Veterans from all walks of life are finding peace and a slower pace of life by dedicating their spare time to fishing.
Forces Radio BFBS broadcaster Hal Stewart joined military charity Fishability UK lakeside to discover how they are helping military veterans deal with physical injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
One of the men responsible for helping Fishability UK on the ground and behind the scenes is former Royal Signals man Peter Biggs who served for five years and now dedicates his time to the charity.
Peter has been instrumental in keeping Fishability UK at the forefront of rehabilitative care.
He, alongside Chairman, former Royal Engineer Roger Sharp, and others work tirelessly and for free providing events, care and a listening ear to any ex-serviceman or woman who wants to find peace by the water.
Interestingly, it’s not about the fishing; it’s all about the camaraderie as Peter explained to Hal when they were both at Fishability UK’s HQ and lakes in a secret and secure location somewhere in the South East of England.
“The bankside banter is absolutely fantastic.
"It’s the comradeship and that sense of belonging in a secure environment with people around you where you don’t actually need to discuss anything that’s happening in your life you can just get on with what you’ve come out to do.”
Chairman Roger is a trained first aider, mental health first aider and has made sure the charity is fully insured, provides first aid kit, defibrillator, safety throw lines, whistles, fire extinguishers and he along with Ian Gemson, the coach, fully risk assess every fishing trip.
Food and equipment are provided free of charge courtesy of donations for anyone attending a Fishability UK event.
Hal was fortunate to meet, several former servicemen who have benefitted from the healing effects of angling through the charity.
Daniel Bartlett spent four years with 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment while Cliff Hall served with The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment and Ross was with 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.
Hal was taken aback by the efforts of all in attendance at the lakeside.
“I arrived to find a van being loaded up with tackle for a trip out to the Czech Republic. All donated, incredible.”
Fishability UK has been extremely fortunate over the years to receive a ‘golden ticket’ to the World Carp Masters, the largest global carp fishing competition with more than 40 nations and 100 teams involved.
The ‘golden ticket’ entitles the charity to free entry, this year Ross will be a Marshall and Daniel and Cliff will be the anglers’.
They could win the top prize of £45,000 but Cliff stated if they win, there is only one thing they want to do with the money.
“We’re fishing for a charity so my heart and my head if we were to win it, It’s not ours it’s Fishability’s.”