Jo Tipping helping to weed the hedge we planted last year.

Late last month there was a devastating pollution incident on the River Crane that killed at least 10,000 fish and is likely to take several years to fully recover from. The Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE) is a local volunteer group that has been working to improve the Crane corridor for the last eight years and last Sunday the group held its first volunteer event since the pollution spill.

Rob Gray, Chair of FORCE, said; “Over 20 local people turned out to help us on the day and we got a lot done, maintaining and improving the green spaces in Crane Park. Just as pleasing were the large numbers of local families, out in the park for the day, who were interested in our work and concerned about the pollution, but clearly not put off from enjoying their local park”. Our picture shows Jo Tipping helping to weed the hedge we planted last year.

FORCE members showed their concern last week at the charity’s AGM when the discussion focused on what members and the public could do in response to the incident. Rob Gray told members “You can be our eyes and ears on the river. All reports of river life over the next six months in the form of fish species, kingfishers, dragonflies, herons and crayfish for example, would be greatly appreciated. We shall relay this information to the Environment Agency and it will help to build a detailed record of the recovery process and allow the intelligent planning of support actions such as fish stocking.”

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Young children at Archdeacon Cambridge’s School in Twickenham have also responded to the incident. Archdeacon Cambridge’s School is a Green Flag Eco-school and many of the children walk to school along the river in Crane Park. Class 3GM were upset about the pollution and spent a lesson discussing the impact and producing a visual record of what they had seen. Their pictures show that they understand the profound effect that the pollution incident has had on the river and all the wildlife in Crane Park and Kneller Gardens. One of the children wrote “I am very sad because the River Crane has been polluted and every fish has died. I want to stop polluting forever.”

– from a FORCE Press Release - 14th November 2011