Angling Projects

The Angling Projects centre near Wraysbury

The Angling Projects centre near Wraysbury

Strolling round the exhibitors at the recent Carpin' On show I came across the Angling Projects stand, and the man who runs it, Les Webber MBE.

Actually what I should say is Les not only runs the project, but was the inspiration behind its founding back in 1976.

It's principle aim is to teach children about the enjoyment of fishing, as opposed to more anti-social behaviour like crime and drug taking.

Youngsters from all over the country can come and stay at the centre - from one to five days - free of charge, in fact in the 39 years that the project has been running no group or individual has been charged for using the centre.

Over the years no government funding has ever been received and the project only survives on the kind donations and support from the public, and other concerned benefactors.

Les receives a cheque from Lt Col Keith Armstrong at this year's Carpin' On show

Les receives a cheque from Lt Col Keith Armstrong at this year's Carpin' On show

One of the regular supporters has been the Army Angling Federation (AAF), who besides raising money, also donate their unwanted fishing tackle, fishing medals and trophies that are then used by the centre as prizes for the children.

Nice carch! Two young visitors to the centre

Nice carch! Two young visitors to the centre

And Les soon brought the conversation round to his meeting with Lt Col Keith Armstrong from the AAF, who on the previous day, had presented him with a cheque for £1104.

The money was raised at their fishing festival held at Makins Fishery last year, with the soldiers getting individual sponsors.

Les himself is a genuine all-rounder, being just at home chasing specimen roach, as he is landing big carp.

He's also a keen conservationist, as anyone who visits the Projects venue can see, and which was recently given a Gold Accredited Fishery Award by The Institute of Fisheries Management. This is one of many awards Les has won, including the Seymo/Angler's Mail 'Heroes of angling' Golden Rod Award in 1995, the Countryside Alliance Welchman Award for outstanding services to the countryside in 2006, and culminating in his MBE, awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2008 for Services to Angling.

Prize giving time... and Les hands out some tackle to a competition winner

Prize giving time... and Les hands out some tackle to a competition winner

During the last 32 years Les has introduced over 40,000 children, through the Angling Projects Centre, to the joys of angling, so if you work in a school, or with a recognised youth group, you can book the Angling Projects Centre FREE of charge, subject to a minimum group of 8 youngsters.

If you would like more information try the Angling Projects website, or email Les Webber on lesandjudy@supanet.com