The Warwickshire Branch of the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Charity (MTSFC) held its autumn event at Warwickshire Fly Fishers waters at Wolvey on 20th October 2016. A Warwickshire school had previously been invited to nominate a group of their students to attend with support from teachers and helpers which the headmaster gratefully accepted as an opportunity for a party of children with special needs to attend for the ‘Catch the Smile’ fishing day.
The day arrived.
Bob Croxall, our Treasurer and Catering provider together with his wife Julia had set up the outdoor kitchen and had the bacon cooking in preparation as the Fishermen casters, who were giving up their time to support us, turned up for a breakfast bacon roll from 8.00 a.m. and set up their fishing tackle. The waters had been stocked with trout in the past couple of weeks and with mild weather and no rain anticipation of a great day’s fishing filled the air.
As an unexpected and delightful surprise Trevor Pywell, MTSFC Public Relations Officer arrived to support us as a fisherman caster following contact by his son who is a member of Warwickshire Fly Fishers club but who was unfortunately unable to attend with his father. Ian Hart our Data Barring Service officer was on hand to set up the charity banner on the entrance gate to aid the school bus driver to find us and to ensure compliance with the rules of the charity.
The school mini bus arrived at 10.00 a.m. precisely with teacher Simon in charge of an excited group of ten children eager to get off the transport and make the most of their day. The children were paired up with casters by Ian Hart and supplied with hats, safety glasses, wipes, etc. etc. and set off for their adventure into fly fishing.
Lunchtime arrived and while there had been only a few fish caught earlier in the day it was evident that the trout were proving to be elusive. Not to be disappointed the children, helpers and casters all tucked into burgers and treats prepared by Bob and Julia Croxall. Following a short session of fishing after lunch it was time to have the presentations of certificates to each of the participating children which Trevor Pywell offered to present on behalf of the charity and photographed by myself, Nigel Bullimore using Trevor’s impressive photographic equipment. Special presentations of medals were given to three children for personal achievements over the day. To mark the day photographs recording each child receiving their certificate were taken together with those presented with medals as well as a group photograph. Trevor Pywell offered to provide the school with a special bound folder of photographs to record the day.
While only five fish were caught for the children to take home, plus a few catch and release, a fulfilling and enjoyable experience was had by all. The mini bus left filled with excited and exhausted occupants following a day which they are likely to recall for some time after.
Our thanks go to the children attending as well as to their teachers and helpers. It must be said that we could not have put on the event without our casters and our thanks go out to each and every one of them. Special thanks also go to Trevor Pywell for his help and in providing the photographs of the event as well as the special folder of the day’s activities which he has given to the school.
Unfortunately our branch Chairman, Michael Price could not be with us due to health problems and neither was our Area Representative, Eric Rymer able to join us due to business commitments. Days like this cannot be held without finance, so may we thank those lodges within Warwickshire Province for their support and donations to the charity and especially Ian Hart’s talks to lodges in promoting the work of the MTSFC.
If by reading this you would like to help as a caster, either fly fishing or coarse fishing, or as a helper or in any other way we would welcome your involvement and support to ‘Catch the Smile’.
Secretary, Warwickshire Branch of MTSFC
Tel. 0121 704 2423