07 June 2022

Our volunteers are vital to the work of the Angling Trust and to mark Volunteers Week 2022 we are presenting Volunteer Excellence Awards to those that go the extra mile. The latest recipients include volunteers helping to protect our waters from pollution, poaching and illegal fishing, and those helping to promote the sport to new audiences through our Get Fishing initiatives.

Voluntary Bailiff Service award winners:

South East:
Paul Holden

Paul joined the Voluntary Bailiff Service in February 2022 and has worked in partnership with the local Environment Agency officers and Police in the Pulborough area of West Sussex. Paul organised a training session for his club bailiff team and has supported Dave Wilkins (Regional Enforcement Support Manager, South East) on patrols in the area with the Police and EA. Since joining the VBS, Paul has consistently reported both patrols and incidents and has recorded the highest number of logged entries on the VBS website for the area.

Robin Merritt  – recipient of  The David Fletcher Memorial VBS award

Robin joined the VBS in April 2014 and has consistently reported patrols and incidents on the VBS website and supported joint patrols with the EA and Police and training events. Robin has previously been awarded a Volunteering Excellence Award for his work and his enthusiasm and professionalism in his VBS role. He is a great example of the role of a volunteer and is a worthy recipient of this year’s The David Fletcher Memorial VBS Trophy.

North East:
Carole and Dave Sanderson

Carole is a volunteer bailiff and Area Coordinator for Northumbria. A level 2 coach, she teaches school groups the art of fly fishing, fly dressing and building confidence and self-esteem of the students she works with. Carole is also a former England international fly angler and is respected within the fly-fishing world. She has been a volunteer bailiff since the beginning and has on many occasions assisted in patrols, social media events and has been a valued asset for Kevin Woodcock (Regional Enforcement Support Manager, North East). Carole recently volunteered to take part in the International Ladies Day and produced a short video that was used on the Angling Trust website to show support and is an active member of the Angling Trust’s Regional Volunteer Group assisting with marine issues in the Northumberland region. Carole’s husband Dave. Dave is a rural volunteer for Northumbria Police and with Carole’s disability he takes her to and from Angling Trust events, joins her on patrols and other occasions, and is very supportive of the Angling Trust and our work.

Ron Wood

Ron is the one of the hardest working volunteers the Angling Trust has in the North East. He has been a volunteer bailiff for less than a year but has already proven his worth, including hours on patrols covering his own club waters and joint patrols with the EA throughout the close season. Ron has offered help and guidance to numerous anglers wanting to upskill themselves fly fishing, spends hours litter picking and carrying out bankside work to improve the environment, and is constantly being praised by Angling Trust staff. Ron loves to promote the work of the Angling Trust including the Voluntary Bailiff Service, Anglers Against Pollution and the Check Clean Dry campaign.

North West:
David John Brunet

David joined VBS in April 2021. He lives in Wigan and has a passion for the ‘Wigan Flashes’ area. The Flashes consist of a group of various sized lakes, which were formed as the result of coal mining and are a legacy of the industrial revolution. They suffer from poaching issues and anti-social behaviour, and David regularly patrols them and litter picks the area for the benefit of all users. He has also liaised with the local council to get better litter bin provision. David is a keen angler with a sound knowledge of most waters in the area and regularly submits patrols and intelligence onto our secure website. David has also been of great assistance to Dave Lees, our Regional Enforcement Support Manager (North West) in approaching Wigan MBC, who manage the Flashes. We are currently working with them on a plan to better manage the fishing.

Robert Bishop

Robert joined the Voluntary Bailiff Service in March 2019 and is based in Stalybridge. He works for Ridgehill Enterprises who manage Stamford Park, a Victorian park containing a couple of lakes, the larger being a boating lake. It is a fantastic community asset and Ridgehill Angling Club control the fishing which Rob also manages. Rob is always out on the park and knows the regular users, not just the anglers. He has worked tirelessly to protect the fishing from poaching and anti-social behaviour. There is also an ongoing pollution issue which Rob has flagged up and reported dozens of times. Due to Rob’s diligence, repeat pollution incidents have been recorded on the VBS website and hopefully these pollution issues will soon be resolved with United Utilities.

East of England:
Hayley Clapperton

Throughout the time that Hayley has been a member of the Voluntary Bailiff Service following her induction in 2017, she has shown herself to be ever reliable and ever consistent in the role.  As a well-known and respected angler throughout Suffolk and one who is always willing to get involved, her elevation to VBS Area Co-ordinator was something of a foregone conclusion.  Since taking up the role, Hayley has embraced the post by engaging fully with all of her local voluntary bailiffs, the local EA Fisheries Enforcement Officer and local Police Wildlife Crime Officers, leading to an enhanced multi-agency approach to fisheries enforcement through regular and targeted joint agency patrols.  Despite her busy work life with Bait tech, this dedication to improving the enforcement picture across Suffolk as a volunteer marks Hayley Clapperton out as a vital element of VBS in the area.  Such is the trust in Hayley as VBS Area Co-ordinator, all newly inducted volunteers in Suffolk now have a period of mentorship with Hayley as part of their induction process and it is this overall dedication to the role that is recognised with this very well-deserved Volunteering Excellence Award.

