Friday June 19th saw Meon Springs trout fishery in Hampshire welcoming over 70 specially invited fly fishers along with their pro-celebrity captains led by Sir Ian Botham, already a noted celebrity angler with a TV series and book – “Botham on Fishing” under his belt, and Charles Jardine who is probably the pre-eminent fly fisher of his generation.  

Former Wimbledon soccer player and now ITV commentator Robbie Earle was there too, as was Gary Brooker –lead singer of 60’s group Procul Harum (Whiter Shade of Pale) and a regular guest these days in Eric Clapton’s “and friends” line-up. The long-distance travel award went to Liam Botham who had flown in especially from South Africa that morning and who after a successful cricket and rugby career cut short by injury is now a partner in a destination sporting travel company. Other notables from the fly fishing world included Neil Freeman of Angling Auctions who presided admirably over the fundraising efforts. He managed to squeeze some extra pennies out of the assembled throng despite the economy with a great line-up of donated auction items and Jeremy Lucas, a regular member of the England International fly fishing squad was also on hand providing excellent advice as a professional instructor. 

The weather was great, the fish co-operated and several thousand pounds were raised for The Children’s Trust who provide care, education, therapy and rehabilitation to children with multiple disabilities and complex health needs. The most moving part of the day was when one of their past patients described how the Trust had given him back his life after a road traffic accident in which he was left in a coma and doctors originally diagnosed he would be unable to do anything should he survive.   

TV crews were on hand from Sky Sports and Country Channel TV to cover the day so keep an eye on the listings as the footage will be broadcast soon. One of the organisers of the event, Paul Sharman, editor of fly fishing website said “It was great to finally get this day underway after all the planning that took place and we have been very pleased by the response and the interest shown by both the participants and the media. We will build on this event to make next year’s pro-celeb day even better and so we can continue sharing the essential and wonderful work of The Children’s Trust with everyone. 

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