A keen angler who has worked tirelessly to restore and protect the River Wandle following the Thames Water pollution disaster has been recognised with a prestigious award.

Britain’s largest water company was fined £125,000 after industrial strength chlorine seeped into the river three years ago, killing two tonnes of fish.

Wimbledon resident William Tall, a volunteer with the Wandle Trust, has since instigated monthly monitoring of pollution in the river and its tributaries across Merton, Croydon, Sutton and Wandsworth.

He has also assisted the Trust in building new wildlife habitats, prompting judges from the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust to present him with the John S Hills Memorial Award for outstanding environmental contribution.

Mr Tall said: “Receiving this award has been a big surprise. I’m just proud to a part of the Wandle Trust. The work we do, in particular the pollution monitoring is so important.

“If we go to a site and see a dramatic decline in insect life for example, we can be very confident there has been a pollution spill. That allows the EA (Environment Agency) to respond straight away. We are their eyes and ears.”

A team of volunteers from the Wandle Piscators angling club, led by Mr Tall, monitors 12 sites along the river every month in conjunction with the Riverfly Partnership’s angling monitoring initiative.

Theo Pike, chairman of the trustees of the Wandle Trust, said: “We’re delighted that Will’s outstanding dedication to the monitoring project has been publicly recognised with this prestigious new award.

“Most of our vital work on the Wandle would be impossible without our volunteers’ personal commitment of time and energy, and it’s thanks to the efforts of people like Will that the river is improving for insects, fish, birds and everyone who lives and works in the Wandle Valley.”

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