South West Fishing for Life





July 15th SWFFL we hosted  a cookery day at Wimbleball lake  with celeberaty chef Ryan Riley from Life Kitchen.  He demonstrated recipes for people who have had cancer treatments and struggle with enjoying food again. It was a very enjoyable day and evryone learnt something about taste!

The Cornwall/Siblyback groups lead coach has had to retire due to his health.We ar hoping to find a replacement.



We are always looking for Level 2 coaches to help with the growing groups and volunteers to make cups of tea and chat with people. If you would like to get involved please contact  Patrick Chairman  ,  Sally fishing co-ordinator  or Gillian -secretary   Thank you..









About South West Fishing for Life


In December 2007 I read a book written by Jane and Mike Tomlinson about their battle with her cancer, and how this brave lady ran marathons raising money for breast cancer. Eventually the cancer took this incredible ladies life.


After reading the book I just happen to hear how the fishing techniques have been proved to be very beneficial to build up tissues and muscle for ladies who are suffering or recovering from breast cancer I live on the edge of Wimbleball Lake on Exmoor and thought what better place to set up a club for people who are suffering or recovering with breast cancer, not only is the fishing good but just being by water in beautiful surroundings is therapy in it self. Next step was to speak to Chris Hall the Fishery Manager for South West Lakes Trust, Chris had also heard about the benefits fishing has for recovering from breast cancer, so we started talking about how we should go about setting a club up on Wimbleball.


January 2008 Chris invited Sally Pizii to our meeting. Sally is a lady with endless energy and is a fly-fishing coach. She is registered as a Licensed Coach and holds the Salmon & Trout Association National Instructors Certificate (STANIC) as well as the Level 2 Coaching in Angling Certificate, she is  on the Register of Experienced Fly Fishing Instructors(REFFIS) We knew what we wanted to set up so a draft plan was developed 


Our 1st  venue was Wimbleball Lake on Exmoor (which is now Head office) and the South West Lakes Trust are kind enough to let us use the lake facilities i.e. lecture room in winter and a marquee for the summer months, free fishing and the use of their rods The Environment Agency generously give us licences for our club members. Sally contacted qualified coaches in the South West asking them if they would be willing to come and help on our monthly days which were going to be held on Sunday's, this is voluntary with us giving them petrol expenses.. We now needed some funds to start us off, so I had a lunch which I asked all my friends to and then charged them, I also organized a coffee morning which raised £500. Our first meeting date was fixed for the 7th April, a month into the season as we hoped the weather might be kind to us 





We drew up our aims and objectives:

  • To give anyone who has suffered from breast cancer the opportunity to learn to fly fish and in doing so, enhance their well-being and help them to develop a healthy life-long interest.
  • To offer seasonal monthly fishing sessions at South West Lakes Trust venues and long term opportunities to continue fly fishing To promote other aspects of fly fishing e.g. fly tying, 'matching the hatch'
  • To provide qualified coaches to act as guides and mentors
  • To encourage participation in fishing related events held at other South West Lakes Trust venues To encourage the enjoyment the sport can bring as well as the promoting the social friendship opportunities and benefits.
  • To encourage the families of participants to make use of the alternative facilities provide by the Trust ie. bird watching, walking, sailing

With everything set up we just needed some participants, so we had leaflets printed which promoted the club, inviting anyone who was suffering or recovering from breast cancer to fill in the form and join us at our Taster Day, all free of charge. We sent to local hospitals, leaflets to doctors surgeries and cancer care support groups. We also contacted local radio stations which all gave us talk time on air which was fantastic.


By April we had 5 ladies who were all keen to come and learn a new sport and have fun. As each application form arrived I rang the lady to have a chat and a personal contact before we met. . The Taster day went very well under Sally's supervision as lead coach. The day started at 10 am with coffee and a welcome to everyone with a short run through of the morning events.


The ladies first went for casting tuition, then down to the lake to try casting onto water and finally came back to the lecture room where there were fly tying demonstrations and a chance to make a fly. The morning came to an end at 1 p.m. with a fish barbeque, donated by local fishermen.


From April onwards we have met regularly once a month and have grown from 5-15 ladies. 3 fish were caught on one of the days, but it has not been about catching fish, it's the support and the new found friendship that brave ladies have given each other.


Our ultimate aim is to get all water boards and fisheries throughout England to set up groups so all people with or recovering from breast cancer have the opportunity to go Fishing For Life.


Our days for anyone are all free, so to cover the days expenses, i.e. coaches petrol and equipment we have successfully applied for various grants and have received donations from  people who have heard about SWFFL.. We also with the help of our volunteers, run fund-raising events. each year.


We are now able to claim
 Gift Aid


If you would like to donate to SWFFL please contact Patrick (Chairman)  


Thank you


If you would like more information or to come and see what we get up to please contact Gillian 01398 371244


Two ladies with their coach enjoying a fish from the Wheely boat, a boat designed for disabled anglers