Last year we endured storm and tempest of near biblical proportions, high winds and torrential showers testing the resilience of our competitors, who despite everything the elements threw at them remained cheerfully upbeat. For the first time in 24hr history the barbecue had to be cancelled.

 

This year we were wondering at one point whether there would be a 24hr match. Then, as government restrictions were relaxed and we were allowed once more to get out on the bank, finally preparations for 2020 could begin.

 

Inevitably there were obstacles to be surmounted: note, for instance, the absence of the word ‘social’ this year. The sale of raffle tickets, the match draw, the raffle draw, distribution of prizes and trophy presentations all had to be rethought, new Covid compliant strategies implemented.

 

For the second successive year the barbecue that brings us all together before the main event was cancelled. At midday on Saturday a rolling draw was held, with anglers then moving directly to their pegs and getting set up.

 

During Saturday afternoon temperatures peaked at 29 degrees, and, as if that were not bad enough, they soared to 32 on Sunday. As Noel Coward said, “Only mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sun”. Substitute “anglers” for the “mad dogs” – I wonder how many of us would have enjoyed a pleasure session under these conditions? Yet no one withdrew, all remained cheerfully stoic, perhaps mindful of the cause that had brought us together.

 

And, talking of that cause, I was delighted to welcome Nicola Montague, mother of Finlay, for whom we are helping to raise funds towards the cost of a sensory space in their home. Nicola brought Finlay, 4 year old Florence and infant Reece. We chatted away for a half hour  or so, and were joined by Pikersteve on a flying visit. I’m not sure how much she took in as we talked about those things that enthuse us so much about angling, but she was a good listener.

 

As Mike has reported on the fishing I shall make only this observation: the draw this year appears to have been a big factor. 23 anglers in pegs 1-30 weighed in an average 19lb or so. The average for pegs 35-57 was a remarkable 52lb. Congratulations to winner Karl for a fantastic total, and to Paula for taking the heaviest fish cup.

 

The raffle is a vital feature of the 24hr match: takings from ticket sales produce perhaps two thirds of our total for the weekend. For this to be a success we need a good selection of prizes, so I am especially grateful to all those who have given so generously this year. My marshals, Jim, Jock, Pete and Derek were joined this year by Phil Hazell: thanks for your work, the seemingly endless tea and the near constant chatter. Mickey taking apart, there is always a good exchange of angling knowledge. This year was especially enlightening, as Phil, like me, has been a lifelong sea angler.

 

Steve Mottershead and Vicky did the raffle draw: thank you for that. Dave, who helped throughout the weekend, was there to distribute the prizes with Mike. Thank you Dave.

 

Most of all, though, I have had to ask more of Mike this year than previously. In addition to his regular duties, he walked the bank, bucket in hand, selling raffle tickets to all who preferred to buy them on the day, as well as undertaking other tasks that would normally have fallen to me.

 

And finally: I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. The 24hr Carp Charity match can only happen if people sign up for it. In this difficult year we had 38 taking part – more than last year’s 36 – some regulars, some first timers. To date we have raised more than £1400. This speaks volumes for the spirit that exists within this club. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

My very best wishes to you all (and hoping for ‘normal’ weather next year)

 

Stephen Foster