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Fidelity Fishing for Forces fundraising day at Chalybeate Springs, Tunbridge Wells

Date: Saturday 13th September 2014

Description:
Staff at Fidelity Worldwide Investment under the guidance of Vicki Haxton and Mick Heasman have kindly organised two events with other staff members within the organisation. The first is a dress down Friday where Fidelity staff regularly raise donations for a number of charities. The second is a Trout fishing day at Chalybeate Springs where approx 20 Fidelity staff from two offices under the guidance of Tunbridge Wells FFS (Mentors) will battle for a number of prizes with biggest fish and bag in the offing.

Mentors kindly supplied by TWFFS and Mjr Derek Saunders from HQLF is kindly presenting the prizes. Bill Howell of Fishing for Forces is staying the hell out of the way as this promises to be a trout day extraordinaire. Results later.

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June 2014 – Farlows/Sportfish Mega Day at Haywards Farm Fishery

Date: Tuesday 3rd June 2014
Venue: Haywards Farm Fishery, Reading
Time: Mentors meet at 9am

Description: On Tuesday 3rd June 2014, Farlows/Sportfish are hosting a Fishing for Forces Mega Day! 40 members of HMAF are invited to spend the day as guests for a day’s fishing at Haywards Farm Fishery in Reading.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for this event, please get in touch with Bill Howell at bill@fishingforforces.org

 

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May 2014 – Ratfyn Lake, Amesbury, Wiltshire

Date: Thursday 29th May 2014
Venue: Ratfyn Lake, Amesbury, Wiltshire
Time: 10am

Description: On Thursday 29th May 2014, Salisbury and District Angling Club and Aardvark International invited guests from Tedworth House for a day’s fly fishing at Ratfyn Lake in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Mentors were kindly organised by society and a selection of photos from the day can be viewed in our gallery below.

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The House of Lords Fundraising Event

House of Lords invitationDate: Monday 19th May 2014
Time: 12pm- 3pm
Location: The House of Lords

The Honourable Lord Dear QPM, DL invites you join to him at a lunch in The House of Lords on behalf of Fishing For Forces in association with Farlow’s of Pall Mall.

A warm welcome with wine and canapés upon arrival will be followed by a superb three course lunch. An auction of Ten superb items to suit all interest’s will take place whilst coffee is served ensuring a memorable afternoon. Individual seats £130pp or a table for Ten (including a guest from HMAF) will be discounted to £1200.00.

For your personal invitation to this very popular luncheon, RSVP please by 28th March. Contact in the first instance to bill@fishingforforces.org or call 07850 373760.

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A Red Letter Day for FFF

The lads getting some instruction

The lads getting some instruction

11th April 2013
See our gallery of the day

The morning started quite grey but brightened considerable with the arrival of 15 lads from 5 SCOTS accompanied by Capt Rob Whyte. The mentors were on high alert and greeted them with coffee and bacon and egg baps and TWFFS baseball caps then it was down to business.

After a short safety talk they were given 15 minutes of excellent casting instruction by Dave Crouch then allocated a mentor 1-1 and fishing began in earnest.

The usual banter of “nae problem laddie” came around the beautiful lake “rod, fly, fish let’s get on” was the cry and then realisation dawned that there was a little more to this than fish jumping on the fly so we need to think this through.

The banter died down and a silent air of concentration reigned until after 20 minutes the cry of “fish on” went round the lake and all kinds of advice and insults were flying in all direction’s aimed at the poor sod who had hooked the first fish. It was then that I realised the competitive spirit had kicked in as it always does at these events once a fish is caught and concentration heightened and became more intense. In a very short time fish were being caught all round the lake and the weigh in for biggest bag and heaviest fish began in earnest.

The morning session was blessed with a cracking bar of silver weighed in at 7lb by Sgnt Van Niekerk, whose smile as a novice to fly fishing was as wide as his fish was long.

Giftbags and breakfast

Giftbags and breakfast

Lunchtime arrived with quite a number of decent fish caught and the Society had laid on a superb spread cooked by 2 mentors Scott Benton and Andy Stoner with sausages, burgers, bacon etc with potato salad & coleslaw that was munched with enthusiasm and several double helpings were observed being enjoyed. During lunch I passed out FFF T Shirts and Alex Nicholson then presented all the guests with a goodie bag with superb mementoes such as leather bound notebooks and other very useful items. These were received very graciously.

On the subject of enthusiasm, after washing lunch down in short order several of the lads picked up their tackle and headed straight back to the lake with mentors running behind still trying to finish what lunch they had managed to grab. These lads were determined not to be denied a fish.

The weather was kind to us as the rain did not return although the wind kept changing in strength and direction but nevertheless hotspots were found and after two fish you had to move and thankfully due to local mentor knowledge nobody blanked.

We also had the pleasure of Steve Backley OBE joining us and his fishing is as mean as his Javelin throwing and he bagged some respectable fish.  His list of Gold, silver and bronze medals won at Olympic, Commonwealth games and World and European Championships is nothing short of incredible.

Thin Red Line Cake

Charlotte Stevens’ Thin Red Line Cake

At the weigh in whilst tea and cakes were being served a work of art in the shape of a magnificent cake appeared presented and made by Charlotte Stevens and was promptly put back in the box by the lads to be taken back to barracks. Greedy beggars didn’t even offer me a finger dip!

