With Storm Ali flexing its muscles north and west of London, there were a few anxious faces amongst the Masonic Fishing Charity’s East Kent team as it gathered for the fourth and final event of 2018!

Nestled in a valley between Canterbury and Herne Bay and sheltered from the strong winds by a bank of trees, Longshaw Farm Fishery proved to be the perfect host venue.  With frequent sunny periods and clouds moving rapidly across the sky barely a light breeze was felt at ground level!

Following the customary bacon roll breakfast the team of casters, under the ever watchful eye of Len Hopson, received the usual briefing, following which they hastened to their selected swims to prepare and await the arrival of their charges.  Our guests on this occasion were pupils from two schools in the Broadstairs area.

Bradstow School, a residential special school registered as a children’s home and maintained by the London Borough of Wandsworth, caters for children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities who are on the autistic spectrum continuum.  St Anthony’s School, a member of the Kent Special Educational Needs Trust, aims to deliver choice, opportunity, progress and equality for all its pupils to enable them to fulfil their future needs and aspirations.  We were also joined by a now familiar visitor from the Stroke Association.

The pupils from St Anthony’s School, some of whom had brought their own fishing rods, arrived in good time, were briefed and after being kitted out with hats, glasses, water and wipes, and paired with their casters were soon casting their first line!  The pupils from Bradstow School, together with their carers, arrived a little later and after the same processing were soon at the lakeside enjoying the warm sunshine and the anticipation of catching a fish.

Recent reports had suggested that the lakes were fishing well, particularly the Match Lake, our venue for the day, with catches of 100lbs plus for three-hour matches being reported.  Our targets were not so ambitious but, from the catches that were made, it was easy to see that such figures could be achieved.  Our target was simply to catch fish!  With a variety of fish being caught, including, carp to about 5lb (including crucians and a beautiful fully-scaled mirror), bream, roach and perch our target was easily achieved.  More important was the fact that, without exception, all the pupils caught fish and their excitement and sense of achievement was clear for all to see.

A common theme of our events and of equal anticipation and excitement amongst the pupils is the prospect of lunch!  As 12.30 approaches the most frequent question asked of the casters is “is it time for lunch?”.  Never disappointed and with lunch duly despatched and hungers sated the pupils returned to the lakes for the final chance of catching that elusive ‘much bigger fish’!  However, with reactions slowed by full ‘tummies’ those chances were reduced somewhat!

After lunch, David Alexander, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, spent time around the lake talking to the pupils, their carers and the casters.  At the close of the day David, who has been involved with the East Kent Branch of the MFC since its inception, thanked all the organisers, helpers and casters for their dedication and hard work in contributing to the success of these events.  He then presented each of the pupils with their certificates of merit as a memento of the day.  In return the representatives of the schools thanked the team for a wonderful day which had been thoroughly enjoyed by their pupils, expressing the hope that they could repeat the exercise in the not too distant future!

Another highly successful day, concluding another successful year.  All that now remains is to look forward to next year!  Watch this space!  Sadly, our Chairman and founder, Peter Brooshooft, was still in hospital and unable to attend.  All the team wish him a speedy recovery and return!

On this occasion we were pleased to welcome two new casters – always a pleasure – but we could still do with more!

If you, or anyone you know is interested in helping in any way contact either Warren Muckell, Len Hopson or any one of the team members.

MM MFC04/18


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