A group of anglers from Evesham and surrounding districts have been praised for their efforts in helping to save the Evesham Angling Festival after the devastating July flood threatened to wipe it out.

The 70 peg match length along the Town Waters and Hampton Ferry lengths suffered a huge amount of damage in the flood which peaked at around 18 feet above normal. Huge deposits of silt and debris as well as fallen trees resulted in around half of the 70 pegs being unfishable. But now, thanks to the hard working volunteers, who spent several days digging out and removing the debris, Evesham’s premier festival which attracted 42,000 visitors last year, will definitely be on over the August bank holiday weekend.

Match co-organiser and festival working group committee member Dave Harrell said: “Once the river level had gone down and I first saw the damage that the flood had left behind I really feared the worst. At least half of the swims were unfishable and there was a real possibility that the festival might not go ahead. Now, thanks to the hard work of local anglers who are passionate about the river every swim is back in use again. On behalf of everyone who is involved with the festival I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who helped get the stretch operational again. They all worked tirelessly to dig out the pegs and remove fallen trees and debris and it’s all down to them that the festival is saved.”

The angling extravaganza kicks off on Saturday August 18th with the Junior and Intermediate Championship and is followed by the Ladies Championship on Sunday August 19th and a Veterans Championship, for anglers over 60, on Wednesday August 22nd. Places for the ladies and veterans matches are still available by contacting Diana Raphael on 01386 442458.

The main finals kick off with the Shakespeare Championship, which carries a top prize of £5,000 on Saturday August 25th. On Sunday August 26th it’s the Wychavon Championship with a top prize of £2,500 and the festival comes to end on Monday August 26th with the always keenly contested 14 team Match Fishing Team Championship.
It promises to be a great final weekend as in addition to the competitions, which will have the countries top anglers competing there will be a huge tented retail village on the Crown Meadow with something to appeal to he whole family.

“The Evesham Angling Festival has been going since 1978 and every year it is getting bigger,” Dave said. “After the terrible July flood which affected so many homes and businesses along the river the town needs events like this to help things get back to normal and to bring back that special feel good factor that Evesham is renowned for. We look forward to seeing and welcoming the people who come along and support the festival every year as well as people who may never have attended before. We’ve got all sorts going on over the main weekend, including a group of qualified angling coaches who will be in attendance on the boards in front of the rowing club. Adults and children who have fished before will be shown how to do it and get the chance to try it for the first time if they wish. It’s going to be a special weekend I am certain but none of it would have been possible without the help that local anglers kindly gave.”