Date: 30th-31st August 2014
I was privileged to be asked to take part in a survey project investigating the therapeutic effect angling has on those who have suffered wounds and trauma in conflict.
The project involved 14 ex military personnel and was coordinated by Mark Wheeler and Dr Nick Cooper from Essex University Dept of Psychology and Prof Jamie Hughes from Vets Inst at Anglia Ruskin. The venue was Angling Projects Lake at Wraysbury run by Les Webber MBE. The guests came from all over the UK via Colchester PRU and spent the week end (Sat/Sun) in Bivvies fishing for Carp and other coarse fish. Les supplied all the tackle (rods etc) and Nash Tackle supplied the beds and Bivvies (tents) thanks to Nick Watkins. Fishing for Forces supplied T-shirts and baseball caps and I generally made a nuisance of myself wherever possible!
It was amazing to see 14 people who did not know each other suddenly spring into action as a team when told they were erecting the Bivvies (they were going to be sleeping in them) and assisting each other all the way round the lake transporting the gear in wheelbarrows with a small race to get the best spots! The event was boosted when on Saturday lunchtime Captain Chaos (aka Chris Tarrant) and his Lady arrived and spent a long time chatting with each guest and giving advice on carp fishing and weed clearing. They (CT and Lady Jane) returned again on Sunday so that he could sign T shirts and caps and discuss with the guests how they felt the weekend went. Chris spoke at length with the University team who stayed overnight with the guests and the general consensus from the guests – to a man and lady – was that they had a great time and the transformation was visibly heart warming.
Quite a number of the weekend’s guests will be joining us at the RMAS day for a bit of trout fishing and there is serious discussion about starting a club so FFF may have more work to do. As anglers know (because they are anglers) the therapeutic relief we get from a stress-ridden week at work, we now have to share it as much as possible with those who suffer and have suffered in defence of our much-envied way of life. It is easier than you think to share this knowledge and your contribution is invaluable.
Judging by recent articles and comments from members of the group and their relatives after this event it appears “Mission Accomplished”