Twenty-four young anglers from across the UK were recognised at the House of Commons yesterday (15 November) in the Fishing for Schools Champions Awards.

Fishing for Schools is an initiative run by The Countryside Alliance Foundation, the charitable arm of the Countryside Alliance. It provides short angling courses to schools across the country, to aid the education of 12 to 18-year-olds who may not respond to traditional classroom-based learning but flourish when you get them outside onto the water. It celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

Many of the youngsters who fish through Fishing for Schools have physical, learning or behavioural difficulties which mean they are not always in mainstream education. Each school was asked to nominate one child whom they thought had achieved the most through the course to be their champion and it is these youngsters who were commended at the reception on Wednesday.

The awards were hosted by Countryside Alliance chairman Simon Hart MP. Mr Hart said: “My proudest moments as chief executive of the Countryside Alliance were the creation of Fishing for Schools and bringing its founder and director Charles Jardine on board. I am delighted to be associated with this fantastic charity and the wonderful work it does.”

Fishing for Schools director Charles Jardine added: “These students are a tremendous example of what is achieved through Fishing for Schools. Many of them have had challenging school careers but fishing is a sport without barriers and seems to have struck a chord with them, offering something they can achieve and benefit from and teaching all manner of life skills along the way. I congratulate them all.”

The children celebrated at Westminster were:

  • Alec Reed Academy, Northolt, Ealing – Kieron Jones
  • Bower Grove School, Maidstone, Kent – James Luckhurst
  • Elmwood School, Bridgwater, Somerset – Henry Forrester
  • Long Sutton Autism Trust, Somerset – Oliver Miller and Paris Thompson
  • Maidstone and Malling Alternative Provision, Maidstone – Callum Jones
  • Malling School, West Malling, Kent – Ethan Hope
  • Maplesden Noakes School, Maidstone, Kent – Lewis Blair
  • MCCH (Maidstone Community Care Housing Society) – Chantelle Eydmann
  • Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne, Kent – Alick Pledger
  • Mendip Centre, Glastonbury, Somerset – Jack Care-Slade and Natasha Harris
  • Midhurst Rother College, Midhurst, West Sussex – Ben Welsh
  • Mounton House, Chepstow – Josh Wall
  • Orchard School, Canterbury, Kent  – Robert Brazil
  • Pewsey Vale, Pewsey, Wiltshire – Zak Awoodun
  • Romsey School, Hampshire – Jay Hoyle
  • Rowhill Special School, Longfield, Kent – Sam Weedon
  • Sir Hugh Owen School, Caernarfon, Gwynned – Dominic Roberts
  • Thamesview, Gravesend, Kent – Harry Hart
  • West Heath School, Sevenoaks, Kent – Nathan Cole
  • Woodlands Educational Centre, Havant, Hampshire – Tye Rule
  • Yewstock College, Sturminster Newton, Dorset  – Thomas Mullane
  • Yewstock School, Sturminster Newton, Dorset  – Toby Dear