Anglers cast off clothes for cause

Memorial fishing calendar done in memory of Chris Markillie
Memorial fishing calendar done in memory of Chris Markillie

LOCAL fishermen have got their tackle out to raise money in memory of an angling friend who died 25 years ago this week in a fishing related accident.

Eight anglers posed for a “Calendar Girls” style calendar to help boost cash raised in memory of Chris Markillie, who died when his fishing rod hit an overhead power cable.

Chris Markillie

Chris Markillie

The tragedy happened on July 9, 1986 at the garden of Mr Markillie’s home in Parson Drove. His wife, Debbie, who was six months pregnant at the time, saw her husband die.

Long-time friend Mark Bodger launched a memorial fishing match in his pal’s memory on the first anniversary and has held the event every year since.

Last year the match, which attracts up to 50 anglers, raised £900 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

But Mark was keen to do something extra this year to mark the milestone anniversary of Chris’s death and came up with the idea of a naked calendar.

“Initially there were 12 volunteers, but only eight of us turned up on the day,” explained Mark.

The photographic shoot was held at Willowcroft Fisheries in Seadyke, Murrow, which has played host to the fishing match for the past six years.

The owner, ‘Bob’ Foreman, was a school friend of Chris’ and has been a big supporter of the memorial fishing match, which this year is being held on Saturday, September 10.

Mark managed to get 24 local businesses to sponsor printing the calendar, which will go on sale at £7 this weekend at local fishing shops.

“I have managed to get sponsors to cover the whole cost of having the calendar printed, which means every penny raised will go to charity,” said Mark, who has ordered 250 to be printed initially. “I’m hoping that we will get a second print run.”

This year the money raised will be divided between the East Anglian Air Ambulance and the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre at Huntingdon.

The centre was chosen as his wife Bridget suffers from the debilitating disease and has benefited greatly from treatment there.

It costs £15 for anglers to join the charity match, which starts at 8.45am with the draw. Entrance costs include a free draw with fishing related prizes donated by local tackle shops.

Anyone interested can either turn up at Willowcroft Fisheries on the day or contact Mark on 01945-450121 or 07917-878322 for more information.