Chelsea Pensioners Fishing Group Celebrate a Year of Angling Achievements

3rd November 2023

Last week, members of the Chelsea Pensioners Fishing Club gathered to mark the end of the season and enjoy a small awards ceremony organised by the club’s organiser, Chelsea Pensioner Peter Turner. 

Members of the Chelsea Pensioners Fishing Club at the end of year Fishing Club Awards

Every Thursday morning, this keen group of anglers head off on a fishing excursion. From Sandhurst to Kingsley in Hampshire, North Holt to Essex, the 18 Pensioners in the club make up two teams and take it in turns to fish at the different locations. It is an enjoyable and relaxing outing with a healthy amount of competition as the Pensioners are awarded at the end of the year with who caught the biggest fish and who caught the most. 

This year, the awards were presented by our Director of Health and Wellbeing, Jeremy Tuck. Chelsea Pensioners, David Lines took the prize for the largest fish caught after his catch of an impressive 10lbs carp and Ann Phipps was awarded the trophy for the most fish caught, having successfully caught over 900 fish throughout the season. 

Chelsea Pensioners Ann Phipps (left) and David Lines (right) holding their fishing club award

Ann Phipps commented that fishing is now one of her favourite things at the Royal Hospital...

I hadn't fished for over 50 years but I thought I'd try it here. It's now one of my favourite things about the Royal Hospital!

My favourite thing about the Royal Hospital is the fishing club. That was a surprise to me. I hadn't been fishing for 50 years, but I thought I'd try it. I had a lot of jokes thrown my way, but it worked out to be my most favourite and I cancel everything for fishing if I've got a chance to go on a Thursday. If there's a spare place on the other group, I'm generally first to put my name down. 

I learned fishing when I was married, and it was the old system of the rod and the reel. They use different rods nowadays. You can get everything ready before you go. It's called a rig - it looks like the rigs that you use for crab fishing but squashed and you put them on a pole or a whip. They're only three metres long and the poles are four metres long and you just elongate them and then bring them in. It's ever so good!

Having been going for over five years now, the fishing club has grown in its numbers since its establishment and the organiser of the club, Peter Turner also shared his thoughts on why he loves the activity. 

Fishing is becoming a lot more well-known for its mental and wellbeing impact. It is a great stress reliever - you can sit on the bank and relax. I was an environmental agency fishing coach, so I have fished for many years, and I love taking the group out as its different to your normal activities. Some of the Pensioners haven't fished before and I'm happy to teach them. I often end up showing them what to do more than fishing myself, but I love it!

Spending the day out in nature also means there is plenty of opportunity for the group to see different wildlife. Chelsea Pensioner and member of the fishing club, John Cole commented on some of the more uncommon wildlife he's spotted. 

I enjoy fishing and a day out in the countryside in the company of my fellow fishing enthusiasts. It’s nice for peace and quiet and for the different wildlife. I once saw what I thought was a fish swimming under the surface towards me but it turns out to be a snake – an adder! I wasn't expecting that. 

Fishing Club Awards Shield and Trophy

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