EventsThe Masonic Fishing Charity

When P16HA went Fishing with The MTSFC

In March 2024, the pupils in P16HA were delighted to receive an invitation letter from Rob Collins, the schools liaison officer  inviting them on a fishing trip to Jacklands fishing lakes. The staff promised the class that they would have a fun filled day out, providing they get all of their important school work done first! After the hard work in class was done, the date Thursday 18th April finally arrived and it was time to have some fun!

The class were elated to be out of school but apprehensive about their fishing skills! Rob Collins, the school Liaison officer put them at ease instantly. His charm, wit and incredible knowledge of fishing was an instant hit with the pupils. He even showed them his collection of bird call whistles!

We arrived at Jacklands fishing lakes to find a whopping 14 volunteers ready to spend the day with us. Rob kindly greeted us on arrival and introduced us to the whole team who were all so accommodating.

The pupils were given a goody bag which they were ecstatic with! The bags contained whistles, a poncho, wristbands, sun glasses and a bright yellow hat which was perfect for the sunny day. They all put their hats on and were briefed on the plan for the day.

Each pupil was paired up with a buddy for the day and were shown their own very own section of the lake, complete with a comfy chair and a whole set up of fishing equipment. They were ecstatic, very soon the competition started heating up – who would be the first to catch a fish, the girls or the boys!

Isabel fished with Bill Culberth, they were the first fantastic duo to catch a fish! Though it was a small fish, the lakes erupted with cheers from the girls as they were now in the lead! Isabel named the fish after her aunty, with Bill found rather amusing!

Charlotte was enjoying some peace and quiet with her partner Steve Beach when she got her first catch of the day. As she was too squeamish to touch the fish her bare hands, Steve kindly placed it on a flannel for her, what a pampered princess!

Alex got a point for the boy’s team, with his partner Mark Wilcox. Alex was delighted! Alex spent the morning chatting with Mark all about his life and hopes for the future, Mark agrees that Alex will make a great teacher one day!

William was paired with Mark Burton and they had a ‘secret trick’ up their sleeves which I cannot repeat as I am sworn to secrecy 😊. The secret trick worked as they soon got their first catch. William usually does not like to handle certain textures but with Marks reassurance, William was happy to handle the fish throw him back in “bye little fishie have a good day” he said once he threw him back in!

Keegan was paired with Neil Millar who taught Keegan all he needed to know! Keegan’s grandad was also fishing that day and Keegan was thrilled to brag that he caught a fish before his Grandad managed to! Keegan listened intently to Marks fishing advice and said he would rather be fishing with Neil than doing Maths work at school.

George was paired with Richard Warry, they had an instant bond and spent the whole morning talking about their hobbies. George was thrilled when he caught his first little perch, John helped him every step of the way.

Kayleigh was partnered with Robert Collins, they managed to catch a perch after being very patient. Kayleigh decided to call her fish ‘FISH FINGER’ which made Robert laugh. Kayleigh was so happy to see the sheep and swans and asked me to take a photo of them for her to look back on when she misses them 😊.


Lewis was paired with Jason Harvey. What are the chances of two Bristol City fans being placed together! Needless to say Lewis was thrilled with his partner for the day and BCFC was the main topic of conversation, not the fish! The most heart-warming thing to see was that despite Lewis having limited verbal communication, Jason happily chatted to Lewis for the whole day. The end of the day rolled around and Lewis showed me his AAC communication device, he had independently added ‘Jason’ to his ‘important people’ list which goes to show how much they bonded and how much it meant to Lewis. They plan to wave at each other from the stadium at Bristol Cities home games which Lewis is really excited for!

Whilst the pupils were busy catching pikes with their volunteers, Rob was busy setting up a trout fishing station! He called the pupils over one by one to catch their very first trout! Richard Ellis was on hand to assist the pupils with weighing the trout’s once they had been caught, he was very kind to the class and made them feel so at ease.

Charlotte took the longest to catch a trout but it was definitely worth the wait as she took the lead in catching the biggest trout it weighed in at a whopping 1.35kg!

Every other pupil had 1-1 time with Rob to catch a trout, he taught them all his skills and spoke to them about their hopes and dreams for the future. Each pupil was so excited to catch a trout, Julie was on hand to assist them in putting the fish into a net and they had Mags and Richard cheering them on from the other side of the lake!

We were treated to a gorgeous lunch of burgers, crisps and fresh fruit. The lunch was a hit with the pupils and not a crumb was left over! Once lunch was over, it was time to take some group photos.

Richard J Winter proudly presented all of the pupils with a beautiful framed certificate and a gold medal. The pupils all proudly showed off their medals and certificates to the headmaster Mr Senior once they arrived back at school, he was very proud of their achievement.

All the pupils had a final photo with their volunteers before we had to leave to head back to school. Each person bonded with their partners and the effort that the volunteers went to was outstanding.

A big thank you to The Masons for providing us with such a wonderful experience. The pupils and staff had a great day and we are so grateful for your time and effort.

The work you do is invaluable.

Thank you to Richard Ellis for writing the risk assessment to ensure we could attend.

Thank you to all volunteers;

Jason Harvey, Richard Warry, Mark Burton, Robert Collins, Bill Culberth, Mark Wilcox, Steve Collins, Neil Millar, John Wyatt, Howard Ford, John Wyatt Estune, Andrew Frailey Estune, Richard Ellis, Mags and a special to Robert Collins for organising the event.

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