After the weigh in Peter Thomason (TWFFS Chair) kindly presented the 1st and 2nd prizes of FFF engraved glass tankards and wristwatches kindly donated by Chris Ball and 3rd prize was a super golfing umbrella donated by Alex Nicholson again from Legal & General. Peter was then presented with a mounted Regimental Plaque by Capt Whyte that I know will take pride of place in the TWFFS lodge. Several more watches and umbrellas were donated to FFF to present at other events. Before I could give my thanks to all I was suddenly presented with a cheque for £500.00 by Alex from L&G to hold other events where possible and it will be put to very good use.

The whole crowd at Chalybeate

The whole crowd at Chalybeate

Special mention has to go to:

Keith Nicholson (TWFFS Treasurer) for organising the funds and such a splendid day leaving me very little to do. Southborough Butchers Chris Wickens and Stuart Knight for a seemingly unending supply of burgers and bacon and sausages.

Jim Streeter fishery manager for his unbounding enthusiasm and welcome and astute stocking of quality fish. And all the mentors who made it a very special day for the lads judging by the handshakes and thank you’s and see you again soon as the lads departed.

Guess who got stuck in the mud and was rescued by Scott and his landrover. Yep, the Prat in the Hat. Thanks Scott!

The total caught was 35 fish.

Largest fish 7lb Sgnt Van Neikerk. Largest Bag 6lbs 7ozs Pte Aitcheson and 3rd with 6lbs 6ozs Pte Aithcheson.

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Injured and wounded soldiers in Wiltshire becoming more hooked on fishing

Article from: Army Press Office South West

Injured and wounded soldiers in Wiltshire are becoming more hooked on fishing thanks to a new donation of rods and equipment.

The personnel, who attend the Personnel Recovery Centre (PRC) Tedworth House, in Tidworth, are to benefit from the gift from the charity Fishing for Forces.

Fishing for Forces at Tedworth House

Fishing for Forces at Tedworth House

The PRC is part of The Defence Recovery Capability and a Ministry of Defence led initiative managed in partnership with the service charities Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion.

Colonel Peter Smith, Officer Commanding the Personnel Recovery Centre, said:

Fishing for Forces provides some excellent opportunities for those who have been out of hospital for only a few days, as well as those two to three years down their recovery path.”

WO2 Dean Williams, who runs the Recovery Sport Programme at the PRC, highlighted how the new fishing equipment will have a very positive impact.

“It is amazing as interest in fishing has really taken off here and I have an event on my calendar now every month,” he said.

“It builds confidence and aides social interaction and ticks a lot of boxes such as learning a new skill and helping take daily worries away and having our own kit will really help us.”

Corporal Ben Ayres

Corporal Ben Ayres

One of the soldiers who will benefit from the donation from Fishing for Forces is Corporal Ben Ayres. He has been a resident at the Personnel Recovery Centre Tedworth House for a few months and has already tried fishing.

“It is an activity that gives you a chance to get in touch with nature and relax whilst doing a sport,” he explained.

Five full sets of fly fishing equipment and ten sets of coarse fishing tackle have been donated by Fishing for Forces. Charity Founder, Bill Howell, who sets up fishing events throughout the year realised that sometimes the soldiers were unable to attend group events so now the centre can organise individual trips when required.

“We at FFF are extremely pleased that Tedworth PRC is now established as our first “Fishing School” . As well as organising monthly events for large groups from all branches of HMAF we will be establishing “Fishing Schools” and supplying all the tackle to all the PRC centres throughout the UK”. Many Angling clubs and individuals throughout the UK have offered both fishing venues and their time to be mentors.

Mr Roger Hunt and the members of Salisbury and District Angling, Mr Sidney Garrood and his fly fishing friends give their waters and time freely to the guests of Tedworth House on a regular basis passing on the basics of angling to all. Usually with lunch organised as well.

Bill explained “this provides, in a modest way, a means by which those of us not in the services can show appreciation for what they do for us. It is open to all serving, wounded or otherwise and veterans back to WW2”.

Another of the mentors and staunch supporter is local businessman Peter McLeod, who is based in Tidworth, with his company Aardvark McLeod International Fly Fishing Specialists.

“Helping out at these events is probably the most rewarding thing that I have done in a long time,” he said.

Anybody wishing to know more about Fishing for Forces should check the website www.fishingforforces.org. You can also email Bill at bill@fishingforforces.org

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The Three-Fly Challenge at Meon Springs Fishery, Hampshire

Wild Trout TrustOn Saturday 22nd June, Meon Springs Fishery in Hampshire will host a new fundraising event on behalf of The Wild Trout Trust, with all monies raised going towards ‘The Pasco James Project’.

The Wild Trout Trust work to conserve wild trout throughout the UK and Ireland, so if you’re able to attend not only will you have a wonderful day but you’ll also be supporting a very worthwhile cause. All details are below.

Date: Saturday 22 June 2013
Time: 9am
Weigh-in: 4pm
Location: Meon Springs Fishery, Hampshire

The Three-Fly Challenge is a fishing tournament that will test your skills and catching ability as you will only be able to use three flies (one at a time), these will be provided on the day:

Kites Imperial dry (3 points per fish);
Black buzzer (2 points per fish);
GHHE nymph (1 point per fish).

Points will be awarded according to the fly used and the weight of the fish, i.e. a 3lb fish caught with dry Kites Imperial would score 9 points (3 points x 3lb = 9), a 3lb fish caught with a pheasant tail would score 3 points (1 point x 3lb = 3) etc.

The angler with the highest number of points will win a new Sage rod.  Many other runners-up prizes. A raffle will be held at lunchtime.

