Angling: Looking back at the grand old days of angling

CUP OF MEMORIES: Brian Seal proudly holds his father's Welbeck Trophy.
CUP OF MEMORIES: Brian Seal proudly holds his father's Welbeck Trophy.
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Leicester angler and historian John Essex is a very old friend of mine who a few weeks ago asked for my help to fill a few gaps in his records.

You will remember that he wanted old photographs, newspaper clippings and medals from that period just after the Second World War when anglers from Leeds had a long run of success.

I had received a couple of enquiries and so a meeting was arranged at my home with John and another old clubmate Brian Seal.

Although I do speak to John quite regularly we have not actually met for some ten years and with Brian it was even longer, almost 30, although he does not live too far away at Methley.

The nephew of the late Alf Freer had also been in contact and had left his medals and some old photos but could not attend the meeting due to other commitments.

Both of my guests arrived on the dot at 10.30am with Brian loaded down with all sorts of memorabilia but the pride of place was the trophy which his father Norman collected for winning the 1953 coronation contest at Nottinghamshire’s Welbeck Lakes which I reported in a recent article.

John was extremely busy taking photographs of all of the exhibits and he has very kindly sent me a few copies, one of which is shown here of Brian proudly holding his dad’s trophy and as you can see it really is a beautiful thing.

Brian also brought some photos of the old Compton Arms squad who for a long period in the 1960s to 1980 dominated the match scene in Leeds and I will be showing you some of these in the near future.


I also gave John several scrap books of newspaper clippings, all from the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post and these dated back to just after the First World War. These took me initially quite a long time to get through and he is going to have the same problem.

I also handed over to him my treasured 1954 NFA match programme which was autographed by the late angling legend Richard Walker. I hated to do this but I do know that it has gone to a good home and will not be consigned to the dustbin when I am no longer here.

The mementos which belonged to Alf Freer, apart from photographs, also included three solid gold NFA (National Federation of Anglers) medals plus a silver one from the Festival of Britain contest which was held on the River Thames just after the war.

A couple of days later I received letters from both of my guests saying how much they had enjoyed the meeting and they promised to keep in touch.

Meanwhile, Sporting clubs and all other organisations all over the country are in for some big changes if a proposed new law by the EU ever comes to fruition which seeks to make it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of a person’s sex.

To put it in a nutshell, in language that we all understand, in the future there will be no reduced rates for women so they will have to pay the same rate, for both club membership and day permits, the full rate, the same as their male counterparts.

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