Anglers have raised thousands of pounds to keep a tackle shop open, weeks after it was ransacked by thieves in early July.
“I’d like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” said Alan Stephens, owner of Alcester Sports and Tackle, who – with the help of anglers across the UK – is beginning to restock and make money from the business.
The 72-year-old has been at the helm of the Warwickshire shop for 36 years, but was on the verge of closing it permanently after over £40,000 worth of gear was stolen.
It was a story that touched the hearts of anglers nationwide. Now, thanks to an online fundraising campaign coupled with cash donations, Alan is using the almost £5,000 raised to get back on his feet, and has just celebrated his best sales figures since the burglary.
“I’ve been given more than £1,000 by anglers who have come into the shop.
Cheques and letters sent in the post from fishermen from Nottingham to Bristol, and the JustGiving page set up by a family friend, raised almost £3,000.
“The support has been truly incredible and brought a tear to my eye,” Alan told Angling Times.
“I was advised to declare myself bankrupt, but the support I’ve had gave me the drive to say no.
“I’ve used savings and donations to pay for stock and ensure I can get by and make enough money to keep going.”
It’s not just anglers who have shown their support – some of the sport’s biggest tackle companies have also come to the aid of Alan as he continues to increase his profits and build up his stock.
“I got lots of new stock for the summer which was all stolen, but it obviously still needs paying for,” Alan continued.
“But companies including Maver, Preston and Seymo have been fantastic. They have extended my credit, and some have even offered me big discounts on stock.
“The whole sport has pulled together to help me out, which just goes to show what great people we have in fishing and why I’m so proud to work in this industry.”