Sunday 28th March at the Cedar Hotel in Loughborough saw the official launch of Martin James’ long-awaited ‘Dick Walker – The Legend’, a compilation of heart-warming accounts of how Walker enriched and shaped the lives of the book’s thirty-four contributors.
Some of the 34 contributors to ‘Dick Walker – The Legend’ Front row L-R: Ron Clay, Gord Burton, Tim Kidson, Bob Buteux, John Reed.
Back row L-R: Dave Wayte, Cliff Hatton, Garry Cullum, Chris Liebbrandt, Martin James, Dave White, Mark Sarul, Wayne Cryer, Dave Leech, Geoff Maynard, Tony Meers.
All those years ago during the 50s, 60s, 70s and even the 80s, young fishermen across the country, unknown to each other but commonly fired-up by Walker’s fresh thinking, wrote to Dick for advice or, maybe, to merely make contact with the man; the man who rocked the angling world by catching an outrageously large carp and naming it ‘Ravioli’. Doubtless all of them would have something to say, but just a few dozen were blessed with the opportunity to tell us their tales within the covers of Martin James’ title.
Each of these accounts is amazingly unique despite their common theme but all of them tell of Richard Walker’s influence; his openness; his warmth; his attention to detail and his commitment to leaving nobody disappointed. Invariably, letters and inquiries – over decades, remember – were answered and addressed within a day or two, often with specific advice on where to fish! This was certainly my experience when I sought to establish the pedigree of a very special rod I’d acquired in the mid-70s: I had my answer almost by return of post, beautifully hand-written and with best wishes for my future fishing.
A superb wooden fly-box for Sgt Major Tam Miller of the British Legion presented by Martin’s daughter, Sharon.
Most of the book’s contributors, including veterans Bob Buteux and Ron Clay, gathered on Sunday to hear Martin James comfortably deliver a super speech on his friendship with Dick and the motivation behind the book’s production. After introducing and praising the assistance given to him over the years by Sgt Major Tam Miller of the British Legion, Martin presented him with a superb wooden fly box – presumably complete with flies!
Tam, with PC Mark Hyde of Lancashire Constabulary, had been part of Martin’s ‘Pendle Buddies’, an organization devoted to teaching potentially wayward youngsters the art of angling. https://www.facebook.com/pendlefishingbuddies/
Martin James presents Wayne Cryer of The Little Egret Press with a cane 12-footer.
Martin went on to acknowledge the work and encouragement of his publisher, Wayne Cryer (Little Egret Press) and to present him with a fine 3-piece cane float rod. Wayne was otherwise occupied manning a carp-fishing memorabilia sales-table which proved popular with both the contributors and the good number of visitors who had come to meet them and have their books signed. You might imagine how many signatures were made this day!
Lastly, we were introduced to Martin’s best friend – his daughter, Sharon, who presented her dad with a superb, leather-bound ‘gold’ edition of Dick Walker – The Legend. Applause, ostensibly, was for Martin’s dedication in producing this tribute to The Father of Modern Angling but we were celebrating, too, his years of charitable work, fund-raising and personal generosity.
Bob Buteux and Garry Cullum discussing the merits of cane
To some contributors to this excellent compilation, Walker became a friend and now, in their later years, they are able to give us first-hand accounts of their meetings with the great man, so the book is highly recommended as a thoroughly enjoyable and nicely familiar read; if you have a place in your heart for Dick Walker, Redmire Pool and all things carpy, you’ll love it.
On behalf of all of us at the Cedar Hotel on Sunday, thanks, Martin, and thanks, Richard Stuart Walker 1918 – 1985.
The Piking Pirate, Gord Burton.
Veteran carper, Ron Clay.
Mark Sarul and Dave Leech take a break but Dave White still has one to do!
Photography: Paul Elliott.
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