We are very pleased to announce that Dr Cyril Bennett, a long time supporter of our work on the River Wandle and world renowned aquatic entomologist, has accepted the committee’s invitation to become the Wandle Piscators’ next President following the sudden death of Peter Lapsley.
Cyril grew up on the other side of the Thames from Wandsworth and well remembers how awful the Wandle was in the 1960′s when the stench from the river was so bad that it was impossible to stand downwind whilst waiting for the bus.
More recently he trained the club in Riverfly Monitoring techniques following the 2007 pollution, and has advised us on the re-introduction of Mayflies and Blue Winged Olives.
Cyril pioneered riverfly monitoring in the voluntary sector and in September this year he was awarded an MBE for his services to conservation.
Our previous President Peter Lapsley, said of Cyril: “Anglers and environmentalists throughout the UK owe Cyril Bennett a great debt of gratitude, and the award of his MBE is the very least that could have been done in recognition of the extraordinary amount of voluntary thought, time and effort he has put into improving the health of Britain’s rivers.”
Earlier this year Cyril advised on and featured in the BBC’s most recent Natural History programme, The Great British Year – Spring. (You’ll catch sight of him around minutes 38:02 and 42:22 – one of the rare moments when Cyril has ever been found in front of the camera!)
Cyril’s entomological close-up photographs are legendary. Some of the finest examples are featured in the fly anglers’ essential reading: The Pocket Guide to Matching the Hatch (co-authored with Peter Lapsley in 2010).
So for the benefit of the Club, the Wandle and the health of our rivers in general, we are immensely honoured to welcome him as the new Honorary President of the Wandle Piscators!