Presented to the Annual General Meeting on 22nd January 2022

Well wasn’t it fantastic to get back on the water and the bankside following a torrid year in 2020. The relaxation of the Covid restrictions and the very common-sense approach adopted by all our event organisers and attending members meant that we were able to enjoy an almost full season of angling at an increasing range of venues

Our members were very quick to rise to the challenge with strong attendances at both weekend and midweek events rising from an average of around six members per event in 2019 to just under ten in 2021

Innovation was one of the key elements of the season, with some members targeting specimen carp on the fly in the height of summer, while others ventured north to Scotland while Ireland remained out of bounds. We were also able to renew old friendships at Brick Farm and Lakedown with new facilities at both: the former hosting our anniversary event and the latter our two Fur & Feather events this year, giving a big thank you to all our member for their continued loyalty during 2020

Your Committee is now beginning its preparations for the 2022 season, and as always we will be doing so with particular focus on the key objectives of our Society which are to:

  • promote the sport of fly fishing
  • encourage sound fly fishing practice
  • promote friendship and camaraderie among members and
  • develop and improve members skills in the art of fly fishing and fly dressing

As usual we will be hoping to offer a busy and diverse programme of bank, lough, reservoir and river fishing to provide members with the opportunity to acquire and ultimately display and pass on a wide range of angling skills. It will be particularly rewarding to see these skills being shared with new and younger members, with a high level of camaraderie and banter combined with a competitive edge, all of which ensures that we enjoy our sport with a strong dose of fun, which is the point after all!

 

Membership and Finance

Micky Heasman has continued in his dual roles as Treasurer and Membership Secretary which provides a full overview of membership data and subscriptions

His efforts as informal recruitment officer meant that membership numbers increased to a very healthy level during 2021 with 71 full members at the end of the year, 11 junior members, 2 honorary members and 1 complementary member

While Micky will be providing his own financial report and accounts to the AGM, I’m delighted to say that thanks to his sound management, the Society is in very good financial health with a strong membership and regular input from new members this year.

Your Committee is therefore pleased to confirm that Annual Subscriptions will remain at £25 for the coming season. In the meantime members are reminded that 2022 subscriptions fell due on 1st January, and membership will lapse under the terms of our Constitution if payment is not made by 14th February

 

Support for Charities

The Society’s continued support for our chosen charities is in my view an important part of our activities. It enhances our reputation considerably and displays our commitment to giving something back to others who might be less fortunate than ourselves

Unfortunately our usual fund-raising activities including Fishing for Forces days and our Annual Dinner Dance could not be held due to continuing concerns around the pandemic. However funds raised at our annual Reg Littlechild Day and the very generous contributions from our members at our two Fur & Feather events means that we have been very pleased to continue our support for the Hospice in the Weald

It is your Committee’s intention to review our charitable activities in the coming weeks so that our plans for 2022 can form part of our fixture list for the new season

 

Team Competitions

The continued reluctance to hold national competitions meant a shortened and “friendly” AMFC competition while all other national and international competitions were either cancelled or limited to some degree. Our only fully competitive outing during the season was therefore to the Grand Max Invitation Competition at Bewl in October. A rod average of 0.7 separated the men from the boys and an excellent solo effort from Peter Thomason got us to a very respectable 5th position

We can only look forward with increased anticipation to the 2022 season when we’ll be asking Richard Denney again to pit the skills of our small membership against much larger clubs in the AMFC First Division, some of whom are supported by organisations such the RAF, Army and Police while others represent major reservoirs such as Rutland, Chew and Grafham

Our thanks go again to Harry Collins who has very kindly agreed to continue his very generous support for our competition teams. His sponsorship has helped over the years to defray some of the individual expense involved in entering these national events and so ensure that we can field our strongest teams when needed

 

Ireland

It was a huge disappointment to have to cancel our annual trip to Lough Corrib in May. 2020 would have been the 30th consecutive trip that members of the Society had visited that beautiful part of the world, with Keith Nicholson and Mick Priest having attended every one! We have kept in close touch with our friends in Cornamona who are keeping safe and well but with fewer outings to O’Malley’s (!) and we very much hope to renew this highly valued part of the TWFFS year in 2021

 

Website and Newsletters

Our continued thanks go to Marc George for keeping the Society's website up to date and for making the adjustments needed as time goes by. The site continues to be a very efficient source of information about our activities and a successful way for us to book into and therefore organise our numerous events

Our Facebook page now provides a useful supplement and our regular Newsletter, expertly produced by Peter Thomason, is an excellent way of keeping members up to date on specific issues as the season goes by with a number of new members joining in the course of this year.