If you would like to attend you will be helping the Wild Trout Trust (a registered charity no. 1077041) that was formed in 1997 to conserve wild trout throughout the UK and Ireland by encouraging people to protect and restore habitat.

Tickets cost £90 including breakfast, cooked lunch, a 4-fish ticket and flies. 

Applications with a cheque for £90 made payable to The Wild Trout Trust should be sent to: Neil Mundy, Pine View, Forest Road, Denmead, Hants PO7 6UA.

For further information: email: ncmundy@hotmail.co.uk or tel: 023 9225 4886 / 07964 379988

Closing date for entries is Saturday 15 June 2013

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KentCarping: A wonderful day

On 8th May, KentCarping held a charity event at Claygate Fishery in Marden, Kent on behalf of Fishing for Forces.

We had a wonderful day at the waterside thanks to the fantastic teams at  KentCarping and Claygate Fishery, with some great fishing, a fundraising auction and even a couple of prizes.

We must also say a huge thank you to everyone who donated or bid on items in the auction – you helped KentCarping raise over £635!

The guests at Claygate Fishery, courtesy of KentCarping

The guests at Claygate Fishery, courtesy of KentCarping

Prizes being given out

More prizes

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2012 Events Confirmed

I am pleased to announce our next series of confirmed events for 2012 with more yet to be confirmed nationwide.

We have had a marvellous response from “Mentors” – those who are giving their time to introduce so many wounded, serving and veteran personnel to the pleasures of fishing. It is most important to me that you, the supporters, see what we achieve on your behalf and I trust it meets with your approval.

Look out for the post-event articles and be very proud for without you it would not happen. Should you or a friend wish to become an “FFF Mentor” in game, coarse or sea angling by passing your skills on to others, please let me know as soon as possible as we may have an event close to you this year.

To get in touch, find the details on our Contact Us page.

My sincere thanks

Bill Howell
(Founder)

2012 Confirmed Events

27th March: 15 guests from 2nd Batt Para PRU to Chigboro Trout fishery Kent (Fly). All mentors, tackle and food organised.
12th April: 8/10 guests from Tedworth Hse PRU to White Lodge Lake Swindon (Coarse & Fly). All mentors, tackle and food organised.
21st April: Fundraiser courtesy of Lady Brassey at Apethorpe Northampton.
24th April: 40 guests (Mixed Units) to Sportfish Haywards Lake Reading (Fly). Mentors, tackle and food (Hog Roast) organised.
8th May: Fundraiser (Carp fishing competition) courtesy of Andy Goodman of Kent carping at lakes in Kent.
24th May: 8 guests from Tedworth Hse PRU to Corfe Lakes Enford. Mentors, tackle and food organised.
29th June: 20 guests to Avon Springs. Mentors,tackle and food organised.
Date TBC: but 1st week September 20 guests to Ravensthorpe reservoir (Boat Fly). Mentors, tackle and food organised.
11th September: 8/10 guest from Tedworth Hse PRU to Corfe Lakes, Enford. Mentors, tackle and food organised (Fly).
13th September: 20 guests (Mixed Units) to Leckford Lakes Chilbolton (Fly). Mentors, tackle and food (Hog Roast) organised.

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KentCarping Event at Claygate Lakes

www.KentCarping.co.ukOn Tuesday 8th May 2012, KentCarping will be holding a charity event at Claygate Fishery, Marden in support of Fishing for Forces.

The aim for this charity event is to provide a day’s angling for approximately 20 serving soldiers or veterans teamed up with 20 volunteer anglers.

This event has been organised by Andy at KentCarping, who is himself an ex-soldier of the Royal Artillery and all too aware of the problems and situations that serving soldiers and veterans have to face. His decision to support Fishing for Forces is greatly appreciated and he has already received an overwhelming amount of support from companies and people to take part in one way or another. If you wish to take part or offer your support please contact Andy on: admin@kentcarping.co.uk or  07913 657563.

The lake has kindly been donated for the day by Dave at Claygate Fishery and as well as a day’s fishing, they hope to run a number of raffles to raise money for Fishing for Forces.

To coincide with the event on 8th May, KentCarping will also be running a number of charity auctions with all proceeds going to Fishing For Forces.

To read more about this event, read the article on the KentCarping website here.

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A Christmas Message from Bill Howell, Founder

Thanks to the generosity of anglers and non-anglers nationwide, Fishing For Forces has had a stunning year with over two hundred veterans, plus wounded and serving members of the armed forces enjoying a day at the waterside.

From single person mentoring days to sponsored days with twenty or more guests, the results have been wonderful with a good number of guests taking up fishing seriously. Without exception, all those who shared our days out made it very clear that they had a terrific time – check out our testimonials page to read some of the wonderful comments from guests.

Below is a snapshot video of all we’ve achieved this year.

The year culminated in a fundraising lunch for 130 guests at The House of Lords, thanks to our patron Lord Dear, with several thousand pounds being raised. This money will enable us to expand in 2012 and keep the fundraising wheels turning while we meet more potential sponsors across the country.

Whilst you are reading this, please remember at all times that Fishing for Forces is your charity and it is successful because of your invaluable ideas, support and generosity. I thank you for your participation in 2011 and hope that you will continue to support us throughout 2012.

Regrettably, not all offers of fishing could be taken up in 2011 but with Fishing For Forces now firmly established nationwide we expect to be very busy in the coming year – make sure you have your tackle ready!

We are constantly hearing about “cuts here and cuts there” and our armed forces are being trimmed severely. We need to offer former-service personnel something after military life that we consider normal so if you know of anyone who would willing and able to donate tackle, fishing time or even money, please do point them in the direction of Fishing for Forces. We would be extremely grateful.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish the very best of the coming Christmas and New Year to you, your families and friends and look forward to sharing a very fishy new year with you. Watch this space!

