Litter picking heroes

As we've reported many times over the recent months, one of the biggest issues our staff has had to deal with is the volume of rubbish created by so many additional visitors to the Commons. 

To help with this we have installed additional bins at Rushmere and Putney Lower Common – these are emptied by contractors and have certainly eased the burden on our teams.

But what has without doubt been the biggest help is the army of volunteers who have turned out day after day to help with litter-picking.  Some of these are in organised groups, some are individuals who come to the Ranger’s Office and ask to borrow a litter stick and a few bin bags. Many don’t contact us at all and quietly go about their walk on the Commons each day clearing litter as they go.

One of the organised Groups was set up by local resident, Veronica Drye.  Veronica is one of our regular volunteers who joined our “Adopt an Area” scheme when it launched two years ago and looks after an area along the Causeway, North View and Camp Road.   After encouraging some friends to join her, Veronica now has a group of up to 35 helpers and the difference they have made is amazing. 

Veronica commented, “Like so many of us, Wimbledon Common holds a special place in our hearts. Having grown up on Wimbledon Common, spending many of my childhood days playing there, we have also spent many hours enjoying the beauty of it too.  But we do not want to see litter.  It is so sad to believe that people just drop, throw, leave their litter there. We are so pleased that the area looks so much better and that our group has made such a difference”

A long-standing member of the litter-picking community is local resident, Tony Holroyde.  Tony and his wife have been regulars walking the Commons with the sticks and bags for many years.  We spoke to Tony earlier this week and asked him why they felt the compelled to do this…

“With privilege comes the responsibility to care for our area” commented Tony.  “My first introduction to the Common was being taken early morning swimming (men only!) in Queensmere by my cousins – many years ago.  Later my wife and I set up home in West Wimbledon with close access to the Common via Fish Ponds Wood and within walking distance of my late uncle Dr John Beard who lived at 1 The Green.  He and wife Janet were keen Litter Pickers while walking their dog and unsurprisingly, we took up the cause.  

When we both had retired and were able to walk more often, we extended our litter picking to both the Common and Richmond Park. When the ‘pickings’ are numerous, it can sometimes be difficult to remember what a wonderful area we live in – but not for long.”

Another group that has been such a big help are those of you at Putney Lower Common who are out very early in the morning. We don’t know who you are but to all of you, please know that your help is appreciated and we send you a big thank you from all our staff.