Next week is National Fishing Week with events organised all over the country to celebrate Britain’s most popular participant sport. For the first time, the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group in Westminster is organising a charity angling competition between MPs, a team from the Metropolitan Police and young people from the charity Thames21.

Thames21’s newly-named angling programme – Catch21 – works with young people all over London, many of whom were at risk of involvement with drugs and crime prior to their participation in the programme. This will be a unique opportunity for young people, MPs and the Metropolitan Police to come together to share in their love of fishing.

The charity fishing match is set to become an annual event and is sponsored by Thames Water who are donating £250 and a trophy to the winning team. All monies raised will go to Catch21 to support future angling work with young people across London.

The event is the brainchild of Reading West MP Martin Salter, who is the Chair of the APPG on Angling and Labour’s angling spokesman. Mr Salter said:

“Police officers at the House of Commons have been pestering me for ages to come up with a ‘cops versus MPs’ angling match so this year I decided we would organise something as part of National Fishing Week. We also thought it would be great to use the event to not only raise the profile of angling but to raise funds for the great work of Thames21.”

Grant Fear, Catch21 Development Coordinator, Thames21:

“Our angling programme – Catch21 – is all about getting young people involved in waterways through angling. This annual match will provide a fantastic and unique opportunity for many of the young people we work with – many of whom are previous offenders or identified as at risk of offending – to interact with members of the Met Police and Government to share their love and enthusiasm for fishing”

Richard Aylard – Director of Sustainability at Thames Water added:

“Anglers share our interest in clean water and healthy rivers, so we’re pleased to support this event and to recognise the outstanding work done by Thames 21 in encouraging the development of young anglers who care about the environment.”