My sincere best thoughts to all,

Bill Howell

Founder

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Invicta FFC Fishing for Forces Event

Members of the Invicta Fly Fishing Club of Cambridge, in conjunction with the charity Fishing For Forces, organised and held on 23rd June a trout fishing day for forces personnel returning from Afghanistan and other postings around the world where British forces are present. Not a charity day but a “well done lads and thank you” day.

The event was held at Elinor trout fishery, kindly assisted by the fishery proprietor (himself no novice at fly fishing… Ed Foster, Captain of the England Fly Fishing team).

Members of Invicta FFC and Fishing for Forces guests after a day at Elinor trout fishery.

Members of Invicta FFC and Fishing for Forces guests after a day at Elinor trout fishery.

Each soldier’s day ticket was paid for by an Invicta member, with lunch provided by the club and some generous donors. The day began in heavy driving rain – an unfortunate introduction to any outdoor sport – settling down to an afternoon of gusting winds. After some initial casting instruction some guests, with mentoring Invicta members, spent some time on the bank, whilst some began on the boats with members. With a wind blowing onto the bank which seemed to hold most fish, making casting difficult for inexperienced casters, the afternoon session saw all guests in boats.

Most of the soldiers caught fish, almost all for the first time. Best bag, of 6 trout, was taken by Bdr Jason Palmer, with best fish, approaching 3lbs, being taken by Gunner Ashley McEvoy. Prizes were donated by Fishing For Forces, Invicta FFC and Elinor Fishery.

More information available from www.invictaffc.org.uk and www.fishingforforces.org

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Fishing for Forces – Park Beat, Aberdeenshire Dee, 30th July 2011

A day's fishing at Park Beat, Aberdeenshire Dee

A day's fishing at Park Beat, Aberdeenshire Dee

On 30 July, John Foster the owner of the famous Park Beat on the Aberdeenshire Dee, very kindly donated 2 rods to the Fishing For Forces charity. Two members of 1 Scots based in Edinburgh were the lucky recipients of this wonderful opportunity, and Dickie Coppard and Wes Gold met up with Park head ghillie Keith Cromar and their mentor and organiser of the day, Nick Evans, a regular fisher at Park. Neither Dickie nor Wes had any experience of fishing with a double-handed salmon rod, but after a little explanation and instruction from Nick, both were able to cover the water quite adequately with a Single Spey cast.

The Dee was running quite low, but there were many fish in the beat, with a lot of fresh fish running upriver, as well as some “residents” that had been there for a little while. Fish of all sizes were seen, but the low water and desire to run hard meant the fish were focussed on other things and not our flies! Small flies had been taking fish and Nick had tied up some suitable patterns for our two guests.

A peaceful and enjoyable day by the Aberdeenshire Dee

A peaceful and enjoyable day by the Aberdeenshire Dee

Shortly after lunch, whilst fishing Park’s famous Durris Stream, Dickie was taken solidly by a salmon, but the fight lasted only a few minutes before the fish made its escape. Nevertheless, this was a great achievement on a very difficult day, and left Dickie with the feeling for what might have been !

All together a wonderful opportunity for Dickie and Wes, and all made possible by the kindness and generosity of John Foster – memories were made and the relaxation of the river bank helped soothe away some of the less memorable experiences both had experienced recently in Helmand.

We look forward to hearing from the lads on the comments page soon.

An exceptional day well organised by one of our many mentors that FFF are fortunate to have.

Sincere thanks Nick

Wes and Dickie enjoying a day's fishing on the River Dee, Aberdeenshire

Wes Gold and Dickie Coppard enjoying a day's fishing on the River Dee, Aberdeenshire

 

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Leckford Lake Photo Slideshow

We’ve now put together a slideshow of photos taken at the brilliant Red Lion Food Fishing Day, heldat Leckford Estates in April courtesy of the John Lewis Partnership.

Everyone who attended had a great time, with mentors providing excellent support as always. We were also lucky enough to have a fabulous hog roast, generously supplied by the Leckford keepers and enjoyed by all.

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Orvis Fundraiser at Wykeham Lakes, Yorkshire

The kind folks at Orvis UK will be running a fantastic Fly Tackle demo day at Wykeham Lakes, Charm Park in Yorkshire to raise money for Fishing for Forces. Come along and try your hand at casting on what will be a superb day by the water.

It will take place at 12pm on Thursday 16th June 2011 and tickets cost £5. To book, contact Mike Heelis or James Doyle at the Pickering store on 01751 473 060.

Orvis

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Lady Caroline Brassey Fishing For Forces Fundraiser

at
The Manor House Apethorpe Northampton
on April 23rd 2011

The Manor, Apethorpe

The Manor, Apethorpe

There could be no more suitable title for this article as everything from beginning to end emanated and revolved around Lady Brassey.

From the moment she telephoned me with this most generous offer from her and her husband David, she took command and with blurring speed, everything was in place.

From the designing, printing and personally sending out two hundred and fifty invitations to friends, followed by organising wine and canapé’s as a greeting for guests, she was in complete command and aware at all times as to who was doing what, where and when. This of course left me at the starting gate with little to do – a rare event!

The weather was excellent and the setting stunning – from the Church Walk to the Lake walk, the beauty and tranquillity must have been felt by all who visited.

