Life at sea: our blind veterans enjoy Fishing Week

23 July 2017 09:00

Fishing week ran by our Llandudno centre this year gave six of our blind veterans the chance to explore the coast of North Wales, catch a variety of fish and make new friends.


Blind veteran John Endres catching a large fish during Fishing Week
Here is John aboard the fishing boat, proudly holding just one of his successful catches!

The week started with fishing off Llandudno Victoria pier on Monday followed by fishing at Colwyn bay beach on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday was spent deep sea fishing off the coast of North wales and finally on Friday the members popped in to Rhyl Sea Aquarium to look at the endangered fish programme for the UK waters.

One blind veteran attending who had enthusiasm and passion that really stood out during the week, was John Endres. Having spent many years as a keen fly fisherman, this week was a golden opportunity for John to get back to what he loves doing most.

Speaking of the week, John says: “I found it brilliant. Our instructor, who I’ve known for years now is very very good and all the other people who were there including the captain of the boat were all brilliant and willing to help.”

Explaining more about his most memorable moments from the week, John tells us: “I caught 30 mackrel in one day as well as two dog fish. For the first time in my life I had two on the one line and that was really good. It was pure luck.

“There was a couple of veterans there who I had met before; they’re all very friendly. At night time when we got back to the Llandudno centre, we sat, had a drink together and chatted.”

Blind veteran John Endres at Fishing Week holding his rod leaning over the boat on the water

Proving age is just a number, at 88, John has a wonderfully youthful spirit and is in very good health. Despite his sight loss, John remains to be independent, doing all of his own washing and cooking for himself. As well as this, weather permitting - John goes on a two mile walk each day in his local area of Chester and enjoys gardening.

Joining the army in 1947, John served for 23 years in Egypt, Palestine, Libya, Germany, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Following this, after just a one week break John went straight into working for the National Grid where he stayed for 22 years.

John who is affected by aged related macular degeneration was registered as vision impaired in 2013. Since then, in April of this year, John has been registered as nearly blind.

Describing how he felt having lost his sight John says: ““To be honest I was really annoyed because it meant that I couldn't flight flys anymore and I couldn't even see to put my flys onto my line so I decided to stop fly fishing.”

John is still however able to go out with a friend to watch him fly fish and occasionally has a turn himself.

Losing his sight also meant John had to give up driving which he describes as the “biggest blow of his life.”

Prior to losing his sight, John’s three main hobbies included fishing, gardening and maintaining his car. Fishing was something John used to enjoy two to three times a week.

After becoming a member in November 2012 John soon had an induction and now visits our Llandudno centre for at least one week every six months and has attended a selection of activity weeks.

Describing the centre John says: “It’s like my second home, I love it. They’ve been very good to me and I know all the staff at Llandudno now. I walk in and the first thing they say is ‘Hello John, how are you?’ They make you welcome and are really helpful.”

John tells us he is now looking forward to visiting our Brighton centre in August for two weeks. Thinking about different activities to try next year, John hopes to get involved in our Wood Week.