The 40th Casting for Recovery retreat was held in Hampshire over the weekend (21-23 July) when 11 ladies braved torrential conditions to catch their first trout.

Casting for Recovery UK and Ireland (CfR) is a charitable project run by The Countryside Alliance Foundation. It works on the simple truth that fly fishing is wonderful therapy for those recovering from breast cancer.

The weekend, held at the stunning Kimbridge on the Test estate near Romsey, saw the ladies try their hand at the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. Alongside the gentle physiotherapy the retreat also featured counselling and medical advice, giving a body and mind experience for the ladies, who had come from across England to take part.

The weather didn’t dampen spirits at all, with wet weather gear (and two fishing guides) provided by Orvis UK. The ladies enjoyed a full morning’s guided fly fishing on the Sunday, having practiced and practiced on the Saturday in preparation. The warm atmosphere and friendly banter between the ladies highlighted the supportive and giving ethos of the retreat, which was the 40th retreat ever held by Casting for Recovery. A special cake was commissioned to mark the occasion, showing a lady in a pink t-shirt fishing from a jetty, and Kimbridge’s owner and CfR Patron, Clay Brendish, broke out the Prosecco to celebrate the achievement.

Feedback from the weekend has included the wonderful comment from one of the participants: “I didn’t realise how much I needed this. I feel totally privileged to have been selected and to have been part of this 40th retreat. You are all amazing people and do an amazing job.”

Casting for Recovery’s Sue Shaw commented: “The weather didn’t get in the way of a wonderful retreat. The ladies gelled very quickly and by Sunday you couldn’t believe they had only known each other for 48 hours – I really believe some strong friendships have been formed. Casting for Recovery exists to support ladies who have been through a difficult time, and to offer them encouragement and fun. It’s humbling to be able to provide that. Thanks must go to the Casting for Recovery team and to all of the fishing guides who gave up their time to enthuse and guide the ladies at the fishing lake. It’s a project that really makes the most of our countryside and of the innate kindness of anglers!”