Wayne Bowditch

Wayne Bowditch has been a valued member of the Voluntary Bailiff Service since his induction in 2016 and has fully embraced the role, with regular patrol reports submitted onto the secure VBS reporting portal, all of which serves to assist the EA in their statutory fisheries enforcement role.  When the position of Area Co-ordinator (AC) for his native county of Norfolk became available, Wayne readily accepted the extra responsibility of co-ordinating local volunteers, and as part of the AC role Wayne has been instrumental in fostering a very positive partnership with his local EA Fisheries Enforcement Officer and Norfolk Police Wildlife Crime Officers along with a growing number of volunteers based in the county.  This partnership-based approach has led to a programme of regular joint patrols across Norfolk, all of which serves to reassure lawful anglers whilst helping to deter those that would cheat the system.  As a respected and trusted member of the VBS, new voluntary bailiffs are referred to Wayne for a period of mentorship following their induction process and, it is this trust and longevity in a voluntary role, his willingness to put something back into his local rural community that is truly commendable and highlights Wayne as a real credit to the VBS and a worthy recipient of this award.

Midlands:
Ian R. (Leicestershire)

Ian has been a member of the Voluntary Bailiff Service for three years and has established himself as a key volunteer with the EA Fisheries Enforcement Team in the East Midlands within this time, often accompanying them on patrols. He manages a local fishery and has won praise from the local Leicester City Council for his sympathetic blend of wildlife habitats and demonstration of environmental consciousness within the venue, bringing him popular support from the public. Ian also uses a catamaran, the ‘Water Witch Buddy’ to patrol the River Soar, collect litter, carry out maintenance and deal with a range of issues, including pollution. He has mixed his fishery management role with that of a Voluntary Bailiff extremely well and takes every opportunity to promote VBS and the work of the Angling Trust through the recognition he gets for his environmental work, making him a fine local ambassador for both the Angling Trust and angling in general.

Steve Lile (Warwickshire)

Steve has been a member of the Voluntary Bailiff Service for 18 months and through his pro-activity in the role has quickly become Deputy Area coordinator in Warwickshire for the wider Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands VBS team. From the very start, Steve was committed to attending all online meetings and training opportunities and established himself as an active volunteer in North Warwickshire, reporting incidents, providing evidence and working alongside the police and the EA to tackle illegal fishing and poaching at a number of lakes and pools in the area. Steve has submitted a high number of incident reports and ensured that many of them have been made to the authorities, encouraging a positive response to the incident locations in question. He has shown a very high level of commitment to the role and has been willing to take on the responsibility of organising patrols and acting as a point of contact for many local fisheries needing advice and guidance.

Roger Simpson (Staffordshire)

Roger has been with the Voluntary Bailiff Service for five years and he is a Deputy Area Coordinator in South Staffs and the Black Country for the wider Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands team.  His performance has been consistently outstanding in all areas during this time and he is a leading contributor to VBS productivity nationally, with high levels of reporting on the VBS website, conscientious evidence gathering and recording to back up his reports and offers a first-class service to local clubs and fisheries to whom he provides good practical advice on the water-keeping role, signage, enforcement literature and guidance on how to report incidents to the EA and police. Additionally, he is an excellent mentor to new members of VBS and ensures that everyone is welcomed and engaged in activities throughout his area.  He previously received a Volunteers Excellence Award in 2018 but thoroughly deserves a second award for the  high quality of his work, his commitment to the role and the support he has given to everyone in the region.

South West:
Bob Pamplin

Bob joined the VBS when it was first set up in 2014 as part of a pilot in South East England before moving to the South West in April 2019. As well as regularly patrolling and reporting incidents in and around the Taunton area of Somerset, Bob is always the first to offer support whether this is for new volunteer bailiffs patrolling, undertaking joint patrols with the Environment Agency or offering support to training events such as with the local Police. He has recently been signed up as a bailiff by the Taunton Angling Association and will be a huge asset for them.

Gordon Curtis

Gordon joined the Voluntary Bailiff Service in March 2021 when he was already a local bailiff with the Glastonbury Manor Angling Association. As quick as a flash, Gordon got on his bike – quite literally – and  has patrolled huge areas reporting incidents of illegal fishing, anti-social behaviour and pollution. As a keen cyclist he has been able to cover huge lengths of rivers on the Somerset Levels and produces excellent reports and incident details as he witnesses what he sees.

