MEMBERS of a popular angling club are enjoying improved facilities at their fishing lake after reeling in a major funding boost from a North East development company.
The 470-member Wansbeck and Cramlington Angling Club is one of the most successful coarse fishing outfits in the country, and operates from Milkhope Lake on the Blagdon Estate near Stannington and the QE11 Country Park Lake near Ashington.
Now the Banks Group has given the club a £32,760 grant from its community fund to improve conditions and facilities at Milkhope Lake.
The money has paid for about four feet of silt to be dredged from the bottom of the lake, which will help improve fishing conditions by enhancing the oxygen levels in the water, as well as increasing its capacity.
It has also funded the cost of levelling and rebuilding of the lake’s west bank, to provide an island pier which can be accessed more easily by the club’s 70 disabled members.
Originally founded more than 30 years ago, the angling club attracts members from across Northumberland, including more than 50 junior members.
It hosts a range of competitive events and fixtures against other regional angling clubs, as well as providing somewhere for people who just want to enjoy a day’s fishing.
The Milkhope Lake was restocked last year with carp, roach, bream and tench, with a further stocking planned for the spring. Club chairman and treasurer, Brendan Heslop, said: “While we’ve always provided a popular destination for anglers from across the area, there have been problems with water and oxygen levels, and we’ve seen the silt build up over a number of years. Having it removed is going to make a huge difference to everyone who uses the lake.
“Having so many disabled people among our membership shows what an accessible sport angling is, and adding the new pier to the western side of the lake will mean that up to three wheelchair users and their helpers will be able to fish at the same time, in much more comfortable conditions.
“Making these changes has required a major investment that would have been beyond the club’s resources, and we’re extremely grateful to Banks.”