The new chairman of the Angling Trust has vowed to increase funding for the English national teams.
George Stephenson has taken over the position from Mike Heylin after being selected from a number of high quality applicants and has identified a number of priorities for the organisation including accelerating the growth in membership and continuing to develop the relationships with Sport England and the Environment Agency to deliver the National Angling Strategy.
But one of his main objectives is get the national teams the support he believes they deserve. “We have the best teams in the world but they don’t get anywhere near the sponsorship they should, it’s ludicrous,” he told Angling Times. “In the near future I hope to secure the arrival of major sponsors so that the teams get the funding they should.”
George, who now lives on a farm in Wiltshire which includes two miles of the River Nadder and a carp lake, has been a passionate all round angler since the age of 4, catching coarse, sea and game fish throughout the UK and around the world including a 23lb pike from the River Wye, a 32lb salmon from Iceland, a 96lb Nile Perch and a 30lb carp from the UK.
He spent 25 years in Africa running safari camps before setting up a highly successful business arranging fishing expeditions throughout the world.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: “On behalf of all the staff and volunteers, I would like to thank Mike Heylin for the immense amount of time, energy and enthusiasm he has given to the Angling Trust. His dedication to angling and fisheries over 40 years has culminated with a huge contribution to the formation and early development of our unified representative body. I am very grateful to George Stephenson for volunteering to take on this role and I am looking forward very much to working alongside him and the rest of the board to build on our success so far.”
Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon has also welcomed his appointment: “I know of George’s work and his knowledge and experience of the world of angling and fisheries will, I’m sure, be very useful to the Trust in the next stage of its development.”