The Angling Trust have announced the appointment of three new ambassadors to support our work – angling legend Bob Roberts, match fishing star Matt Godfrey (main picture) and tackle retailer Martyn Page, chairman and founder shareholder of Angling Direct.
All three accepted formal invitations to become ambassadors from CEO Jamie Cook who said he was looking forward to working with them “to promote, protect and develop the sport we all love.”
Jamie added: “In Matt we have one of the most talented coarse competition anglers of his generation who has a passion for supporting youth participation. Martyn shares that passion and like me is focused on ensuring that we protect the environment for future generations. Bob has been hugely supportive since I joined the organisation and having worked with him directly on recent campaigns, I have found his knowledge, drive and dedication to be truly inspiring. All three bring a huge amount of expertise to the Angling Trust and we are lucky to have them on our side.
“As we proved through Covid lockdowns, angling benefits from a strong, united representative body and having inspiring individuals promoting the work that myself and the team at the Angling Trust are doing across all areas of the sport helps us to build a stronger community.”
Matt Godfrey has been an inspiration to young anglers and remains the only person to have won the World U18 Championship three times. His ongoing commitment to supporting youth talent was one of the reasons he was selected to become an ambassador.
Matt said: “Angling is one of the most diverse pastimes out there, and it is that which fascinates me about the sport. There are many different kinds of fishing – match, sea, game, carp, specimen and more – that all change throughout the seasons and can take place at many different venues and locations, not just in the UK but across the whole globe. Then there’s the diversity of people who participate or are welcome to participate – a huge mix of ages and abilities across all genders can be involved.
“For me personally, the buzz of a big competition combined with the wild nature of our sport, the unexpected and unknown quarry, the elements, and the tactical puzzles to work out to succeed in a competitive arena, is what makes me really tick. I really enjoy the fact that in match fishing, hard work equals reward and consistency, and the journey to achieving this gives us amazing amounts of focus. Whether it be a young angler trying to compete in a junior event, an international angler fishing the World Championship, a club angler fishing with their friends locally, or a top-flight matchman in a big money final, the focus is present and fishing captivates us! It is that obsession and captivation of the sport that makes it so special.
“The Angling Trust and their ambassadors positively encourage people to try fishing and find something within it that gives them the captivation, escapism and enjoyment that we all love.”
Bob Roberts’ contribution to angling has been legendary. Match star, big-fish specialist and all-round angler, Bob is the longest running contributor to Improve Your Coarse Fishing, and his writings and views are highly regarded, thought-provoking and incredibly informative.
Bob said: “It is an honour to be named as an Angling Trust ambassador. By the early 1990s I had established myself as an angling writer and was earning a small income from the sport. Even then I recognised I had a responsibility to give something back, so I dug deep and paid upfront for a life membership of the then ACA [Anglers’ Conservation Association] which evolved into the Angling Trust as the sport’s Governing Body.
“Anyone who benefits from the sport, whether as writers, videographers, bloggers, coaches, fishery owners, employees of tackle shops, manufacturers, indeed anyone taking from the sport in however small a way, should join and support the Trust. It costs a pittance, and the wider benefits are huge. Who else will protect the waterside environment, our sport and in effect your role in it? Only then can we seriously ask others to join. Together we can be strong.”
Martyn Page’s inspiration for developing fishing tackle retailers accessible to all has supported many newcomers and returners back into our sport. In recent times, the Angling Direct chairman has supported the Angling Trust’s Get Fishing programme by training staff in stores across the country as angling coaches, which has had a direct impact on helping individuals take their first steps to become lifelong anglers. Martyn also has a personal affinity with the environment and fisheries.
Martyn said: “Fishing has been in my blood since I was a young boy some 56 years ago. Back then our rivers were full of fish and access for schoolkids to bountiful fishing was easy. How things have changed. Our rivers have deteriorated, and youngsters do not have the same freedom to roam unsupervised anymore.
“I have always been passionate in my belief that people can get so much benefit from fishing and that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy fishing successfully. I founded Angling Direct with that driving purpose and have been actively involved not only in education and promotion of angling but also protection of fish and fisheries for decades.
“There has never been a greater need for anglers to unite to protect and improve the nation’s fish stocks and diversity. Nor for the need for organised and qualified support, education and coaching to help people enjoy the benefits of this amazing pastime. Fortunately, the Angling Trust has had a real renaissance in recent years and is achieving incredible success on behalf of angling, not only with promotion and education but also in battling environmental issues and improving fish stocks and fisheries.
“It was therefore a privilege and honour to be invited to become an ambassador for the Angling Trust and my rallying call as I start this role is for all anglers to join and get behind the Angling Trust so that one united angling voice has the power, funds and support to maintain, improve and perhaps, one day, succeed in returning our waterways to the natural density and diversity of fish stocks that existed over 50 years ago.”
Bob Roberts (above) and Martyn Page (below).