Fishing competition lands thousands for charity

Winner John Graham with his 5lb 12oz cod.
Winner John Graham with his 5lb 12oz cod.

A memorial angling contest, which marked its 10th anniversary this summer, has helped raise more than £20,000 for a palliative-care charity since starting a decade ago.

A total of 104 people embarked on 40 boats to take part in the Bob White Memorial Fishing Competition last month, helping to land £2,040, which was split, this year, between St Oswald’s Hospice and Amble RNLI.

It took the total raised for St Oswald’s to £22,296.94 over the last decade, helping the Gosforth-based charity towards its £7million annual fund-raising target.

Organisers Norma and Tony Urwin host the annual event in memory of close friend Bob White, who passed away at St Oswald’s. Before his death, Bob urged Norma to do something to support the hospice, to thank them for the care they gave him.

What started out as a one-off event has grown into a community festival, a decade on.

“The community has grown to expect it” says Norma.

“There is a great buzz about the place in the run-up to the competition. It really brings everyone together.”

This year’s winning cod weighed in at an impressive 5lb 12oz. Caught by John Graham, from Prudhoe, the catch of the day earned him £150 and the prestigious winner’s trophy.

The event and prizes are provided through donations from the community and without them the competition would not take place.

Norma added: “We are very grateful to everyone who donated prizes, money and who took part.

“The day was absolutely brilliant. It’s always hard work, all the preparation that goes into the day, and I always worry about all the boats out there, our main hope is that everyone comes home safe.

“But it is all worth it, we have such a great time on the day. We couldn’t do it without the support of the community and the local fisherman who are always there to guide me.”

Laura Elliot, fund-raiser at St Oswald’s, said: “The continued support we have received from Norma, Tony and the entire Amble community has been outstanding.

“It is lovely to see the competition growing and thriving each year. Without the generosity of everyone who took part and the dedication of people, like Norma, to their cause, we would simply be unable to raise the £7million needed to care for our patients and their families every year.”

St Oswald’s Hospice provides specialist care for North-East adults, young people and children with life-limiting conditions.

Situated in Gosforth, Newcastle, the purpose-built facilities offer a range of flexible services to families from across the North East, from Berwick in the north, to North Durham in the south.

Annual running costs now exceed £11million, of which more than £7million must be raised through voluntary giving.

No charge is made for the services provided ensuring hospice care is available to all.