As a sometime artist (and it does feel like a former life…given how Fishing for Schools has blossomed) when I used to wield pencil, brush and pen, I can truly reflect on the joy making marks and dabbing colour and well, the creative urge that the calling can bring.
Needing to make those marks, sculpt or create never leaves. Whilst the process might lay dormant…scratch the surface with a palette knife - or anything else, for that matter - and the artist will gradually emerge.
I was fortunate having come from a background of art and father who was a painter - and a brilliant one at that. I took it all a little for granted and passing into formal Art training seemed a natural progression.
Years on I now know the massive benefits that has been offered because of that grounding. Lessons learnt all those years ago are still fresh and waiting to become whole on paper, board or canvas - or any other medium.
With that firmly in mind, I was thrilled to receive news from Warren White, our lead Kent coach regarding one of his students.
Jamie was a member of the Rowhill school, BTEC Fisheries group.
Whilst Jamie is a lovely lad and very intelligent; he just found the formal learning route difficult and really struggled in an indoor environment. Jamie’s autistic tendency of walking up and down outside the fishery classroom at Hadlow was fine with m and was proof that an outdoor “classroom” environment really can suit some students on a spectrum that cannot be channelled in a formal school setting.
I must admit, at first, I thought that Jamie would struggle to complete the 2-year BTEC course, and wrestle with all the areas that need quite involved and disciplined work; but give him his due, he managed to get through it. Jamie definitely found the secluded nature of Grove Farm his haven - a learning sanctuary, of sorts.
One thing that I noticed early on in the course with Jamie, was that he had a flair for art. Each session after the students had completed their paperwork, we would all normally go onto the lake to have a fish; However, Jamie was hesitant at first: instead, I encouraged him to draw fish, and he loved it, over the following weeks he became more confident and that in turn, lead to his fishing skills getting better. So much so it reached the point where he would just go to my car and set himself up for the day…with art materials and fishing equipment; it was a massive improvement.
The end of that two-year course happened to be coincided with the lockdown earlier in the year; sadly, I have not had a chance to see Jamie before he left school.
The truly great news is, he is going on to Art College, to follow his obvious passion. Below are some of his pictures he drew at our BTEC fishing sessions.
…. from little acorns doth great oak trees grow.
Charles J speaking:
I have asked Warren to let me know the progress of Jamie and I am sure that all of you reading this heart-warming report, will want to join me in wishing him well for the future. I am also sure you won’t mind me putting together a Christmas present to aid Jamie on behalf of Fishing for Schools.