Mike Heylin has been awarded the OBE today in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to angling over many decades and in particular for his role as Chairman of the Angling Trust for the first five years of its existence as the new unified representative and national governing body for all anglers in England.
He retired as Chairman in 2013, but remains as a Director on the Board of the Angling Trust and a Committee Member of Fish Legal, which acts as the legal arm of the Angling Trust in England.
Under Mike’s chairmanship, the Angling Trust has, for the first time, united anglers of all disciplines (game, coarse and sea) into a single organisation to promote fishing in all its forms and to campaign to protect and improve fish stocks. Eleven organisations have been wound up over the past five years to form the Angling Trust, many of which had more than 100 years’ history as separate bodies. The Trust now turns over in excess of £2 million a year and, with its legal arm Fish Legal, employs 45 staff and is supported by hundreds of volunteers. It has a growing membership of 17,500 individual anglers and 1,600 angling clubs, fisheries, trade members, consultative associations and charter boats.
Mike’s roles in angling are not limited to the Angling Trust and Fish Legal; he has been the Secretary of Boxmoor & District Angling Society In Hemel Hempstead for over twenty years, secretary of the Colne Valley Fisheries Consultative for more than ten years, is Chair of Hertfordshire Angling Development, secretary of the Fish Welfare Group, secretary of the Predation Action Group, board member of the Angling Trades Association, ran the Dacorum Angling Project for disadvantaged youngsters for some years, was past membership secretary of the Specialist Anglers’ Conservation Group and secretary of the Specialist Anglers Alliance.
Mike Heylin OBE, Director of the Angling Trust, said: “I am so proud that angling has again been recognised today. I have felt humbled and honoured to be able to put something back into a sport I have loved all my life.
“As a pretty incapable angler I was fortunate enough to be able to bring other skills to the game and hopefully have made secure what I had dreamt about since the days of Peter Tombleson and the NAC: a unified voice for anglers and their fisheries. I would like to thank all those, including many no longer with us, who made what we have today possible.”
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said: “I couldn’t be more delighted that Mike has been honoured by the nation for all he has done for angling over several decades as a volunteer. He has given so much of his time to protect and improve fish and fishing and has done so with immense enthusiasm, determination and kindness that has touched thousands of anglers.
“I am very grateful to Mike for the unwavering support he has given me over the past five years, which included some tough times in the early days of the organisation, and for all the hard work he has put in to make this organisation the success that it is. He is without doubt one of the most kind and generous people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.”