Part of Lady Brassey's collection

Part of Lady Brassey's collection

Lady B also added to the event by placing a large selection of glass and porcelain items from her own collection for sale to entice collectors and her army of family and friends made sure that from the moment one stepped through the gate (and paid the minor entrance fee) you were made to feel at ease and most welcome.

My wife and I manned the FFF stand and received many donations in different forms, from funds to fishing plus a pair of well-cared-for Salmon Rods and Reels courtesy of Lt Col (Ret) West for a fortunate vet to use in the future. Andrew Flitcroft (editor of Trout & Salmon) also took time to bring his family, take a few pictures and donated a subscription for a year to this superb magazine for the tombola.

The Fishing for Forces stand

The Fishing for Forces stand

Lady B commented with a disarming smile that if a short note did not appear in the magazine re FFF she would add something of him to her collection. I got the distinct feeling there is a dungeon somewhere on the estate for non-compliant persons but I was not foolish enough to look for it.

Four lads from 16 RA attended the event as stewards, bringing with them a stunning display board with pictures compiled by Cpl Dene Smith of our FFF Ravensthorpe event (Sept 2010 – I have one now to go with our stand) and they did a sterling job discussing with guests the merits of an Army career and the basics of FFF. The assistance by these lads was invaluable and my sincere thanks go to Cpl’s Smith and Docherty and Sgt’s Price and Shepherd.

I cracked up when one corporal asked a sergeant in good humour as Lady B whirled past on yet another task checking progress with daughters Zara and Chloe “is that the Lady RSM in charge” and the reply was “yes and she will add something of yours to her collection if you are not on that gate taking money sharpish” to which the corporal swiftly took off for the gate. A lot of laughter and good will was shared by both guests and hosts throughout the day and we fervently wished that all events could be so well organised.

The estate at Apethorpe

The estate at Apethorpe

The weather was idyllic with brilliant sunshine and people meandered around the estate admiring the lake and islands totally free of all worldly woes. The tombola stand was a very popular stop with a large number of tickets sold for numerous gifts donated by many of Lady Caroline’s friends and a superb presentation box of wine donated by a chap I had the pleasure to meet just once at a mill, after we chatted about FFF.

My genuine thanks to Trevor Hughes and associates of T&W Wines who delivered the package personally, the lads of 16 RA and to all of the friends of Lady B who donated and also took the time to come and support us throughout the whole day.

Mrs Howells manning the FFF stand

Mrs Howells manning the FFF stand

Edward (Son of Lady C) arrived with his family and a small addition to the family who, when introduced to my wife, inspired her to give me one of those “I want one of these” looks (see picture) to which I promptly took a sudden interest in the lake and fish therein.

The generosity of Lord and Lady Brassey and family did not stop there – they have most kindly offered their lake to veterans for a number of days fishing throughout the season and there are stories of 25lb plus Carp cruising just below the surface. I had to stop a couple of the lads jumping in for a closer look when they spotted one!

The day ended brilliantly with an astonishing record for FFF of £1,309.70, raised entirely due to the efforts of Lady Brassey, her family and friends.

Thank you seems such small reward on this occasion so we have to get more vets to the waterside to show our thanks and make sure they know who helped us get them there.

Lady B has asked if she can do something similar next year; there is no stopping this lady and Fishing For Forces is truly privileged to have such a good friend and enthusiastic family patronage.

From all the FFF team our very sincere thanks to Lady B, family and all friends for such a marvellous result to a wonderful event.

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Fishing for Forces gives soldiers waterside therapy

Sixteen soldiers, all veterans of operational tours including Afghanistan, enjoyed a complimentary day of fishing at Leckford Lake in Hampshire thanks to the charity Fishing for Forces and local and national businesses and individuals who all contribute time and equipment to the day.

Corporal Morven Thomas with one of the Fishing for Forces mentors (and the trout he caught).

Corporal Morven Thomas with one of the Fishing for Forces mentors (and the trout he caught).

They enjoyed a hog roast lunch as well as one-to one-tuition from fishing experts who volunteered their time to help out. Corporal Morven Thomas (34) from South Africa who is based with 101 Engineer Regiment EOD, caught one of the largest brown trout of the day.

Fishing for Forces was set up to enable soldiers to relax and unwind and perhaps even to pick up a new hobby. Open to all soldiers and ex-soldiers who have served in a warzone the charity offers group events, such as the day at Leckford Lakes, as well as the opportunity to find instructors accross the country who are willing to volunteer their time to help.

The charity was the inspiration of Bill Howell, who was delighted the troops were able to relax by the lake. He said: “Spending the day by the waterside can be very theraputic for people who have been in stressful situations and can help the recovery of those who have been seriously wounded.”

He stressed that the event could not have taken place without all the volunteers involved or the sponsors who provide the venue, food, trophies and shirts for the soldiers; with special mention to Neil Munday from the John Lewis Fly Fishing Club, Dave Coles from Red Lion Foods, John Vines Snr who provided trophies and Ben Granger who provided the fishing equipment.

The Leckford keepers also did a great job of preparing the venue, including creating disabled access for any wounded soldiers.

The next event is to be held at Avon Springs Fisheries in Wiltshire, in June.

This article was first published on 15th April on the Army website at http://www.army.mod.uk/news/24006.aspx

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Fundraising Event Northampton

Fishing For Forces are very privileged to have as sponsors Lord and Lady Brassey of The Manor House Apethorpe, Northampton.

