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A fitting epitaph to Steve

Burton Fly Fair raises the bar again

Charles with the Parton family.
Charles with the Parton family.

By any stretch of the imagination this was a rare event. OK, we now have a plethora of shows – angling and otherwise – and some of the sense of occasion has, I would suggest, leaked away with this burgeoning reach towards both our collective interest, and let’s be frank, pocket.

The fly tying event put on by Wendy and Ray Gibson at Burton-on-Trent the other weekend was very different. Thankfully, the show has always raised the bar by being non-profit making – all monies go to charities – whilst embracing tiers that demonstrate ideas and designs that are eminently fishable and refreshingly tyer-friendly. There's no model making here … well, not much. Some spectacular trade stands, too, which are always rather too tempting.

This year was even more special, in as much as the event was very much a homage to the legacy of Steve Parton, the once king of midlands stillwater trout fishing, and a clarion cry for common sense.

My distinct honour was to host a seminar in memory of this fine man to a packed audience. Joining me in this celebration was a company of folk that new him well – Peter Gathercole, Ray Gibson, Ifor Jones – who all reminisced about the legacy and shenanigans of the great man and what he had brought to fly fishing in the fullest sense. I think everyone was moved by the fact that the entire Parton family was with us.

It was a fun and fitting epitaph to this man.

Much of the funds raised on the day have gone to the British Stroke Association at the Unit in Nottingham hospital. I for one utterly applaud Wendy and Ray’s compassion, decency and hard work, at not only staging this splendid event, but to do so in a way that truly does help others.

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