Fourteen brave ladies (and Molly the spaniel mascot) enjoyed a weekend fly fishing retreat at Caer Beris Manor Hotel at Builth Wells from 11-13 April at the first ever Casting for Recovery event to be held in Wales. 

Casting for Recovery, a unique outdoor-based programme specifically designed for women who have, or have had, breast cancer, provides fly fishing programmes at idyllic retreats around the UK and Ireland. The Caer Beris retreat was only the third to be held in the UK, the first of its kind in Wales, and attracted several Welsh participants who were instructed by members of the Welsh Ladies Fly Fishing Team. Local MP Roger Williams also came along to wish the participants well as they went fishing for the first time at Llyn Gwyn fishery near Rhayader.

Any woman who has experienced breast cancer is eligible to apply to attend a retreat (with medical clearance from their doctor).   Retreats take place over two-and-a-half days and all accommodation, meals, counselling, and professional instruction are provided at no cost to participants due to the financial backing of the Countryside Alliance.  Trained medical staff and fly fishing instructors are on hand at all times and the fishing tackle and appropriate clothing is provided by Orvis UK.

Fly fishing offers proven benefits for recovering breast cancer patients.  The casting action provides the gentle exercise recommended by physiotherapists for joint and soft tissue mobility.   Fly fishing also offers participants a chance to reflect and escape in tranquil surroundings.  Casting for Recovery was founded in the United States in 1996 and has since helped almost 3,000 breast cancer survivors. 

The UK and Ireland Programme Co-ordinator is Sue Hunter, who recovered from breast cancer to become an international gold medallist fly fisher in the England Ladies team.  Sue said:  “The retreat was a huge success and we are glad that we have taken Casting for Recovery to Wales for the first time.  The participants arrived on the Friday not knowing exactly what to expect and left on Sunday having made friends for life. The setting of the beautiful Powys countryside was perfect for the tranquil weekend we planned, but when some of the ladies caught their first fish their excitement was anything but tranquil!  We hope to announce another Welsh retreat soon in order to offer many more brave ladies an idyllic weekend. ”