Lady Brassey has most generously organised a fundraising pleasure walk on Saturday the 23rd April from 10.30am until 3.00pm through the glorious woodland garden of their estate with a glass of wine and canapés included. The floral display of daffodils that lit the meadow is gently fading to be replaced by a number of other blooms with the lake and wildlife adding to the peace and tranquillity of this gem in the Northampton countryside. Lady Brassey is also selling a number of exquisite items of glass and porcelain from her personal collection gathered over a number of years.

Entry is via the Garden Entrance and there is also a raffle for some substantial prizes with tickets a mere £5.00 upon entry with the proceeds in aid of Fishing For Forces helping to take more of our veterans to the waterside.

Brassey event invitation

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Fish of the Month Competition

Glasgow Angling Centre's Fish of the Month CompetitionGlasgow Angling Centre, Europe’s largest online fishing tackle retailer, is currently running a fish of the month competition over at their website, www.fishingmegastore.com.

The winner will receive £100 worth of Glasgow Angling Centre Gift Vouchers and all you have to do is send them a photograph of you and your catch, where you caught your fish, and what tackle and method you used. One winner will be announced each month and will be featured on the GAC’s blog and Facebook page.

For more information and terms and conditions, visit www.fishingmegastore.com/feature-competition.html.

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We want to hear from you

As the end of our first season draws to a close, we’re thrilled with the progress Fishing for Forces has made. We’ve had some great publicity, launched our new website and enjoyed some wonderful fishing, first at Avon Springs Fishery in Wiltshire and then at Ravensthorpe Reservoir in Northampton, providing some much needed rest and relaxation for servicemen and women back from Operational Duties.

If you’ve participated in a Fishing for Forces day, we want to hear about your experience. Whether you were a guest or a host, simply post a comment on this website and we’ll share your testimonial, hopefully encouraging other service personnel to take part. Whether it’s one line or a page long, we’d love to hear from you.

Read our current testimonials here.

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Fishing for Forces on YouTube

Fishing for Forces now has it’s own YouTube channel, launched with the great news item filmed by Anglia News at our event at Ravensthorpe Reservoir on 3rd September 2010.

You can watch the report below.

Visit www.youtube.com/user/fishingforforces to subscribe to our channel and watch new videos as they’re uploaded.

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Nightlines – an evening of angling readings and discussions

Holkham Hall, NorfolkOn Friday 8th October 2010, an evening of angling readings and discussions will take place at the Stables Café at Holkham Hall, North Norfolk.

The event will begin with a drinks reception which will begin at 6.30pm, followed by readings from authors Luke Jennings, John Andrews, David Profumo and Charles Rangeley-Wilson. Afterwards, there will be the chance to buy a pint of East Anglian ale, talk with the writers and buy signed books.

There will also be an ‘Andrews of Arcadia’ cabinet of fishing curios and a raffle with prizes including sets-of-four signed books by each of the authors and a rod-and-reel outfit kindly donated by Orvis.

Entry: £5 cash on the door but space is limited – to reserve your tickets please contact Julian Hanson-Smith, Warham House, Wells-next-the Sea, NR23 1NG or email j@hansonsmith.com.

NOTE: Entrance to Holkham Hall is through the North Gate only.

This event is held with the kind permission of Viscount Coke.

All costs have been met by donations and the writers are not charging a fee. All funds raised from the evening will go to The Wild Trout Trust (North Norfolk Sea Trout Project) and Warham PCC (in support of its two churches).

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Launch of our brand new website

Fishing for ForcesFishing for Forces is delighted to announce the launch of their new website, www.fishingforforces.org.

The first fishing event took place at Avon Springs Fisheries in Durrington, Wiltshire on 16th June 2010 and it was such a success that we we couldn’t wait to get more people involved.

The website includes all the information needed to join the scheme and provide fishing, keep track of fishing events in your area and donate funds to support the organisation. Fishing for Forces is really just starting out and we need all the support we can get.

If you’d like to show your appreciation for all the armed forces do for us, please get in touch with us at bill@fishingforforces.org. We’d love to hear from you.

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Soldiers discover relaxation with Fishing for Forces

Twenty four soldiers recently back from operational deployments took to the shores of Ravensthorpe Reservoir, Northampton, on Friday as part of a scheme to allow soldiers a restful day’s fishing away from the strains of operations in Afghanistan.

The angling session was the second ‘Fishing for Forces’ event to be held this year after its launch in June in Durrington, Wiltshire.

“It is a medical fact that anytime spent by the waterside is extremely therapeutic and assists recovery in trying times,” explained co-founder of the scheme Bill Howell. “It also gets personnel out of the military/medical environment that proves most beneficial.

A soldier fishing at Ravensthorpe Reservoir

A soldier fishing at Ravensthorpe Reservoir

“One of our guests at Avon Springs in June – a 26-year-old and has already served four tours in Afghanistan – turned to me over a coffee and said: ‘I was not sure there was this much peace left in the world’. That comment made all our hard work worthwhile, and is what Fishing for Forces is for.”

‘Fishing for Forces’ is designed for anyone who has been on an Operational Tour and could do with a day of peace and quiet by the water.

The scheme is available to all service men and women from the Navy, Army or Air Force who have returned from an operational duty within the previous 18 months.

It’s a chance to unwind

Friday’s event at Ravensthorpe was suggested by sponsors Briggs & Forrester, and was attended by a number of soldiers from 16 Regt RA and 33 Engineer Regt of all ranks from Sappers to Lieutenant Colonels.

Some of those attending are not long back from difficult tours in Helmand province, while many also had little to no fishing experience.

