Charity offers free fishing days to children with special needs

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The Bedfordshire branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity is offering free fishing days out to special needs schools or 
organisations in the county.

Its first event was held in September 2015, while in 2016 Masons chairman Dick Sturman and other committee members held four events.

So far this year, they have held a further four events.

The objectives of the charity are to take special needs children and young adults suffering from autism, Down’s syndrome, mental and physical disabilities as well as terminal illnesses, from the ages of 11 years and upwards for a day’s countryside experience and fishing.

The days are offered for free to participants, carers and helpers.

Mr Sturman said: “It is funded totally by the generosity of our supporters and the fund-raising events of the Bedfordshire Branch of The Masonic Fishing Charity; whose aim is to entertain and to ‘Catch the Smile’.

“The Bedfordshire Branch provides the fishing days to enable people with disabilities not only to enjoy a day’s fishing but also gain in confidence when meeting and interacting with new people, or being faced with new challenges.

“Carers and teachers are amazed at the positive effect a day with us has on children with special needs.

“All of our efforts are admirably supported by Sue of Manor Farm Fishing Ltd and Chris Rose of Greensands fishery who allow us to use their fisheries free of charge.”

Mr Sturman also thanked Ouse Valley Baits Ltd, who have agreed to supply the bait for the forthcoming events throughout the coming season, and the Provincial Grand Master Antony P. Henderson for his continued support along with all the Bedfordshire Masonic Lodges that raise funds for the charity.

The charity would be pleased to hear from any Bedfordshire-based special needs schools or organisations who would like to take part in one of the countryside and fishing experience days.

Richard Frood, secretary of the Bedfordshire branch of the charity, commented: “We would also be pleased to hear from any Bedfordshire business that would consider sponsoring a day’s fishing.”

Volunteers and fishermen, non-freemasons welcome, are also needed.

Email richardfrood@gmail.com or call 07712 542769.

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