One question that I am often asked is how did I ever get into this reporting business in the first place for contributors to the press are normally trained journalists and I certainly do not come into that category.
But first let me give you a brief history lesson on the origins of this column and for that I am indebted to Ilkley resident Bob Woodward for his late father Alan was, to my knowledge, the first to send in reports on angling to the local press.
Alan was at the time the editor of the Yorkshire Post and although he did not have a column such as we have these days he regularly contributed angling news items to his own newspaper but always under the heading 'From our correspondent' and these started to appear in the 1920s and continued for quite a few years.
The first regular weekly articles were written by the well- known angler and tackle shop owner Harry Carr under the title of 'Catch Em with Carr' and I can well remember those articles as a young lad.
When he retired, an old friend of my father, Harry Marvell, took over and he made the column much bigger by including all of the local match results as well as a regular weekly piece. But then in 1959 he decided that compiling two articles was too much for him for at that time they appeared on different days, results on a Tuesday and the main article on Friday and so he asked me if I would be interested in helping him out, seeing that I was heavily involved in the match scene. We both had a meeting with the late John Bapty who at the time was the sports editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post at the new Trinity Street offices and I agreed to compile the match results for the princely sum of a
guinea a week – 21 shillings – or in today's terms 1.10p.
At that time very few people had a telephone so what I did was get people to bring their results to the Anglers Club on a Sunday night and they were taken by the doorman, Jimmy Heselgrave, who willingly did that job for a couple of pints plus a bottle of scotch at Christmas.
My dad was the club president at the time so he collected the results and brought them home with him which then entailed a brief write up on my part and the results were then handed in at the Yorkshire Evening Post offices before 7.30am the following day and then printed in paper.
Then we lost Harry Marvell and I was asked if I would take over the column but I had to decline due to work commitments so over the next few years the columnists job was taken over by a number of people.
Firstly Ernest Merritt, then Jim Lynch and then my old mate Alan Howe who at the time was writing on angling on the old Leeds Weekly News and he did the job until his sudden death in 1994.
I again declined the job but recommended another old friend Sheffield-based full time angler, journalist Colin Dyson.
He was a brilliant writer for apart from editing a fishing magazine he also wrote columns for a couple of the national newspapers and they were both different columns, not just the one re-hashed.
A couple of times in this period I had to cover for him for he was very ill after being diagnosed with stomach cancer and I also covered for him a few times when he was recuperating, but he was constantly on the phone to me in that period for I was always stuck for a story but being the pro' that he was he could always help me out.
Sadly in 1996 we lost Colin after a long illness but boosted by the confidence he had given me I decided to give it a go myself and so for the past 15 years I have carried on the tradition and hope to do so for a good few years more but I will never forget the debt that I owe to Colin Dyson for his advice and tuition that gave me the confidence to do this job.
I know it is an old saying that time flies, but is it really over 50 years since that interview with John Bapty?