I do not know if any other association or angling club in the country has put more effort and enthusiasm into this year’s National Fishing Month than the Leeds club, but I very much doubt it.
President Stan Jeffreys, his fellow officials and even members of his own family are to be congratulated. On six successive Wednesdays in late July and August they turned out in force to instruct both newcomers and beginners to the basic rudiments of our sport.
I reported previously that all of the tackle and bait has been provided free of charge, but also everyone attending has to be fed as well – and at a cost.
Stan has worked tirelessly to obtain sponsorship from various sources and he even managed to prise a few quid from the local authority. He also negotiated a deal with Richard Thorne, the owner of Leeds Angling Centre in Armley to provide fresh bait every day such as ground bait, pellets and maggots at a reduced price. He did a similar thing to provide the food.
On the day I was there the barbecue was working full-time to provide 48 burgers and 26 hot dogs, plus cans of soft drinks. And I reckon this little lot must have cost in the region of £230.
At first the food scene was a bit tricky as the local kids soon cottoned on to what was happening and, being the school holidays, they were pocketing their lunch money that they had been given by their parents and headed off to the fishery for a freebie!
Stan realised quickly what was happening and started issuing tickets which would then be exchanged for a meal – no ticket, no grub!
Fortunately, over the first period of tuition we were blessed with decent weather and the introduction this year of celebrity coaches, such as world champions Tommy Pickering and his daughter Emma, created a lot of interest. I watched as a group of around 50 people sat enthralled as Tommy gave a talk and told a few stories of his own angling exploits. Daughter Emma will be taking the last two sessions at the end of August and these are likely to be of special interest to the many girls who have been attending.
I must admit that the amount of girls who have been turning up has been a surprise and I am told that on most occasions they outnumbered both the boys and adults. I must congratulate both the Leeds club and Stan Jeffreys and his band of willing helpers for giving up a huge chunk of their free time to promote this very successful yearly event, and long may it continue.