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Son of angling legend John Wilson pays tribute to his father

PUBLISHED: 16:50 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:53 17 November 2018

Lee Wilson and his father John Wilson. John Wilson passed away early today. Pic: Lee Wilson.

Lee Wilson and his father John Wilson. John Wilson passed away early today. Pic: Lee Wilson.

The man once voted the ‘Greatest Angler of all Time’ John Wilson died in the place he loved, sitting overlooking his lake in Thailand, watching his fish, his son Lee Wilson described today.

A young John Wilson cradling his newborn son, Lee Wilson: a treasured memory now following the shock news today that John Wilson had passed away. Pic: Lee WilsonA young John Wilson cradling his newborn son, Lee Wilson: a treasured memory now following the shock news today that John Wilson had passed away. Pic: Lee Wilson

It is little, but some comfort, to Lee, 48, who spoke to the EDP today on hearing the news early this morning that his father had passed away.

John Wilson, 75, died from a cardiac arrest early today following a stroke at his lakeside home in Thailand on Sunday.

Lee said: “I only spoke to him on Sunday on Skype, and he was in good shape. But my step mum Jo told me that he was sitting looking out at his lake, looking at his fish, when he had a headache. He then went unconscious and suffered a stroke.”

Caroline Culot and John Wilson, pictured in June. Mr Wilson was interviewed as he was house-hunting, wishing to return to live in Norfolk. Pic: submitted.Caroline Culot and John Wilson, pictured in June. Mr Wilson was interviewed as he was house-hunting, wishing to return to live in Norfolk. Pic: submitted.

Mr Wilson was rushed to hospital, some way from his home in Chumphon, southern Thailand, where he was operated on to clear a blood clot from his brain. He survived this but died from an ensuing cardiac arrest.

Lee said his father had suffered some minor problems with his heart over the past year, and had thought he may need a pacemaker, but that the stroke was thought to be unconnected with this.

READ MORE: Norfolk angler John Wilson has died.

John Wilson, the larger then life man who made angling a TV phenomenon, largely thanks to his enthusiasm and his extensive knowledge of fish, had been planning to move back to Norfolk with his wife, Jo. Lee said his father had found a house to buy but had been unable to sell the Thailand lake house, which they moved to in 2013. John Wilson himself created the Thailand lake spanning four acres which he could see from lying in bed. However, he and his wife missed their six grandchildren and had wanted to return to Norfolk.

Yet, because of the difficulties in selling property in Thailand, Lee said his father had not had a single viewing of the property.

“I’ve not slept since Sunday,” said Lee. I sent my sister over to Thailand straight away but I decided to stay in Norfolk because I have a young child. I would have paid £100,000 to fly over to see my Dad and for him to say hello but once I was told he had gone, he was brain dead, I knew there was no hope.”

Lee contacted the EDP to pay tribute to his father. “My son, four, came home at the weekend and he had all these plastic fish; whales and sharks. I started telling him all the names and what they ate. My partner Emily said to Luca ‘listen to Daddy, he knows all the names,’ and I realised that’s what my Dad’s legacy is. From the age of seven, I could tell you what the fish in the sea were and what they all ate.

“Dad reached so many, many people like that.”

Lee said his father was being cremated in Thailand but that there would be a special service held in Norfolk, most probably held at the Wensum Valley Hotel near Norwich, Mr Wilson’s favourite watering hole.

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