CUSTOM built fishing boats have secured the Bushyleaze Trout Fishery an award for their work to support disabled anglers.
This year’s Alan Faulkner Memorial Award from The Wheelyboat Trust was presented at the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
The Wheelyboat Trust itself is a registered charity that helps fisheries, public waters, groups and organisations acquire wheelchair accessible Wheelyboats, and has supplied 160 such craft to date.
Named after the organisation’s founder, the award aims to celebrate the game fishery that provides disabled anglers with the most outstanding service, facilities, opportunities and access.
Bushyleaze was one of six fisheries and reservoirs shortlisted and was rewarded for its effort with a prize of a 4 horsepower outboard motor, provided by the award’s sponsor, Suzuki GB.
For around 10 years the Bushyleaze Trout Fishery has operated a Wheelyboat, a specially designed boat allowing disabled anglers to fish from the water.
This boat is booked almost every day of the week and has been a great success since its first appearance at the site, introducing a number of disabled people to fishing for the first time.
These special boats resemble a small landing craft with a ramp at the front and a motor on the back to propel it through the water, providing a stable platform for disabled anglers to fish from.
Tim Small set up the Bushyleaze fishery in 1974 and introduced the Wheelyboat to the site 10 years ago.
Tim said he was absolutely thrilled to win the award and was happy to announce that he plans to purchase a second Wheelyboat for his main fishery in Lechlade around September of this year.
Discussing why he initially made the decision to get a Wheelyboat Tim said: “We’re always looking at ways we can help disabled people and everything here we make as disabled friendly as possible. And getting a boat was the icing on the cake.”
As an added draw, Tim believes that his is one of the only fisheries in the UK to allow Wheelyboat access for a ‘big fish’ experience, with trout recorded in his waters at almost 20lbs.
Tim hopes to host a fundraiser for the second boat in the coming months and thanked regular anglers for their support for previous projects.
Praising the fishery’s efforts The Wheelyboat Trust’s CEO Andy Beadsley said: “Bushyleaze Trout Fishery have shown a real dedication to ensure that anglers with disabilities are welcomed and given the same opportunity as their able bodied counterparts.”
Andy also thanked the award’s sponsor, saying: “Suzuki understand what the award hopes to achieve and their backing has helped the Alan Faulkner Memorial Award become one of the sought after titles in the angling and game fishing community.”