Charles-Jardine-1Fishing 4 Schools Director Charles Jardine writes: I was so tempted to place that resonant and caustic sentiment that dogged my fledgling school reports : Could try harder

Worse: This pupil is under achieving. That is certainly not the case with Fishing 4 Schools. 2013 marked yet another extraordinary year for this angling initiative from The Countryside Alliance Foundation. We are now operating, in some form or another, at 40 schools nationally. That means we have a constant development programme reaching out to over 400 students, possibly more during the course of this year. It is a staggering achievement and statistic that everyone within in the Countryside Alliance can take credit for. Everyone has played their part, everyone. 

You will have undoubtedly read elsewhere of the amazing fundraising evening at Hurdcott House kindly and enthusiastically hosted by Mr and Mrs George Stephenson (see p47 of our newly published membership magazine, sent to members this week.) Perhaps what you won’t have heard so much is the tireless and consummate professionalism of our fundraising team led brilliantly by Emma, the Lady Mancroft. Without this team we would be starved of the oxygen we need to scale ever greater heights.

We now have a team of instructors that is the envy of the industry. Their ability, expertise and enthusiasm is just amazing and making a very real and tangible difference in the classroom as well as outside.

In 2014 we will be launching a reworked Water Matters pack – a document that made such a significant difference to how the Alliance was perceived as being a “broader rural church” over ten years ago will be brought bang up to date with the help of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers’ funding. The early planning stages of this vehicle to educate through angling has also brought us very much closer to other organisations such as the Angling Trust and this can only bode well for the future.

In Wales we are playing a significant role in both schools delivery and shaping the future of instructors’ delivery into schools.

All in all, “could try harder” ? Not in this case. The pace set some eight years ago gains even greater momentum and rest assured, there will be no let up next year or indeed thereafter. We are on a mission.