Dylan Walsh, an 18-year-old pupil from Yewstock School in Sturminster Newton is celebrating after being recognised for his commitment to and enthusiasm for the Fishing 4 Schools Project.

Dylan was amongst 28 young people from around the country who were invited to an awards ceremony at The House of Commons on Monday, October 27. He was presented with a certificate and medal by Kate Hoey, Countryside Alliance Chairman and Charles Jardine, Director of the Fishing 4 Schools programme. Yewstock School is a day community school for children with learning difficulties. They are one of 40 schools participating in the Fishing 4 Schools Scheme, run by the Countryside Alliance Foundation. The aim of the angling course is to provide a kinaesthetic learning opportunity for 14-18 year olds, which contributes to a Certificate of Personal Effectiveness qualification. Each school had to nominate a ‘champion’, who they believed had gained the most from the programme in the past year. Dylan was nominated by his teacher, Mr Roberts who said: “Dylan was the obvious choice. He was always so focused during the sessions and persistently nagged me as to when the next one was planned for. Although Dylan is disabled and faces considerable physical challenges, fishing is still a sport he can access, with almost total independence.”

Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, who attended the awards, said: “I am delighted these youngsters have been introduced to a sport which positive influences the rural economy and environment.” Charles Jardine added: “I have witnessed even the most introverted child come alive on the water.”

Dylan said: “I always enjoy putting the maggots onto the hook and one clear highlight was catching my 2lb carp.”