Twenty-four young anglers from across the UK have been recognised at the House of Commons in the Fishing for Schools Champions Awards – and Monmouth MP David Davies was on hand to congratulate Josh Wall from Mounton House School in Chepstow.
Marking its 10th anniversary this year, Fishing for Schools is an initiative run by the Countryside Alliance Foundation, the charitable arm of the Countryside Alliance.
It provides short angling courses at schools to aid the education of 12 to 18 year-olds who may not respond to traditional classroom-based learning.
Many of the youngsters who take part in Fishing for Schools have physical, learning or behavioural difficulties and are not always in mainstream education. Each school was asked to nominate one pupil whom they thought had achieved the most through the course to be their champion.
These youngsters were then commended at a special parliamentary reception on Wednesday 15 November.
Josh Wall, aged 15, was nominated for the award by his teacher Matthew Duffield.
Mr Duffield said: “The experiences Josh has had through Fishing for Schools have benefitted him greatly, in terms of both his social and emotional wellbeing and also in developing his confidence in the classroom, enabling his continued progress and development.
"Josh is, without exception, always a positive ambassador for our school and invariably leaves a very favourable impression on any visitors, staff and members of the public that he meets, both in school and when on trips or off-site activities.
“He is an inherently kind and caring individual and it is for these reasons that I feel he deserves to be recognised and put forward as our school’s champion.”
David Davies MP said: “I was delighted to attend the Fishing for Schools Champions Awards and meet Josh, who clearly flourishes when you get him outside on the water.
“He and the other young champions recognised by these awards are a tremendous example of what can be achieved and I congratulate them all.”
Fishing for Schools director Charles Jardine added: “Many of the students have had challenging school careers but fishing is a sport without barriers and seems to have struck a chord with them, offering something they can achieve and benefit from, and teaching all manner of life skills along the way.”