Get Fishing, Ladies Day – with King William IV Angling Society

I was all ready for a tranquil day by the lake and not even the weather was going to mess it up.

Most of August was a washout. Activity days were planned only to be cancelled at the last minute. Not all of them though. Fortunately, fish like it wet.

Last Saturday was Get Fishing, Ladies Day at Boggart Hole Clough and I was booked in. The Clough is blessed with a boating lake, alas no boats, and a fishing lake, with lots of fish. The lakes sit side by side separated by a promenade and a café, aka The Lakeside Café.

My coach for the session stepped forward with a smile and introduced herself as Emma. She went through the basics of preparing the rod, showing me how to attach the bait and keep the ‘float’ in the right place ready for a curious fish to be tempted. I settled in.

There were several other participants being shown what to do nearby. The rain kept coming but no-one seemed to mind. The cafe generously kept us supplied with hot drinks and food and we sat quietly, waiting and listening to the sounds around us, chatting now and then.

It wasn’t long before there was a stir of activity as someone felt a ‘tug’ on their line. “A fish! I’ve got one.” They shouted. Coaches were ready with a net and helped bring it in. Then a quick photo shoot of the lucky angler with their ‘catch’ before it was placed gently back in the water to carry on its day.

I loved the atmosphere. It was friendly, exciting and the setting was lovely.

In the afternoon, I got the chance to chat to coach, Duncan Mottershead. I’d met him before at another event called ‘Spring into Fishing’ and asked him why do one just for ladies.

“The Society has approximately 70 members but only 5 are women” he told me. “We want to show that angling is accessible to anyone; male, female, young and old alike.”

Apparently, Emma Jenks was from the Angling Trust and had come along to help out just for the day. She was a Ladies England International.

“We have several coaches who volunteer their time and expertise. They’re fully qualified and we ensure all permits, fishing regulations, including health and safety etc., are adhered to. On Saturdays there’s always someone around to help beginners.”

I’m an avid follower of the TV programme ‘Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing’. It ticks a lot of boxes. The relationship between the two comedians is delightful; it’s interesting, funny and informative. The filming is inspired and the settings are serenely beautiful.

Boggart Hole Clough fishing lake is ‘up there’ too. I’d taken for granted how pretty it was but Duncan explained it takes a lot of careful planning, hard work and maintenance. The water is carefully monitored and, of course, the fish have to be kept stocked up and healthy.

I was impressed. I’d had a lovely morning, tried something new and would encourage anyone, including any woman, to give it a go.  The day was topped off with a goody bag, compliments of Lakeside Community CIC, full of brilliant stuff. The ladies did themselves proud.

I didn’t catch a fish, in case you were wondering. Never mind. I’ll get one next time!

To find out more about King William IV Angling Club and future events just click here. They have a juniors section on Facebook too.

The Lakeside Cafe are on Facebook. You can find out more about the Lakeside CIC by clicking here and keep up to date with what’s going on in Boggart Hole Clough.

Fishing can provide both mental and physical health benefits. The angling club supports initiatives such as Tackling Minds and Fishing for Life (for people with breast cancer) as well as many other organisations.

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A Covid jab journey

It’s a freezing cold January morning, thick fog, a demolition site next door but me and my Dad are on a mission. Newton Heath Health Centre here we come! It’s Covid vaccination time and nothing’s going to stop us.Truth be told, we were a wee bit anxious. It’s not his usual surgery so the building is unfamiliar. The road to it was blocked off but we faithfully followed the diversion signs and arrived with 5 minutes spare. Perfect!

Cheerful yellow vested volunteers looked after us from the moment we arrived, guiding us to a parking space close by and showing us where to go. Once inside our hands were sanitised and we took a place on a marker.

From there, it was a bit like being on a conveyor belt; moving smoothly from one area to the next. A recess marked for social distancing, a waiting room with seats set apart and a row of masked faces behind computers; safe and separated, checking details, signing you in.

All doors are open for a free flow of air and fewer ‘touch points’. It’s bustling but calm, everyone getting on with what they had to do.

Short wait, then a trip down the corridor into a treatment room.

Coat off and one arm stretched out. The nurse was lovely.

“Is that it?” Dad asked. “That was quick.”

The sticker with the time on wouldn’t stick to his jumper so I stuck it on the back of my hand instead. It wasn’t necessary, just a precaution; someone was carefully monitoring when it was time for each patient to leave. 15 minutes passed quickly; it would have been quiet if not for Dad. He was chuckling.

