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  • Writer's pictureFishing for Schools

The Director’s Update: July 2023

Ten hours, 1989, 24c-26c, 26.2 …might not mean much to you.

To Pete Cockwill and I, the stark figures represent our exhausting feat at Syon Park a few weeks ago; and of blisters, sunburn, aching muscles, and vows of never doing anything so flippin' daft ever again…

But we did it. Pete and I cast with fly rods the equivalent distance of a London Marathon.

Thanks to your phenomenal support, we raised a healthy £3.5K in the process to assist in the delivery of our wonderful Fishing for Schools programme.

I still maintain it was Pete’s idea but both of us have vowed never to do it again… ever!

Of course this will not be the end of my fundraising bouts of madness; next year I plan to finish on an absolute high. I think at the age of 71 I have probably done my bit but there is sufficient fuel for one last push and there will be an event at the end which you can actually share with me… if you are VERY quick. Details on this to follow soon.

For now, I am going to rest my weary bones a little and celebrate by going fishing. Which brings me to the depth of genius and expertise we have in Fishing for Schools.

Over the last weekend (as I write), I was invited to fish in Christchurch Harbour with not only one of our esteemed Ambassadors, but also two mullet fishing gurus: Paul Jennings and Colin McCleod.

To be amidst the enormity of the area and surrounded by sky sea and estuary is humbling. Also, it is mentally rejuvenating to be in this type of environment, to fish and be free.

The joy of what we do I guess. But more than that, we share what we do with others.

Our current Fishing for Schools statistics this year will read as follows:

  • 110 Fishing for Schools sessions by the end of the school year

  • Over 200 young people this year to date

  • 13 sessions with community groups across the Summer

  • 25 sessions planned for Autumn 2023

  • A range of schools taking part including primary, secondary, SEN schools, alternative provisions and pupil referral units.

Not bad for our tiny team!

So, the opportunity to come from behind a desktop and computer and venture out and actually coach at Broadoak Academy the other day was a very poignant reminder of why I started Fishing for Schools 16 years ago. I wanted to bring angling and the opportunity and sheer mindfulness that can be achieved through fishing to young people’s lives.

Angling, in all its forms, remains for me, a sport to rejoice, share and be utterly proud of being immersed in.

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