A Wiltshire woman, who started fishing on a fly fishing weekend for ladies with or recovering from breast cancer, will represent England at an international fishing competition next June. Tricia Cooke, 57, was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time in 2009 and at the end of her treatment in 2010 she took part in a Casting for Recovery event at the Arundell Arms Hotel in Devon.
Casting for Recovery UK & Ireland, which is administered by The Countryside Alliance Foundation, helps women to overcome the challenges of breast cancer by providing healing retreats in peaceful settings. They learn to fly fish and receive counselling and support with other ladies going through the same experiences. Tricia said: “My husband is really into fishing so when I was diagnosed with cancer for a second time I decided I would give it a go and applied to Casting for Recovery – my friend had seen it in a magazine – and it was wonderful. I had just finished my treatment and was wearing a wig and a bandana as I’d lost my hair, but I really enjoyed it. I didn’t want the weekend to end.
“I carried on fishing after the course and got involved in Casting for Recovery, helping them with fundraising. I got better at angling and the ladies that run the charity kept suggesting that I try out for the England team. I finally put myself forward for a qualifier at Eyebrook Reservoir [in Rutland] on 31 August and I came eighth.”
That eighth place means that Tricia will fish for her country at the Ladies International Fly Fishing Championships at Carron Valley Fishery near Denny, Stirlingshire on 2 June.
Director of Casting for Recovery UK & Ireland, Jill Grieve, said: “We are proud to have inspired Patricia to carry on fishing after her time on retreat. Her achievement is a real testament not just to the beautiful sport of fly fishing, but also to the joy our retreats so clearly bring to lady participants. “I know that everyone involved in Casting for Recovery wishes Patricia well as she goes to represent England in competition and we look forward to hearing how she does – we’re sure she will love every minute.”