Video and photo gallery: Christmas comes early to Lowestoft charity fishing match

Fishing for Wishes, Anglers take part in a charity fishing match dressed as Santa.
Steve Whybrow. Fishing for Wishes, Anglers take part in a charity fishing match dressed as Santa. Steve Whybrow.

Sunday, December 15, 2013
1:26 PM

Festive fishing fun descended on Lowestoft’s seafront as more than 60 anglers donned Father Christmas costumes in aid of a children’s charity.

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The small army of Santas could be seen casting their rods and catching dabs and codling along the town’s south beach by Claremont Pier on Saturday.

And as the 63 anglers reeled in their catches over the course of five hours in a fishing match they netted a perfect result for the charity Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, which grants magical wishes to children and young people aged three to 17 fighting life-threatening conditions.

Saturday’s Fishing for Wishes match saw more than £3,000 raised on the day through sponsorship and in donations from people walking along the beach and who were intrigued by the sight of so many Santas in one place who had travelled from across East Anglia and further afield to take part.

The match had been organised by Phil White, 31, and a graphic designer from Westhall, near Halesworth.

Mr White set up the charity contest because as the father of a young son, Logan, he realised the importance of Make-A-Wish Foundation UK in giving a boost to seriously ill youngsters.

And the keen angler was pleased to see that the fishing community in the region and further afield had rallied round in support of his cause, which had also raised £1,000 before Saturday through an internet appeal.

Mr White, who caught one dab during the match, said: “The whole day was fantastic. The atmosphere was brilliant and everyone was having a great time.

“Unlike other fishing matches, the actual fishing took second place and people just had fun.

“They came from Hertfordshire, Dagenham, Bury St Edmunds, Thetford, King’s Lynn and Downham Market to take part. And people walking on the beach kept asking about what we were doing it for and wanted to make donations.

“I am so chuffed by the response.”

One local angler taking part was Steve Whybrow, 54, from Pakefield and who caught four dabs and a few whiting.

He said: “It was a good day and the fishing was quite hard. But it was good to come and support Phil as he helped us in a fishing match for Help for Heroes.”

Mr White wanted to thank the businesses who had supported the fishing match by donating prizes and World of Fish for supplying the Santa costumes.

Make-A-Wish Foundation UK was set up in 1986 and aims to grant more than 1,000 wishes a year. It needs to raise £7m annually.

Anyone who wants to make a donation to Mr White’s fund-raising appeal for Make-A-Wish Foundation UK can visit www.justgiving.com/fishingforwishes

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