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East Kent Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity aims to provide a countryside fishing experience for people with “Special Needs”


A Striking View the Lake

Many of us grew up in the 1960s and 70s where, for some, it was a time of making out a living repairing cars, exterminating pests or hop picking. Boys were taught to fish by their fathers during the weekends, cast after cast plopping into willow-shaded water, while weekdays were spent at the secondary school where, for some, gardening and metalwork were still being taught. Fishing is an unsentimental memoir of that time and nothing has changed for those boys today. As adults they continue to carry out the traditions of fishing as taught by their fathers and pass this knowledge on to the children who have a love for the sport.

The East Kent Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity aims to provide a countryside fishing experience for people with “Special Needs”. Their guests are invited from local schools, adult centres and similar training units for disabled and disadvantaged people. The Charity recently held its third event for 2016 at the Manor Fisheries in Headcorn, Kent. This delightful fishery, set in the centre of the Garden of England, is beautifully landscaped with three lakes, secure and well thought-out with rushes and islands.

The largest Catch? It’s not the size that matters.

The swims are large, sheltered and comfortable for fishing. Guests on this occasion were students from the Orchard School in Canterbury and the Goldwyn School in Ashford. Both schools cater for primary and secondary-age students who have autistic spectrum conditions, or behavioural, social or emotional needs.


Everyone counts

Manor Fisheries-9cropped

The largest catch?

The Students are welcomed by the Casters

On their arrival the students were welcomed by the school liaison officer and briefed on the safety precautions, before being assigned an experienced caster who would assist and coach each one at the lakeside. During the course of the morning the Head of East Kent Freemasons, Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing, was welcomed by the Branch Chairman, Peter Brooshooft, and given a comprehensive tour of the lakes to meet the casters and their pupils.


The students were welcomed by the Casters.


Relaxing in the beautiful surroundings.

After a very successful morning for the young anglers, a klaxon was sounded to alert everyone that lunch was being served – a barbecue with all the trimmings was awaiting them.  Following lunch, a short session of fishing continued and, on completion, all participants attended an award ceremony where Geoffrey Dearing presented certificates and medals to each student.


Geoffrey Dearing presenting a certificate and medal to one of the students

Manor Fisheries-11

Another student receiving his certificate and medal from Geoffrey Dearing

The third event of 2016 was indeed another successful occasion where East Kent Freemasons can be proud of the very worthwhile contribution that the East Kent Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity is making to the community. One of the teachers summed it up by saying:
“A big thank you to the whole team for a great day at the Manor Fisheries. The casters managed to teach their students to fish under quite demanding conditions.
Needless to say the children had a great time and thank you for giving our children such an
opportunity, one that they would not get any other way. All the very best and keep up the great work.”

The next event will be held at Longshaw Fisheries, Calcott Hill, Sturry, Near Canterbury Kent CT3 4ND on Thursday 22 September 2016.

Manor Fisheries-7

Could this be the largest catch? Well done!


They’re in there somewhere!

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