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The Wands Dinner 2009

Faced with a command performance from at least half the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (no, not those ones) the Wandle Piscators knew just what to do on Wednesday evening: stick 2 fingers up to Swine Flu and Recession, wonder where War and the other one had got to, and sit down to celebrate another great year spent fishing and restoring the River Wandle.

After a few fortifying drinks in the bar of the Dukes’ Head in Wallington, at the top of the Wandle Valley, the party soon got underway…

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… with John Sutton from the Environment Agency, Bridget Peacock from the Riverfly Partnership, and Bella Davies from the Wandle Trust as our honoured guests.

Over prime Exmoor beef and roasted aubergine gratin, many fishy tales were exchanged…

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… before the prizegiving, with Membership Secretary Andy Perks lifting the coveted Wands Cup for catching the first of several Wandle trout on a dry fly on 19 June last year (yes, really)…

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… and the announcement of the new Species Trophy for whoever lands the widest range of Wandle fish during the next coarse-fishing season.  (Like the Wands Cup, this trophy was actually found in the river during a Wandle Trust monthly cleanup!)

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Almost everyone was a winner in the “Fiver in a Creel” raffle, with rare and glamorous prizes including a cane rod donated by Zigi, a hamper from Erica, a day at Woodford Mill thanks to Duncan…

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… and Rich Baker’s “North vs South” fly selection…

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… before Zigi stood up again to propose a popular toast to our favourite river, and Will gave his own command performance with a reprise of the Wandle talk he presented to the Flyfishers’ Club a few weeks ago:

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We were enthralled well past closing time, and staggered happily out into the South London night… already planning more dastardly ways of thwarting the Horsemen with the start of the new Wandle season!

(In-focus photos: many thanks to John O’Brien.  Artsy blurry “atmospheric” shots: no thanks to me and my little point’n’shoot…)

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