“What’s tickled you?” Don’t know why I was whispering.

“I had a shave this morning, specially. Could have a beard behind this mask and no-one would know.”

We thanked everyone we spoke to; the nurse, the guides, the clerks and the volunteers in the car park. We’d have thanked the window cleaner if he’d been there. Then back home, to get warm again.

Found out later that my neighbours, an old friend of my Dad’s and Dena, local Pride of Britain Award winner no less, had all received their vaccine at the same centre on the same day. They all felt the same, it couldn’t have gone better.

Dad’s 90. He’s lucky to be amongst the first to receive the vaccine and he’ll be followed by millions of other people, all around the world.

Given the choice he’d have wanted me to have it first. But I’ll bide my time, do my best to stay safe and wait for the call.

It’s tiny thing; a little vial of liquid and a needle so fine you can’t feel it, yet it can save your life.

I rang Dad the next morning to check he was ok. “How are you feeling?”

“Just fine.” Then he added. “No, I’m better than fine. I’ve watched on and felt helpless all year. Now I feel I’ve done my bit.”

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Lakeside Community at the Café, Boggart Hole Clough

Here we are in January. It’s been a very trying year; many have faced huge difficulties and have struggled as we all faced an uncertain situation together.

One year ago, as the newly formed Lakeside Community Interest Group, we were devastated when our plans for a gardening club, reading circle, Easter egg hunt, lakeside lap challenge and a super VE Day party had to be put on hold for the foreseeable.So, we gave our heads a wobble, looked at what we could do and here’s what we managed to achieve:

We received funding from WeLoveMcr to tackle period poverty within the M9 area, dropping bags at doorsteps, care homes, schools, doctor’s surgeries and nursing homes. We also gave out hand cream, lip balms and hand sanitiser.We were given 100 Easter Eggs from Mantra Learning and Sheridan Lifts, which we distributed to households in M9. Plus arts and craft packs to keep the children occupied during the long months while the schools were shut. As well as bird boxes, bug jars, fairy doors and nature hunt sheets.

When the national lockdown ended we received funding from the Eric Hobin Fund, Northwards Housing. We used this to fund binoculars and bird books to encourage people to come out of the house and admire the natural beauty we have on our doorstep.

White Moss Youth Club gave us over 100 pedometers that we have been giving to people so they can monitor their steps while keeping active.

Working with MCC Parks Team we got involved with the Big Boggart Clean Up. Over 50 people joined in on the litter pick, making the park even more beautiful. We followed it with a cake sale for Macmillan raising £436.

As the weather got colder we created winter packs to give out from Lakeside Café; many of the items were given to us by @HealthyMcr.Over 20 shoeboxes were dropped off in Sharston for the Manchester Shoebox Appeal in November. A box was taken to the Lalley Centre for their reverse advent calendar campaign.

Winning Hearts and Minds have gave us 20 Christmas gift bags to distribute which accompanied the 100 boxes of mince pies supplied by Iceland. White Moss Youth Club enjoyed some at their luncheon club.

Partnering with Manchester Libraries we passed on 20 Winter Library Activity Packs, crammed with essential info and activities.In December we ran an amazing Christmas Raffle. The brilliant prizes included hampers from North Manchester Fitness, Winning Hearts and Minds and a fishing membership from King William IV Anglers.

None of this would have been possible without the support, help and generosity of the local community. We’ve been overwhelmed with the positive feedback and beautiful compliments received this year.

In no particular order our huge thanks go to: North Manchester Fitness, White Moss Youth Club, Walk2Run, MCC Parks Team, We Love Mcr Charity, Eric Hobin Fund, Northwards Housing, MCC Neighbourhood Investment Fund, HealthyMcr, Winning Hearts and Minds, King William IV Angling Society, Sheridan Lifts, Mantra Learning, Iceland, Manchester Libraries. Thank you all so much from the Team at Lakeside Café. We raise you a glass to say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to a fabulous 2021.

Keep up-to-date with opening times and events at the Lakeside Café on their Facebook page, just click here. And for Lakeside CIC click here.

Boggart Hole Clough is a large park with gardens, lakes and woodland walks situated on Charlestown Road, Blackley, Manchester. There’s a visitor carpark to the right of the main entrance.

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