Thame Wombles were formed on January 23rd 2021, during the second Covid 19 lock down.
Oxfordshire County Council was not supporting litter picking at all, during this time, but the group were motivated to continue clearing rubbish from their town and the surrounding countryside, in any way that they could, following the government guidelines with regard to social distancing and personal safety. Many people were exercising more regularly, and feeling bored with lockdown, therefore litter picking provided a welcome distraction.
Group numbers grew rapidly and, in the first month, over 2 tonnes of rubbish was collected, with the help of Bucks Recycling Ltd, and equipment supplied by Thame Freight Services Ltd.
In February 2021, Local company Kubota (UK) provided further funding for litter picking carts, and Groves Ltd agreed to provide substantial ongoing sponsorship which has enabled the group to become self sufficient, and successful in all that they have undertaken to date.
Thame Wombles first major project was to assist in the deep clean of the Thame Service Station, forming a good working relationship with owners of the site Travelodge, and EG Group UK, who run the Esso forecourt, proving that community volunteers can achieve great success, with the right motivation and good will of corporate organisations.
Thame Wombles are supported by 21st Century Thame, and allied with Thame Green Living as part of the initiative to improve the local environment, providing a useful resource to ensure that the town and district is kept free from rubbish.
The ethos of Thame Wombles is "to remove everything that does not belong in the town or countryside, to educate people about the importance of a clean environment , to recycle as much as possible, and encourage members of the community to take an active part in the continuing support and development of the Thame Wombles family."
Whilst walking through Moreton Village on January 22nd 2021, I met a lady called Di Burch who was litter picking. She inspired me to form the "Thame Wombles".
Running this group and being practically involved provides me with much needed cardio vascular exercise, and it is an ideal way to make new friends, whilst giving back to the community.
I am inspired by Richard Walker (Head Womble) of the Aylesbury Wombles, and he was a great help to me during the early development stages.
So many Thame residents were eager to join, to purchase their own equipment, and were motivated to go out regularly, not just litter picking, but to complete a deep clean of several areas that had not been attended to for years.
I have always been passionately anti-litter, inspired by the campaigns of the 60's and 70's.
I was horrified when watching Sir David Attenborough's Blue Planet 2 films about the effect of plastic on our wildlife and environment.
Not only is it unsightly, but it is destroying our planet.
I was so proud to see my son, Richard and granddaughter start "Aylesbury Wombles", and their group has gone from strength to strength.
I have lived in Thame all my life and was sad to see the amount of litter being left around our wonderful town.
As I am unable to walk very far, I took the admin role, and it is my responsibility to keep a record of members, bags collected and to compile any other statistics required for this great group.
I got into litter-picking because I was so fed up with seeing disposable masks on pavements and roads, as I went out walking.
I needed to get out and about, as I was unable to work due to Covid 19 restrictions. I started to pick them up, and decided I needed a litter-picker.
I just happened to be on Facebook one lunchtime, after having a conversation with my partner, and I saw a post about Thame Wombles.
I joined straight away and ordered a litter-picker from Amazon.
I love making a difference to my surroundings, it's a great excuse to be out in the fresh air, for exercise and making our town litter free. And you meet nice people.
It's a win win for me. Don't knock it until you have tried it. I hope to get back to work soon but I will still go litter-picking.
DEPUTY HEAD WOMBLE
My walks and cycling made me aware of the amount of rubbish deposited everywhere. I first noticed it on a Greek Island, but then I could see, in England, we were just as bad.
We are constantly reminded of pollution by the media, but attention as been focussed on the seaside, as as we have seen, the countryside is as bad.
We have to think of generations to come, as well as us, who will benefit from any wombling efforts.
Yes it's not the best of tasks picking up litter, but we need to do it. Hopefully, our example will set a good example to those who are not responsible, and will make them think twice.
You will always get the criminals who will fly-tip, but we should try to educate others by setting a good example.
The Thame Womble ethos is " Every Little Bit Counts" and we all play our part.