrier, 1 garage door, 1 bathtub, 1 toilet cistern, 1 rabbit hutch, 1 garden hose, 1 length of wire fencing, 1 bamboo screen, 1 large garden chair, 1 radio, 1 saw, 1 long metal trough, 1 sheet of corrugated iron… and many bags of other assorted rubbish including a set of comedy false teeth!

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