TRIBUTES are being paid to former National Champion and England international Percy Anderson following his death on March 3 at the age of 75.

A stalwart of Cambridge Fish Preservation and Angling Society, Percy’s became a household name in the 1970s through a weekly Angling Times column plus countless big match victories at venues far and wide.

Chomping on his trademark cigar, he was crowned National Champion in 1974 with a 30lb-plus bag of bream from the River Welland.

It was a far cry from his childhood when he took up the sport brandishing a willow stick, a length of cat gut and a bent pin baited with dough. After being taken under the wing of top Cambridge angler Bob Parr, he rose through the ranks to eventually represent his country.

Percy, a father of two, also played professional football for West Bromwich Albion, Stockport County and Cambridge United, and was a county level player in outdoor and indoor bowls, snooker, pool and table tennis.

For more than three decades – right up until last summer – he ran junior matches and summer school holiday teach-ins on his beloved River Cam, and in November 2005 he published ‘The Complete Angler – A tribute To Ivan Marks’ with all proceeds going to Papworth Hospital where his great friend Ivan, who died in 2004, had a heart transplant.

Angling journalist Tom Legge, who was Percy’s ghost writer for the Ivan Marks book project, said: “Percy was an angling giant with a personality to match. The sheer number of kids he inspired over so many years defies belief, and his passing leaves the whole sport poorer.”