Charity Event in aid of Breast Cancer Care


Woodlands, Thirsk, Thurs 13th April 2006



The happy band of fishing nutters who contribute or even just lurk around the website have held a few charity events in the recent past. They really excelled themselves today.


Two of the Sheffield based lads, Lee Blagden (‘Blaggers’) and John Clegg (‘Stavros’) had the notion 3 months ago to set up an event at Woodlands in aid of the charity that John’s better half works for. The two know the venue pretty well and are acquiring a growing reputation there, despite the fact that it is 70 miles from home. A message on the website got an instant response and it quickly snowballed into something beyond their hopes. 60 odd names were soon registered and official sponsor forms were  issued to all in the hope of raising a few quid for a very worthy cause.


A heady mix of England stars (past, present and future?), England ladies, some of the top match carpers in the north and TF lads and lasses arrived on the morning of the match. It quickly became clear that this was going to be something a bit special. A quick count up of the sponsor money showed an unbelievable total of over £6,000!!


A mega raffle was held , thanks to support from many of the competitors own sponsors, the venue owner and tackle companies who had heard of the event. The proceeds went to another cause close to the hearts of the competitors. One of the TF site members has just been diagnosed with leukaemia for the second time, aged 30. He has a wife and small children. We all hope the future holds something better for them.


So, what about the match?


Bright and breezy would be an optimistic summary of the weather. In fact, at the start it was already blowing a ‘hoolie’ and you just knew it was going to get worse. Long pole was out of the question so straight lead ruled the day, with a few notable exceptions it has to be said.


The 60 competitors were spread across Woodlands 5 main match lakes with very generous pegging thanks to Robin, the venue owner (who promptly donated half the peg fees to the cause and gave a weekends free fishing, including accomodation, as a raffle prize – top man!).


Word spread quickly that Tom Pickering was into fish from the off on Partridge and that the lovely Wendy Lythgoe (‘fluoro pinkie’) was catching as well on Curlew. Wendy was sporting a unique piece of head gear. To match her site name it was bright pink with long ear flaps. Seemed to have a mobile phone embedded in it – she never stopped talking to it all day. A ripple of excitement spread through the crowd (OK then, the 3 of us) when she seemed to announce that she only likes ‘big ones’. Soon turned to disappointment when we realised she wanted two large spoons of sugar in the tea we were ordered to fetch – it was that sort of day!

Wandering round the lakes it was hard to tell who was doing best. There were odd fish being caught in all the pools but TP was still catching steadily. The wind was getting progressively worse and some who had the gale in their faces struggled manfully for their spoils.


Wagtail was proving difficult to crack and four times World Champ Alan Scotthorne was having a hard time on there. Partridge and Skylark were throwing up a few better fish. On Kestrel, event organisers Lee and John were having a battle from opposite sides and Chris Gorrel manfully stuck it out on the short pole catching a string of smaller fish but included a ‘lump’ that pushed him up the final prize list.


A sprinkling of rain meant a brief retirement to the café. Hot tea, and a  tasty meat pie followed by the biggest wedge of home made cream cake you’ve ever seen went down rather well!


As we moved towards the last hour TP was probably favourite, still catching steadily but a smaller stamp of fish. Almost un-noticed on the windy bank on Partridge, local man Andy Purvis was putting together a bag of better fish in the teeth of the gale. He was being pushed by Tony Hopper at the next peg too.


All of a sudden the binoculars revealed a length of elastic streaming from the end of Steve Ringers pole at the far end of Skylark. He was fishing long but downwind and down the side. A few minutes later another one and it was game on after he’d struggled for 4 hours, as had Steve Gregory at the next peg.


By this time Wendy was catching only odd fish and her challenge for the main prizemoney seemed to be over but she’d got Curlew sewn up. It was going to be close on Kestrel between the organisers and CG. Wagtail was still proving difficult. The main contenders were on Partridge and Skylark but who was going to come out on top?



At the all out the question was, had Steve Ringer done enough in the last hour? Several more decent fish meant it was going to be close. Tom Pickering was one of the first to weigh and set the target high at 86.04. Meat on the bomb at 15/16m had done the damage for him. Further down the same bank (Sir) Dick Clegg had enjoyed himself with forty pounds, but round the corner to Mr Ringer. Close examination of the scales this time but his desparate last hour burst just fell short at 85.12.


Tony Hopper had loved it despite the wind and put his best match weight (66.00) on the scales. Star performance of the day however went to Andy Purvis. Fishing under the banner of local fishery rivals, The Oaks (Sessay), Andy had persevered in the wind and admitted to being just a tad disappointed at getting close to the magic ‘ton’. He was one fish short at 98.09 but it was a maghificent performance in the awful conditions.


Dark horse of the day was Ian Toplis (the infamous ‘Scone’). Now Ian has a fearsome reputation for fishing in windy conditions. However that reputation has nothing to do with the weather, more to his alleged curry devouring habits. Proved he can turn on the angling ability with the best of ‘em today with his 72.02 off Skylark though.


The main prizelist was never in danger from the other lakes. Wendy took Curlew as expected. Andy May squeezed a few out of Wagtail for 44lbs. On Kestrel, ‘Stavs’ (49.03) was delighted to put one over on ‘Blaggers’ (46.02) for a change. Chris Gorrel (47.03) split the pair of them – a fine showing on the pole.


So it was all over. Feeling was that the wind had spoiled it but a comment from Alan Gregory, head bailiff at the lakes, put that in perspective. He reckons that the wind had stirred the fish up and they had fed  confidently for perhaps the first time this season.


Back at HQ, the café, for the presentation and the longest list of raffle prizes I’ve ever seen. Took a while but spirits were high and it was all good fun despite the bar not being open!


All in all, a marvellous, thoroughly enjoyable day and all for two great causes. Final count up showed £6329 raised for Breast Cancer Care (

And £451 from the raffle for our unlucky friend.