Wandle the Womble returns after 18 years
The past and present Wimbledon football mascots, Wandle and Haydon, have appeared together for the first time, at Merton Heritage Discovery Day.
Wandle the Womble was the mascot of Wimbledon FC from 2000 to 2003. He was forced into early retirement when the club relocated to Milton Keynes and became the MK Dons.
Local supporters formed a new club, AFC Wimbledon, and Haydon the Womble became its mascot in 2006 - marking his 15th anniversary this month.
Haydon is a regular and popular guest at local community and charity events. For this year’s Heritage Discovery Day at Morden Library on 21 August, the club got permission from the licence holders for Wandle to join him, as part of a celebration of Wimbledon’s footballing history and the club’s return to its spiritual home at Plough Lane.
Haydon later tweeted: “Believe he is allowed for heritage events and a chance of guest appearances.” So there might be other opportunities to see Wandle in future.
Wandle and Haydon spent the afternoon pottering around the library and the forecourt, waving at children and posing for photos with fans young and old. They also judged the children’s colouring competition, choosing six winners who were awarded books as prizes.
Football fans could also have their photo taken with the FA Cup and meet some players from Wimbledon FC’s historic 1963 and 1988 squads.
Elsewhere at the Discovery Day there were local history talks and exhibitions, including 150 Years of Wimbledon Common - which featured a card about The Wombles - and stalls from museums and community groups.
Excellent afternoon at Heritage Day with @in_wimbledon @Merton_Council great to see former Wembley heroes Dave Beasant, Mike Kelly, Dave Willis all enjoying themselves and meeting Dons fans old and new. Big thank you to everyone who volunteered and attended. 🔵🟡 pic.twitter.com/Jq3cyfWHwx— Ray Armfield (@KentWomble) August 21, 2021
Believe he is allowed for heritage events and a chance of guest appearances.— Haydon the Womble (@HaydontheWomble) August 21, 2021
Gutted to have lost to a cruel deflection today hoping we get a couple in our favour some time in the season to even things out. Safe trip home to all the @AFCWimbledon fans who made the trip. I Had a fab time at The #Merton Heritage Day well done to all the #WISH Volunteers. pic.twitter.com/b2nu8GA2bM— Haydon the Womble (@HaydontheWomble) August 21, 2021
Haha, fit?? I will pay you later! I kind of felt the same about Wandle, I remembered him covering his ears during the protests. But even wombles can change! Well maybe not the lumbering part 🤣— Haydon the Womble (@HaydontheWomble) August 22, 2021
Yes! But there is also Wandle the womble here on the left! pic.twitter.com/h4ZKfhUmbZ— Bill Drummond (@provideopro) August 21, 2021
Went to the library to print some readings for my aunt’s memorial service today. Left with a womble inspired smile.— Babs Guthrie (@Babalynne) August 21, 2021
She’d have been delighted by the wombles, stalls and history ❤️ on display. #LibrariesMatter #MertonHeritageDiscoveryDay pic.twitter.com/QjKc1zYc9x