Chris Lock

Chris joined the VBS in October 2021 and has made a huge contribution in a relatively short period undertaking patrols around much of Cornwall. Whilst a committed game angler he has embraced everything ‘coarse’ and built great links with fishery owners and anglers at many venues across the county. In recent months he has built links and supported local bailiffs at different venues run by the South West Lakes Trust and with his enthusiasm and encouragement fostered brilliant relationships. He is a huge asset and well respected by all he meets.

Building Bridges award winner:

Cristian Dobocan

Building Bridges volunteer Cristian is a very dedicated angler and team member who supports our work at every possible opportunity. His skills help to build bridges between the British and Romanian anglers, which is an essential part of the project’s work. Building Bridges manager Janusz Kansik said: “I am sure that we would never be in this place with our project if not for Cristian’s enthusiasm and the exceptional work he provides.”

Get Fishing award winners:

Steve Mottershead, Portsmouth and District Angling Club

Steve organises the junior and family days for the club each year and helps hundreds of people engage with angling.

Neil Ballard, Holm Place Farm Angling

Neil organises all the NHS days and also has been the driving force of the club offering Get Fishing For Wellbeing sesisons on a weekly basis.  Holm Place has such a unique, welcoming atmosphere and Neil deserves recognition for the work he has put in.

Nigel Jackson, Hassocks Angling Society

Nigel has been running the family taster days at the fishery for the past few years and does an excellent job at the club.

Brian Pask, Sea Angling Coach

Brian is an Angling Trust Level 2 coach who offers newcomers the opportunity to learn beach fishing in the Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne area. He receives his award for the amazing work he does in the area and his continued support of many sea angling projects across the South Coast.  Most recently, Brian has taken on the task of lead coach at the Sea Angling Classic in a voluntary role.

Roly Palmer, Exeter & District Angling Association

Roly is a real ambassador for the Get Fishing campaign and as a Level 2 coach is always on hand to support everyone and anyone into the sport. He is normally the first person I call if I need an extra coach or two in the Devon area as he is always very helpful and willing to give up his time to see the next generation start fishing. His style of delivery is fantastic as he is always focused, patient and full of laughter and banter.

Mark Thorneycroft

Mark has supported Dean Asplin, our Angling Development Manager (South), at seven large-scale Get Fishing Sea and Coarse events over the past 12 months, and can normally be found helping gather the participation data and directing the public to where they need to go. Just recently, Mark has also helped with the fishing delivery and has enjoyed supporting families to catch their very first fish.

Summerhayes Junior Angling Club

Ray Jones, Steve Jackson and Charlie Halliday do a fantastic job of running a series of six-week training camps throughout the year which see the young members’ confidence and ability really improve.

Roger Manser

Roger has been Barnet & District Angling Club’s bailiff for their Shepherds Way fishery in Brookmans Park for many years and visits the venue at least three times a week. In this voluntary role he checks anglers’ membership cards, monitors the water health, ensures aerators are run when necessary even in the early hours of the morning, organises working parties, checks on the wildlife and ensures that waterfowl nests are protected, cleans the onsite toilet and maintains power tools. The fishery is the club’s flagship venue and thanks to Roger’s dedication it always looks in tip top condition.

Richard Leamon

Richard runs the Salmon and Trout Hampshire group and runs sessions lead by volunteers on a monthly basis. As Angling Lead Coach, he organises and runs each course and has the support of other volunteers – a mixture of GAIA qualified Instructors, Level 1 and Level 2 Coaches and helpers who are experienced fly fishers.

Tony Geal

Tony has supported the rights of sea anglers for over two decades without recognition, speaking on behalf of anglers to local councils, port authorities and MPs. Tony has been heavily involved in angling representation in Sussex, always available to take part in campaigns and projects such as the Juvenile Fish Surveys at Tide Mills – a four-year survey along west Sussex beaches to gather evidence to support the prohibition of trawling in our nearshore waters. He also helps to run and organise the All Sussex Shore Championships and has been heavily involved in the annual Family Fishing Day Events in Shoreham Harbour since 2014. Tony also organises and self funds the Trident, Worthing Pier family fishing days each year, and has taken part in many litter clean days organised inside Shoreham Port, Southwick Beach and Shoreham Beach.

Paul Jackman

Under the title of Surrey and Sussex Angling Tuitions, Paul – a recently qualified Level 2 coach – has taken on the task of running lots of amazing coaching programmes all around the South East. He has linked with many clubs and tackle shops and is a true asset to the participation network.