Following the huge success of last year, this Fishing 4 Schools (F4S) open day, by invitation of Eastern Region F4S chairman Sally Acloque and Lenwade Pike Club members, was bathed in sunshine and was every bit as successful as the previous occasion.
Youngsters – from The Clare School, a specialist physical/sensory complex needs school in Norwich, Hockering Church of England Primary School, Dereham, Great Witchingham Church of England Primary School and Stradbroke Primary Academy, Great Yarmouth, took part in a range of 20-minute fishing-related activity sessions.
These included rig making with Glen Hales and Chris Oakley of the Fuel Allotment Charity, Great Witchingham, entomology delivered by Liam Reynolds of the Norfolk Rivers Trust and fly tying using feathers and other natural items, with Steve Beckham and Terry Lawton.
Fishing 4 Schools director Charles Jardine swopped his fishing hat, for a metaphoric artist’s beret for a piscatorial art session and there were also cooking demonstrations from top corporate legal counsel – turned chef for the day – Andrew Matthews, to captivate the young people.
But most importantly the youngsters all tried their hands at fly casting with Norfolk and Suffolk Flyfishers’ Society members and coarse fishing with volunteers from the pike club – and despite it being one of the hottest days of the year they caught a succession of rudd and one very large perch.
In all around 30 volunteers, plus instructors and teachers were in hand to ensure the young people stayed focused and enjoyed their day.
F4S director Charles Jardine said: “Huge thanks is due to all the people who made this day so special. This brief introduction to fishing might be a moment that changes the children’s lives forever and offers them both a pastime and link to so many school-based activities.”
And Georgina Mace, teacher at Great Witchingham C of E Primary School, said: “The children had a fantastic experience in a day that provided wonderful team building opportunities, enriched our curriculum and allowed the children to access the best of our countryside. They couldn’t stop talking about the fishing and they can’t wait to go again!”
Fishing 4 Schools works with schools across the country to offer short courses in angling that are geared to the National Curriculum – using weights and measures, entomology and other science subjects.
Sally Acloque said the Norfolk team planned to build further connections with these and other schools across the county, and are creating a teachers’ pack to explain the scheme and how the F4S course can complement classroom teaching.
“The children showed immense enthusiasm and we want to embrace this to bring the project to many more children in Norfolk,” she said.