Trish Pargeter: A Tribute from GUT

Greener Upon Thames was very sad last week to hear of the death of Trish Pargeter, a key member of our team. We share some happy memories here. 

Trish was a Greener upon Thames Founding member and Trustee playing a vital role in this, our South West London based environmental organisation. On Thursday 12th March Trish sadly lost her long battle with cancer, dying surrounded by her close family and friends. Determined to make a difference, Trish certainly did, spending much of her time meeting and planning with Mike, Chairman of Greener. She was very good at organising events and inviting as many people as possible to ensure a great turn out. I remember one fun mammoth wine-buying jaunt in which Trish couldn’t remember her pin. Luckily being a trustworthy person the sommelier allowed her to pay with the card manually which is rare these days. We left with the goods and Trish was relieved and happy. Our fundraising event was a great success, and the wine much appreciated.

Trish Pargeter campaigning to end plastic bags
Trish Pargeter campaigning to end plastic bags

Trish was a crucial part of the process of making and maintaining excellent links with other like-minded environmental organisations; The Marine Conservation Society, Keep Britain Tidy, The Campaign To Protect Rural England, Surfers Against Sewage and Thames 21, Eco Tales and in America, 5 Gyres and One More Generation. In 2013 Greener upon Thames was very proud to join The Break The Bag Habit Coalition of which many of the above are also members. Always fun to be around and game for a laugh, Trish’s skills included wearing the ‘Bag Monster’ costume made up of over one hundred plastic bags joined together.

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The costume doesn’t do much for ones’s vanity but it draws attention to the importance to rethink, reduce, re-use, upscale and recycle Plastic. This ubiquitous throw-away totem item, the plastic bag, represents the tip of the plastic landfill mountain And is a good place to start when aiming to reduce plastic use. As well as being unsightly in our landscapes, the bags often go into the Sewage system ending up in the sea and being mistaken for food by marine animals which then go on to die in some cases. Animals also suffer from getting trapped inches on land too. The plastic does not biodegrade but photodegrades into smaller and smaller particles, working up the food chain and ending up on our dinner plates. That’s why as a team we wanted to take our plight to parliament and in Spring of 2013 we teamed up with Eco Tales and the children of Stanley Primary School in Surrey And set up stall infringement of the Houses of  Parliament one sunny day and then went with the children to meet the Prime Minister David Cameron. We’d like to think our combined efforts went some way to influencing their decision that day to introduce a charge on plastic bags that comes in this October, 2015. It’s what Trish and the Greener team campaigned for for years, so  its a big step forward and we are really glad this was decided in Trish’s lifetime so she knew her hard work and dedication had paid off. However, the larger scale plastic pollution problem continues and as Trish would say, “It’s not in the bag yet.”

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