At their recent AGM and ‘Building A Brighter Future’ Angling Conference, the Angling Trust have announced the support of their latest ambassador Lisa Wilson, the daughter of the late John Wilson MBE.
Lisa, a full time Social Worker and mother of four, recently founded the John Wilson Fishing Enterprise – combining her expertise as a highly qualified Social Worker with her passion to continue her father’s work in bringing fishing to thousands of people, growing a lasting legacy for the man who inspired so many to get out there and go fishing.
Lisa gave an exclusive talk about the John Wilson Fishing Enterprise to a packed conference at Barston Lakes with many club officials, fishery owners, trade representatives and Angling Trust Ambassadors present.
The John Wilson Fishing Enterprise will initially focus on bringing fishing and outdoor activities to children and young adults under the social care umbrella. Using her expertise, Lisa’s approach will incorporate the social and behavioural skills needed to help these children in their continued development.
Lisa explained at the conference: “The John Wilson Fishing Enterprise will provide fishing opportunities that will give disadvantaged children and young adults the chance to connect with the outdoors and provide therapy through the art of fishing, as well as the additional option of Bushcraft activity.
“There are so many ways that fishing can have a huge impact here. Interaction with coaches and other angling participants can help improve communication as well as the chance to learn through practical experience – not to mention the ultimate reward of landing a fish. The John Wilson Fishing Enterprise will provide opportunities and a different approach that wouldn’t have previously been available to children who need it most.”
The John Wilson Fishing Enterprise will initially focus on the East Anglia region, working with local authorities and government organisations. However, Lisa has a vision to not only increase this to a national scale in the future, but also to extend these fishing opportunities to even more groups.
Lisa added: “I’m passionate about growing the John Wilson Fishing Enterprise and in the future I would like to see this running nationally, making this a part of social care for more young children. I also see this as beneficial to others such as adults with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as vulnerable people who are often isolated and lonely but still able to take part in an activity like fishing.”
Lisa accepted an invitation to become an Angling Trust Ambassador after receiving support from Dilip Sarkar, National Enforcement Manager, and Clive Copeland, Head of Participation for the Angling Trust, who were key in getting Lisa through the initial stages of planning and setting up the enterprise.
Lisa commented: “Dilip and Clive have been instrumental in getting me started on a passion that is so close to my heart. I am excited to be an Angling Trust Ambassador, my father was a keen conservationist and would have massively supported the work that is being done by the Fishery Enforcement Support Service, Volunteer Bailiffs and Building Bridges teams in keeping our fish safe from illegal fishing and theft. I also know that my father would have been hugely supportive of the huge amounts of work the Angling Trust do in getting more people into fishing as well as using angling as a force for good.”
Lisa recently attended the final Fishery Enforcement Workshop in 2019, which are run across six regions in England each year by the Angling Trust. These workshops, funded by English freshwater fishing licence income, are free to attend and an essential part of ensuring that anglers understand the law and enforcement in relation to illegal fishing and fish theft.
Lisa commented on the workshops: “John had a thirst to learn about everything he did. He loved to pass on knowledge and was passionate about educating as many people as possible about fishing. These workshops are vital in making more people aware of the law around fishery enforcement and to ensure that we all can play a role in protecting fish and fishing for the future.”
Dilip Sarkar MBE, National Enforcement Manager for the Angling Trust commented:
“Nothing before or since has raised awareness of and popularised angling as much as the late John Wilson MBE’s long-running TV series ‘Go Fishing’. John’s passion, which underpinned the programme, inspired generations of anglers. Having retired abroad, John’s sudden passing in 2018 was an immeasurable loss to angling. We are incredibly pleased to welcome John’s daughter Lisa, aboard the Angling Trust as an Ambassador, something I know John would have wholeheartedly approved of.”
Clive Copeland, Head of Participation for the Angling Trust added:
“I can see no more fitting tribute to Lisa’s father, the late John Wilson MBE, than using fishing as a force for good, something that John was very passionate about. We are extremely proud to have Lisa on board as an ambassador. Her work in establishing the John Wilson Fishing Enterprise to use fishing as a positive influence in society will not only bring more people into fishing but is set to have a huge impact for thousands of people in the future. We know from our experience with programmes such as iCARP, an angling project used to help treat PTSD in military veterans, that the benefits are huge and this is a much-needed approach.”
Jamie Cook, incoming Chief Executive for the Angling Trust and Fish Legal added:
“Angling is the gateway to the outdoors and can provide young people with so many skills and opportunities both on and off the bank. John was a huge influence on thousands of anglers including myself as I grew up. Lisa’s approach here is a fantastic legacy for John and I am hugely appreciative to Lisa for her work in this much needed area.”
Lisa is due to launch the John Wilson Fishing Enterprise in January 2020.