“I’ve hooked my ear, elbow, jumper, boot, and some weeds, but no fish yet,” admits Sapper Robert Price, 21, who lost two friends to IEDs during his six month tour on HERRICK 11. “I’m enjoying it though – it’s a chance to unwind.”

Events across the country

Bill shows a soldier how to fish

Bill Howell shows a soldier how to fish

Fellow Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist, LCpl Bobby Willett, 23, was having equally poor luck catching any fish, but with two Iraq tours and not long back from Afghanistan, where he found ten IEDs during his tour, he was also enjoying the experience.

“I’ve no experience with fishing,” he said, “But I thought I would give it a go and see if I liked it. We’re having a bit of a competition to see who can get the most fish, or the biggest, depending on what I eventually catch, but it is relaxing.”

The organisers plan to put on more day events and opportunities for soldiers to fish around the country.

“I am approaching more companies to sponsor events nationwide at venues easily accessible to recovery centres and camps to keep travelling for guests to a minimum,” said Bill. “My intention is to hold a number of events across the country from Scotland to Cornwall.”

Details of the next event will be made available through the chain of command and a soon-to-be-launched website, www.fishingforforces.org.

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A great success for Fishing for Forces

Avon Springs FisheriesA new scheme to provide a day’s fishing for soldiers was launched at Avon Springs Fisheries in Durrington, Wiltshire, on 16 June 2010.

The scheme allows service personnel from the three armed forces, whether fit or injured, to experience the relaxation and stress-free environment fishing provides.

Fishing for Forces was the brainchild of Bill Howell and Christopher Robinson who, having read a letter in angling magazine Trout & Salmon from a soldier in Afghanistan enthusing about the therapeutic benefits of being by the water fishing, decided they should try and offer fishing days to all service personnel returning from Ops.

Christopher, whose son is currently in Afghanistan, said: “I read Lt Davis’ letter and so I wrote to the magazine saying wouldn’t it be fantastic if people in the UK could give members of our forces some fishing when they got back.

“It’s a wonderful day out, a chance to relax, forget about all the stresses and strains of operations and just have a nice quiet day on the water.”

A reel treat

Bill explained: “When Christopher replied to the letter, inviting Lt Davis for a day’s fishing when he got back, I thought that’s a really nice idea. Why don’t we try and extend it to everybody? Especially those who have sacrificed a part of their body, or a part of their mind.

“And, fishing and the waterside has always been a very theraputic aid to people recovering from all kinds of illnesses or injury.”

A number of troops from nearby 26 Engineer Regiment and 4 Rifles came along to enjoy a day relaxing with rod and net by the lakes of the trout farm, which is nestled in the south Wiltshire countryside on the edge of Salisbury plain.

The trout farm was hired for the day by keen local fisherman Jim Steele, who wanted to share his passion for fishing with the soldiers, some of whom have only returned to the UK in the past six weeks.

A new experience

A soldier and his catch at Avon Springs

Sapper Will Coldrick from 26 Engineer Regiment (right) with Instructor Jim Steele (Picture: Shane Wilkinson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010)

Lance Corporal Mark Zareh (22), ‘Jock’ to his mates, who is a member of Support Company, Reconnaissance Platoon, 4 Rifles, took to fly fishing like it was second nature. He was soon casting one-handed, a rare ability in someone so new to the sport.

Jock, who grew up Glasgow, serves with the Reconnaissance Platoon. They handed over to 40 Commando (Royal Marines), in the deadliest part of Helmand province, in April.

He said: I walked into work one day and my platoon serjeant said ‘who wants to go fishing?’ So me and Rifleman Butt put our hands up for it and that’s how come we are here today.

“The only experience I’ve had fishing before this was doing a bit of salt water fishing for pleasure. I’m getting the hang of this fly fishing and I really like it.”

During his “Brilliant” day by the river, Jock managed to catch a 4lb trout.

Many of the soldiers had never fished before. This was a new experience for them. However, they were all relaxing and enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the fly fishing day. And, with the opportunity to catch a whopper, the lads got into the competitive spirit of the event, too.

‘I wanted to come fishing because it’s relaxing’

A tasty lunch was delivered by the staff at Avon Springs and by the end of the day 11 large trout had been successfully fished, weighed and put on ice. Prizes were awarded for various catches with the largest fish weighing in at a hefty 6lbs 14oz.

Sapper William Morgan (22), ‘Willie’ to his mates, is a member of 30 Squadron 4 Armoured Troop, 26 Engineer Regiment. He was very enthusiastic about his first experience of fly fishing.

“We heard about the fishing day through our boss and thought it would be a good day out. I wanted to come fishing because it’s relaxing and something enjoyable,” he said. “I have fished before, but not since I was a lad.”

Willie, whose parents live in Kirriemuir, Angus, was the first Trojan operator in Helmand province. The Trojan and Python mine-clearing equipment was used in Afghanistan during Op MOSHTARAK and it was Willie and his colleagues who used the machine to clear vast swathes of Helmand countryside of bombs.

‘We’ve got some fishing not too far away’

Bill said: “The bottom line is whether they’re in hospital or whether they’re in a base or at home recovering, we’ve got some fishing not too far away. That’s sea fishing, coarse fishing, trout fishing and salmon fishing.

“So, if they can get themselves to the waterside, we’ll happily organise the tackle, some lunch and a wonderful day out.”

Major Derek Saunders, of the Army Personnel Branch that helped co-ordinate the soldiers’ attendance, said: “Fishing, and in particular fly fishing, is a sport that is puts the angler in beautiful surroundings in all weathers.

