I returned to Puddledock Farm Fishery the other day to be at the official launch of The Kevin Green Angling Academy (South).
Brought about because of the sad loss of the popular angling journalist and broadcaster Kevin Green in late June 2013, this undertaking is all about starting a living legacy that will embody Kevin's own enthusiasm for passing on his angling knowledge and skills.
I myself wasn't quite sure of exactly what, and how, this Academy would actually operate, but this became a lot clearer when I was told about the new 'hut' that will soon be built, and permenantly sited, within the grounds of Puddledock Farm, who's management have themselves shown overwhelming support for this great initiative.
It will be a centre of learning, a classroom, to teach people about all things angling as well as a base for the Academy in this area of the country. And on that point it was great to hear the gossip that this is just the first one, and that other Academy's will eventually open across the country.
For more of an official guide to what the Academy is all about I'll let you read the Academy's own Mission statement:
Why was the Kevin Green Angling Academy (South) founded?
Because like the late Kevin Green - we care - not just about fishing but for the people - primarily for one section of the community - the disadvantaged, regardless of reason.
Like Kevin, we recognise the role the sport can play in improving health and wellbeing. Helping the body recover from conflict and illness, the mind from stress and trauma, and the person from poverty and exclusion. In Kevin's honour, we work with a wide variety of organisations to provide tailor made opportunities with qualified, professional coaches, dedicated classroom facilities and the use of a large multi-lake fishery, providing experiences that would otherwise be out of reach for many.
Working with local community support groups, charities, schools, wounded war veterans, probation and ex-offenders to name but a few, across the South East of England and London, we're proud to be making a difference. Our work is entirely reliant on donations and financial support - both from individuals and charities; local and national. Our board of Trustees, formed from industry experts and wider business leaders, are committed to building a legacy in the name of Kevin Green, based on sound management, compassion and desire. Recognising that from the compassion of our donors we can make a difference in people's lives through the sport of angling. The Kevin Green Angling Academy
As guest of honour it was great to see Kevin's wife Jo Green, with their two boys Reuben and Theo, plus Kevin's dad Ken, who also made the journey down to Upminster.
Their presence gave the launch a poignant link to Kevin and it was lovely to see Jo receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers, while Reuben was presented with a framed picture showing the moment he caught his first fish at the Kevin Green event at Lemington Lakes a few weeks ago.
After a few good natured speeches from Martin Roessler, Naidre Werner and Dr Bruno Broughton that officially introduced us to the Academy and its aims, it was time for a tour of the venue and Jo was encouraged to drive herself and her family around in one of the owner's golf buggys... think the kids were loving it!
It left me to chat with some of the Trustees and their enthusiasm for the project was fantastic, they really want to this to succeed, and with sponsorship from National Fishing Month, the Professional Anglers Association, Angling Trades Association, Sport England, Diawa, it has some great backing.
And just to prove a point I found out that there was a coaching session being held on one of the lakes even while the launch was taking place!
So I'll keep you guys up to date as the Academy grows, and I for one would like to wish them well.
Here's a few contact numbers/links if you'd like more information on the KGAA.
Martin Roessler, Chairman: 07760 373070
Dave Milton, Vice Chairman: 07958 651630
Nick Watkins, Lead Coach: 07704 284103
General enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Kevin Green Angling Academy
And if you'd like to make a donation click here.