Fishing for Schools founder Charles Jardine completed his marathon Wessex Water Challenge on Sunday 8 April, to raise around £10,000 for Fishing for Schools and its sister charity Casting for Recovery.
Charles, 65, of Downton, Wiltshire, ran the equivalent of two marathons between three Wessex Water Reservoirs, catching a trout at each – all within 24 hours on 7/8 April.
“It was totally exhausting and we had some mishaps along the way – like me falling into a ditch and a late night al-fresco trouser change – and I think I’ve lost a toe nail, but we did it!” said Charles.
“Fishing for Schools and Casting for Recovery are such great causes that it has of course been worth every minute of pain and exhaustion! I am immensely grateful to my support team who were with us through the night and ensured we made to Sutton Bingham; to the Wessex Water team who made all this possible and to everyone who has donated to the fund so far.”
Charles started fishing at Clatworthy Reservoir near Taunton, Somerset, at 10am on Saturday 7 April.
Within half an hour he had netted a 5lbs rainbow trout and he and running partner Richard Davis, of Downton Running Club, set off for the next fishery – Hawkridge, near Bridgewater – 13 miles away.
They made great time and had caught a fish and were back on the road again by 3pm.
The next leg was the longest – a 45 mile overnight run through the Quantocks to Sutton Bingham Reservoir near Yeovil – but Charles and Richard arrived a couple of hours earlier than scheduled at 3.20am. Thankfully fishery manager Ivan Tinsley was prepared to get out of bed and let them into the fishing hut where they got a couple of hours sleep.
Then at first light Charles was out by the water to catch his final trout. The tension was mounting when after two hours on the bank Charles was still to catch, but at 8.45am – following a chat with and the offer of prayers from with Radio 2 Good Morning Sunday presenter the Rev Kate Bottley – his luck came in and he landed the fish and completed his challenge.
Charles is an international fly fisherman and nature artist and coaches the England Youth Fly Fishing team. He set up Fishing for Schools 11 years ago, to re-engage children with learning and nature though fishing with short courses which are integrated into the National Curriculum. Casting for Recovery offers healing fishing retreats to ladies who have or are recovering from breast cancer.
You can still donate to Wessex Water Challenge fund at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wessexwaterchallenge