Barry Morris set up and ran the RNC Angling Club at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford. He retired in 2019 and this Sightlines space on the Dreamstore website is a legacy of all those years of work. The most important aspect of these pages is the set of videos that provide a guide to angling for the visually impaired. Thanks Barry.
In Barry’s own words:
It is difficult to imagine that the RNC Angling Club at the Royal National College for the Blindlasted ten years. It all started with an idea that I wanted to get better at showing V.I. anglers how to fish.
I came across a charity called Dreamstore who were offering a level 2 course for free, this was what I was looking for. I applied to go on the course, and in no time at all, I was spending the weekend at Pershore College with other like-minded anglers. This gave me the enthusiasm to go for it, and I applied to Dreamstore for a small grant to buy some kit, as well as begged tackle firms and other anglers for bits and pieces.
It all started with a few sessions with students and at Mill Fishery near Hereford, and even set up a match between six students. I was on a roll, but found information about blind angling severely lacking. Using my skills as an angler and someone who had been working with visual impairments for 13 years, and created my own techniques. Tried them out, some failed and some worked. The order of the day was bite alarms, tried all sorts and settled on some cheap ones that did the job best.
Meanwhile being involved with Dreamstore and the British Disabled Angling Association, we hatched a plan to set up a help website, and RNC Angling Club website was born. Emails came pouring in from all over the country for assistance in going fishing; though it tended to be from the visually impaired anglers seeing assistance rather than from anyone wanting to assist. I gave them all the encouragement and help I could give.
Eventually we came up with the idea for the Sightlines project, as a help for carers/buddies etc. to get the skills and knowledge to take someone fishing. A day was spent filming on Mill Farm Fishery. The short films explain processes, how to best support with blind and visually impaired anglers.
This year I was presented with an unbeatable opportunity this year to retire from the College, which has meant giving up my “baby”, the RNC Angling Club. Looking back, it has been a wonderfully successful time. Although probably only 30 students at the College took part, this has given them the opportunity to carry on fishing long after their College days. Contact though the website has helped countless others.
I feel very proud to have been at the forefront of V.I. angling, probably the only coach dedicated to V.I. anglers in the UK, possibly in Europe! Hopefully someone will pick up from where I depart the scene. All this couldn’t have happened without the support of Dreamstore and the BDAA. Thank you all so much, on behalf of the anglers that in some way were touched by the Club and also personally from me.
The immediate legacy is this Sightlines section on the Dreamstore website. Even though there is no longer an actual RNC Angling Club, the lessons learned and tips picked up along the way are here for all to access and use in the future.
Tight lines, and loud bite alarms!