Back in May of this year, I met with Thames21 to talk about a new film they wanted commissioned to celebrate their 10 years as an independent charity. I had vaguely heard of them, and knew they had something to do with rivers, but had no idea what a vast and wonderful organisation is was before I started to make this film. Set up initially to help clear the River Thames of the many tonnes of rubbish that found it’s way there, Thames21 has evolved into supporting a vast volunteer network that manages and looks after not only the source of drinking water for all Londoners, but also the many rivers and waterways that can be found in all London boroughs (there are two rivers in Catford for example, the River Pool and the River Ravensbourne – who knew?!) .
I spent many a happy hour tramping about in wellies, talking to staff and volunteers litter picking in rivers, creating new wildlife and wetland areas, digging plastic bag after plastic bag out of the muddy foreshore, or planting natural reed-beds to create sustainable drainage systems, so stopping nasty pollutants from road run-off reaching our rivers.
So inspired was I by the vital work that Thames21 and it’s army of volunteers are doing, that I will be finding out where my nearest volunteer group meets and signing up to help out – I hope you consider this too! The film premiered at the charity’s AGM at the Guildhall on September 18th, and can be viewed online here. To find out more visit www.thames21.org.uk