My London: The Wombles

 (Silvia Prada)
(Silvia Prada)

Home is…

Wimbledon Common, the place that inspired the name given to us by humans. One Boxing Day author Elisabeth Beresford was walking around the common with her children and her daughter Kate repeatedly mispronounced it as ‘Wombledon Common’. We’ve been known as the Wombles ever since.

Congratulations on your 50th. How will you be celebrating?

Yes, this year marks the 50th anniversary of our first TV appearance. Right from the start our adventures involved recycling and reusing discarded items on the common, so you could say that we were rather ahead of our time. We are celebrating by re-releasing the original episodes on what the younger Wombles tell me is a thing called YouTube. I have even been digitally remastered, which isn’t as painful as it sounds. We also plan to announce some new TV shows and will be organising lots of events for Wombles fans.

What shops do you rely on?

We have always believed in reusing and recycling, which is why you will often find Wombles in charity shops. This year we are working with the lovely humans at Age UK to promote its high-street shops as local upcycling centres.

Best meal you’ve had?

We recently worked with Sir Paul McCartney to promote Meat Free Mondays. One of the recipes we created was Bulgaria’s veggie burger, which is my new favourite dish.

Who do you call when you want to have fun?

Orinoco is the burrow prankster. He’s always falling over, hiding in rubbish bins and messing around — that is when he’s not sleeping and eating, his two favourite activities.

What’s your London secret?

Next time you visit Wimbledon Common, look a little closer and you might see us hard at work.

Our adventures involved recycling and reusing things, so you could say that we were ahead of our time

What’s the best place for a first date?

I am more than 300 years old, so it is difficult to remember my first date. Orinoco’s answer to this question would be anywhere with cake.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

I would encourage everyone, young and old, to do their bit for their local environment, whether they want to clean up their local park or waterways, plant trees and wildflowers to encourage wildlife, commit to going plastic-free, shop second-hand rather buying new, go meat-free and walk or cycle rather than take the car.

If you could buy and live in any building in London, which would it be?

We are perfectly content with our burrow. It is warm and quiet, apart from when Tobermory is busy in his workshop making things from the objects you humans have left behind.

What do you think of London style?

You must ask one of the younger Wombles such as Alderney about style, although I hope that true London style is never dropping litter and always being kind to one another.

Most iconic Londoner of all time?

Only the other day I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard and read a story about a man called Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, a civil engineer who in the 19th century built London’s first sewer network, which is still in use today. This wiped out lots of diseases such as cholera and made the streets of London far cleaner. Even Wellington Womble hasn’t built anything that good.