Bluebells in Bloom at Chart Fisheries
Spotting a carpet of bluebells in a woodland is a highlight of any springtime walk in the countryside and you don’t have to travel far to find bluebells in East Kent. From secluded valleys to ancient woodlands and even alongside its numerous lakes, there are a host of places to see them. If you’re lucky you might also spot wildlife like roe deer or woodpeckers; then again if you are a keen fisherman it would most likely be carp, roach or rudd. At Chart Fishery which is set in the middle of the Kent countryside and where the lakes are stream fed from the Greensand Ridge, the water quality is superb and there is an abundance of fish as well as bluebells.
It was at this venue that the East Kent Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity held its first event for 2016 on 21st April. The charity’s volunteers regularly give their time to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs. Their guests on this occasion were a party of students from the Harbour School in Dover and the Meadowfield School in Sittingbourne. Both are special schools for pupils who experience profound, severe and complex special educational needs (PSCN) including a percentage of pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH).
On their arrival they were welcomed by the school liaison officer and briefed on the safety precautions before being assigned an experienced caster who would assist and coach each one at the lakeside. As with most things concerning fishing, the prerequisite for success is more often than not dependent on the weather. In this case the day started off chilly and overcast but before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’ the sun broke through and a pleasant day developed to enable all the participants to enjoy their fishing.
During the course of the morning Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Graeme was welcomed by the Branch Chairman, Peter Brooshooft, and Caster Secretary, Len Hopson. They accompanied David on an intensive tour of the lakes to meet the casters and their pupils. After a very successful morning and after many fish were hooked, a klaxon was sounded to alert the young anglers that lunch was being served – a barbecue with all the trimmings was awaiting them. Following lunch, a short session of fishing continued and, on completion, all participants attended an award ceremony where David Graeme presented certificates and medals to each student.
The success stories heard regularly at these events are very humbling. The East Kent Masonic Fishing Charity has a unique way of bringing out the best in the participants whether that is due to their volunteers’ enthusiasm for fishing, their never ending patience or perhaps the fact that they don’t represent authority and are merely a friend for the day.
Fishing is always a way of relaxing
Reporter: Mike Balkwell on behalf of the East Kent Masonic Fishing Charity