Reel tribute for Mr Hardy

Left to Right: Richard Maudstay with Rona and Roy Hardy.
Left to Right: Richard Maudstay with Rona and Roy Hardy.

A commemorative reel has been produced to celebrate the life of the man who was the last direct link to the founding family of a renowned fishing tackle business.

Alnwick-based firm Hardy & Greys made the special keepsake to honour James Leighton Hardy, known as Jim, who passed away earlier this year, aged 85.

The reel, known as the JLH, bares the initials of the man who created the original piece of equipment in 1991.

In a mark of respect, two extra-special versions of the reel were presented to Mr Hardy’s son and daughter, Roy and Rona, at the company’s offices on Monday.

The reels were individually inscribed and presented by Richard Maudslay, deputy chairman of the company.

They honour the significant contribution Mr Hardy made to the firm during an association which spanned for many years and lasted right up until his death in July.

Employees who actually made the reels and had known Mr Hardy well attended the presentation.

Rona travelled up from Herefordshire for the occasion.

She said: “Roy and myself are delighted.

“We feel that they are a fitting tribute to our father.

“He would have been very appreciative of such a gesture.”

The original reel, which was created more than two decades ago, came in six sizes.

It was a big seller for the company for many years.

According to Charlie Norris, the reel designer for the company, Mr Hardy wanted a better reel than the CFO reel which the company supplied to Orvis.

He wanted it lighter, with more line capacity and a more reliable check mechanism than its competitor.

When he was provided with the development sample, Mr Hardy said ‘that’s it, my reel’ – hence the initials upon it.

The current special-edition reel is proving to be a big hit with collectors.

Only 85 of them were made, recognising the life and times of Mr Hardy, who was dedicated to the firm and fishing, as well as the Northumberland countryside.