 

Society Competitions

The 2021 season proved to be as competitive as ever in the friendliest possible way of course. The spread of winners of trophies and championship events is as wide as in past years with 18 members picking up awards as winners or runners-up out of the positions available

The winners of our various cups and shields during the season to be presented at our AGM are therefore as follows:

  • Corrib Cup
  • Winner: Richard Denney Jnr
  • Runner up: Ian Watts
  •  
  • Dave Clark Cup
  • Winner: Gary Collins and James Dench (joint winners)
  • Runner up: n/a
  •  
  • Nigel Turner Cup
  • Winner: Keith Lawrence
  • Runner up: Ian Watts
  •  
  • Pairs Cup
  • Winners: Nick Cox & Keith Lawrence
  • Runners up: Mick Priest & Dave Crouch and John Dunmall & Russell Bell (joint runners-up)
  •  
  • Keith Lyne Fur & Feather Trophy
  • Winner: James Gardner
  • Runner up: Ian Watts
  •  
  • Chalybeate Pairs Challenge Cup
  • Winners: Keith Nicholson & Peter Thomason
  • Runners up: Andy Stoner & Jim Streeter
  •  
  • Chairmans Award
  • Marc George
  •  
  • Reg Littlechild Memorial Cup
  • Winner: Ray Burt
  • Runner up: Ian Watts
  •  
  • Championship
  • Winner: Ian Watts
  • Runner up: Russell Bell
  •  
  • Rainbow Shield
  • Winner: John Dunmall (6lb 10oz/55cm)
  •  
  • Brownie Shield
  • Winner: James Gardner (8lb 1oz)
  •  
  • Brick Farm Junior Biggest Fish Trophy
  • Winner: Cane Lawrence (5lbs 3oz)
  •  

The changes to the Championship points system continued to work successfully, with points events still evenly divided between bank and boat competitions and 2 points awarded to all members who attended, in addition to the following points for the top six places: 10; 8; 6; 5; 4; 3

To encourage attendance at all our events, your Committee continued to apply Championship points for all weekend outings in addition to those which are the subject of competition for a trophy or shield. The system has worked well and will be continued for the coming season

The increasing reluctance to kill fish meant that more of our events were decided wholly or partially on catch and release results. This worked quite well but on occasion gave rise to point sharing and in the absence of fishery scales at Bewl to a hilarious Top Gear style fish measuring episode as trout were shuffled around and a hot but friendly debate ensued

As a result your Committee will be considering the best method of resolving these issues to ensure clarity for the coming season and will announce the rules to be applied shortly

 

Your Committee

I’m pleased to report that your Committee has continued to work together extremely well in the course of the year and the high standards of organisation and commitment we’ve seen in past years have continued

As mentioned above, Micky Heasman has successfully combined his roles as Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Graham Morgan-Plumb worked very efficiently as Fixture Secretary and organised an excellent programme for 2021 (and will do for 2022). Richard Denney will continue to organise our AMFC teams, Scott Benton has built a successful Junior Section with Keith Lawrence’s help, Andy Stoner (and Suzanne!) will help us organise our social and charitable events this year and Peter Thomason as Secretary will include in his duties the monitoring of our website presence and the circulation of his excellent Newsletters

During the year we’ve been very happy to welcome Neil Osmond to our Committee. Neil has already brought his energy and commitment to our activities and his particular interest in river fishing may well bring some new ideas into our fixture list for 2022

 

In conclusion

So a very encouraging season for your Society and all its members. Perhaps the loss of opportunities to meet and compete during 2020 meant that we placed even greater value than ever to the significant benefits of our sport and the camaraderie we all enjoy so much. This in turn led to increased attendances and enthusiasm during 2021 which we hope will extend into the coming season.

Your Committee looks forward to your continued support while we make preparations for what we hope will be an excellent 2022. We feel your Society is in very good hands to do so and to continue in the future

With apologies to those who I haven’t been able to mention individually, can I extend my personal thanks to all those who have made my sixth year as Chairman of your Society a continuing pleasure. I'm pleased to say that thanks to the excellent work done by your Committee, not only has my role been made very much easier, but the Society is in excellent health, not just financially, but in terms of membership, camaraderie and reputation. We will be working hard in 2022 to make sure that this position continues

Russell Bell, Chairman · January 2022