“The challenge of choosing the correct fly for the right conditions, selecting where to present the fly on the water to attract a game fish requires focused attention.

“However, once a fish is hooked the situation becomes an exciting battle between the fish and the angler in which sometimes the angler will lose. The result is a period spent in a way that, to put it simply, is the best stress buster going. And that’s great for those who have returned from Ops.

Anyone who is able to help Fishing for Forces by donating equipment, offering a venue, or sponsoring a soldier for a day’s fishing is invited to contact Bill Howell – for equipment donations and soldier sponsorship – on 020 7385 2135 email: bill@fishingforforces.org

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Fishing scheme is ‘stress buster’ for troops back from Operations

A new scheme to provide Service Personnel who have recently been on operational deployments with a restful day fishing was launched yesterday, Wednesday, 16 June 2010.

Sapper Will Coldrick and instructor

Sapper Will Coldrick from 26 Engineer Regiment (right) with Instructor Jim Steele (Picture: Shane Wilkinson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010)

‘Fishing for Forces’, was created after a soldier wrote a letter to angling magazine ‘Trout and Salmon’ enthusing about the therapeutic benefits he experienced when fishing.

After reading the soldier’s plea, Bill Howell and Christopher Robinson, whose son is currently in Afghanistan, set up the scheme to offer fishing days to all soldiers returning from operations. Christopher said:

“I read Lieutenant Davis’ letter and so I wrote to the magazine saying wouldn’t it be fantastic if people in the UK could give members of our Forces some fishing when they got back.

“It’s a wonderful day out, a chance to relax, forget about all the stresses and strains of operations and just have a nice quiet day on the water.”

‘Fishing for Forces’ is designed for anyone who has been on an Operational Tour and could do with a touch of peace and quiet and would benefit from the healing effect that a day by the water has to offer.

The scheme is available to all service men and women from the Navy, Army or Air Force who have returned from Operational Duty within the previous 18 months.

Colour Serjeant Vince Bowerman with instructor

Colour Serjeant Vince Bowerman from 4 Rifles (right) with Instructor Gerald Hunt during the inaugural Fishing 4 Forces day at Avon Springs Fisheries, Durrington (Picture: Shane Wilkinson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010)

See the RN & RM Angling Association website at Related links for more information.

The scheme was launched at Avon Springs Fisheries in south Wiltshire yesterday and was attended by a number of troops from nearby 26 Engineer Regiment and 4 Rifles who took advantage of the chance to relax with rods and nets.

The trout farm was hired for the day by keen local fisherman Jim Steele, who wanted to share his passion for fishing with soldiers, some of whom have only returned to the UK in the past six weeks after a very difficult operational tour in Helmand province, losing comrades and then adjusting to life back in Wiltshire.

Some of the soldiers who attended the launch had never fished before and some hadn’t fished since they were children. They said they were enjoying the peace and quiet and didn’t realise just how relaxing fishing could be.

Lance Corporal Mark Zareh, aged 22, who is a member of Support Company, Reconnaissance Platoon, 4 Rifles, who handed over to 40 Commando Royal Marines, in the deadliest part of Helmand province in April 2010 took to fly fishing like it was second nature. He was soon casting one-handed, a rare ability in someone so new to the sport. He said:

“I walked into work one day and my platoon Serjeant said ‘who wants to go fishing?’ So me and Rifleman Butt put our hands up for it and that’s how come we are here today.

“The only experience I’ve had fishing before this was doing a bit of salt water fishing for pleasure. I’m getting the hang of this fly fishing and I really like it.”

Colour Serjeant Vince Bowerman from 4 Rifles (right) with Instructor Gerald Hunt during the inaugural Fishing 4 Forces day at Avon Springs Fisheries, Durrington [Picture: Shane Wilkinson, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

During his ‘Brilliant’ day by the river, LCpl Zareh managed to catch a 4lb (2kg) trout.

Sapper William Morgan aged 22 is a member of 30 Squadron 4 Armoured Troop, 26 Engineer Regiment. He was very enthusiastic about his first experience of fly fishing:

“We heard about the fishing day through our boss and thought it would be a good day out. I wanted to come fishing because it’s relaxing and something enjoyable,” he said. “I have fished before, but not since I was a lad.”

Spr Morgan was the first Trojan operator in Helmand province. The Trojan and Python mine-clearing equipment was used in Afghanistan during Op MOSHTARAK and it was Spr Morgan and his colleagues who used the machine to clear vast swathes of Helmand countryside of bombs.

Co-founder of Fishing for Forces Bill said:

“The bottom line is whether they’re in hospital or whether they’re in a base or at home recovering, we’ve got some fishing not too far away. That’s sea fishing, coarse fishing, trout fishing and salmon fishing.

“So, if they can get themselves to the waterside, we’ll happily organise the tackle, some lunch and a wonderful day out.”

Major Derek Saunders, of the Army Personnel Branch that helped co-ordinate the soldiers’ attendance yesterday, said:

“Fishing, and in particular fly fishing, is a sport that is puts the angler in beautiful surroundings in all weathers.

“The challenge of choosing the correct fly for the right conditions, selecting where to present the fly on the water to attract a game fish requires focused attention.

“However, once a fish is hooked the situation becomes an exciting battle between the fish and the angler in which sometimes the angler will lose. The result is a period spent in a way that, to put it simply, is the best stress buster going. And that’s great for those who have returned from Ops.”

‘Fishing for Forces’ aims to bring together fishing locations around the UK with sponsors, trainers and equipment suppliers to enable soldiers, fit and injured, to enjoy fishing at a location near to where they are based.

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