Monday, 16 May 2011

A sad week

In the last few days I have been saddened by the news that two friends from the world of fishing have passed away.

The first is Micheal Edwards CEO of Orvis UK. Throughout my years at Wild Trout Trust, Michael was very supportive of our conservation work is so many different ways. He always listened with a generous ear to my cunning plans and differing ways of getting support from Orvis (and there were many!). I don’t actually ever think I heard him say no. Since my departure from WTT I kept in fairly regular contact with Michael and he was always interested how I was getting on at ERT in what he described as the Frozen North! Indeed in my last mail to him I threatened him that I would visit to the Orvis stand at this year’s CLA!

I have really good memories of Michael both at events such as the WTT Awards the CLA and once or twice in the shooting field.

The second loss has been that of Fred French MBE. Fred really was one of anglings grandees with involvement in many, if not of all of the bodies that have represented fishermen over the last few decades. I first met Fred through his NAFAC days when he used to 'ride shotgun' with his great pal, Terry Mansbridge. Both of these guys approached all of the issues facing fisheries with an infectious mix of professionalism, enthusiasm, pragmatism and good humor.

On my arrival at ERT Fred was one of the first to phone me and wish me all the best from his HQ in Ambleside. Like me Fred was a 'blow-in' from the South. Many of you reading this may have been on Freds 'distribution list' for what has been termed the 'World Wide French Web'. This can best be described as a sort of information service of emails and announcements of relevance to the fisheries world. Sometimes you could get several of these mails a day! However, on at least two recent occasions mails from Fred alerted me to very important issues and initiatives I knew nothing about. I used to also love Freds'commentary' that accompanied some of the mails - there wasn't much that he hadn't seen or heard of before and he did have a habit of telling it like it was!

I last mailed Fred about 10 days ago and he said things weren't great. Soon after the mails stopped appearing and towards the back end of last week I started to worry. A email on arrival at my desk this morning confirmed my worst fears.

At sad times like this,cliches tend to get overused. However, I can put my hand on heart and say both the passing of Micheal and Fred will leave a large gap in the world of fisheries and angling. However, I feel the richer for having the honor of their company over many years. The next time I catch a wild trout on the Eden I will raise my cap (and later a glass) to the honour of two great men.

But most importantly at this sad time, our thoughts must go to their families.