Coach Spotlight

Your Instructors

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Richard Winser

Richard started fishing from the age of six, each year his family caravan holidays were timed to coincide with the start of the coarse fishing season on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire. He grew up in Hertfordshire, near to the River Mimram and could frequently be found lying prone, on several small footbridges, trying to entice a trout with a worm bated hook, during his primary school years (without much success to be honest). This fishing obsession progressed to him being a Specimen Chub Angler as a teenager and taking up fly fishing, over twenty-five years ago. Richard joined the British Army after leaving school and retired from a career within the Police Service in recent years. He is nine times, a ‘Gold Medallist’ at clay pigeon shooting and has represented the police on three previous occasions at national championship level. Over the last two decades, Richard has dedicated his time and expertise to assist fishing charities that enable disabled, special needs and terminally ill children to experience the ‘therapeutic qualities’ of angling or those that provide recuperative fishing experiences to servicemen returning from operational deployment; all alongside his wife Phillipa. Together they live near Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire with their daughter Hannah, also an accomplished fly fishing angler. He said, “I thoroughly enjoy teaching, it’s almost like you are experiencing things for the first time through another person. When they catch their first fish, you relive how you felt, undergoing the same experiences when you caught a fish for the first time.” Richard joined the Countryside Alliance Fishing for Schools team in 2019 for the Eastern Region, in his own words, “This is the best job in the world, extremely rewarding, fishing has opened up so many opportunities for me. I am extremely fortunate that fly fishing is also our family endeavour, as a family we now travel all over the UK, to many different countries and ‘far flung’ places, all in the pursuit of fishing adventures.” In closing, he added, “I would encourage anyone to give angling a try; for me fishing is about so much more than catching fish, it’s about being outside in a natural environment, challenges, a constant learning process, adrenalin, forging friendships and absorbing your surroundings”.

Not much has changed since then…

Phillipa Winser

Phillipa was first introduced to mackerel fishing at sea as a child, by her father. She started fly fishing in 2014 and quickly entered the world of competitive fly fishing and guiding for charities. In 2020, Phillipa started teaching for the Countryside Alliance Fishing for Schools Programme, and in 2022 joined them as an instructor. Aside from being a Game Angling Coach, she is IOSH Health & Safety/Risk Assessment qualified at management level, a qualified Mountain Leader and both a passionate alpine climber and ‘back country’ skier. She said, “Whoever would have predicted that I would be so thoroughly embroiled in fly fishing to this extent? I love being outdoors and the constant challenge that fly fishing presents.” “It has allowed our whole family to share and enjoy so much quality time and is a truly absorbing pastime. I feel extremely fortunate.” Phillipa, who has spent a thirty year career in the Police Service added, “My career gave me a number of transferable skills, including teaching others. It is extremely rewarding and with the necessary minimal adjustments, fly fishing allows both able bodied and disabled people to actively engage and participate on the same level.” When asked about her own highlights, she said, “I am particularly proud of the teaching Richard and I delivered with ‘remote tutorials’ during the 2020 Corona Virus Lockdown; our students were prevented from attending school, isolated for significant periods from interaction with their friends and rightly anxious about the global pandemic. We were able to engage and utilise technology with them, using fly fishing as a medium to have some great fun and achieve goals and recognised angling qualifications” Finally, she added, “I have met some fantastic friends through fly fishing, there are certainly no regrets, I only wish I had started earlier!”



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