Club history

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Section 1

The First Twenty Five Years.

Compiled by Norman Shippey, Hon.Secretary 1987-2000

Disclaimer: With a record of this nature encompassing twenty five years it is inevitable that certain names and events are overlooked or forgotten. Where this has occurred please accept my apologies as any omissions are totally unintended. Norman Shippey.


Club President Norman Shippey

Past Club President Norman Shippey

On the 5th April 1976 thirteen prospective members met at Comberton Village College in an inaugural meeting to launch a fly fishing club. And so, as a result of a series of flytying classes by Les Beecroft at CVC during the winter of 1975/76, Invicta was born. It so happened that a further course by Les the following autumn produced another enthusiastic batch of would-be members and the Club was well and truly established.

The thirteen in attendance at that first meeting were Arthur Gavins, David Jones, Simon Harris, Peter Yorke, Stuart Ferguson, Ivan Wilmore, Jack de Leiros, Ken Lynch, John Askham, Steven Burrell, Allan Wyatt, Fred Halsey and Peter Rogers (junior).

A rudimentary set of rules were adopted at this meeting and Officers and Committee elected comprising Arthur Gavins as Chairman, David Jones as Secretary and Jim Rogers as Treasurer with a further four taking Committee places. Tenure of the Chairmanship was short lived however with Arthur Gavins taking up a new appointment in Leeds and Ken Lynch stepping into the breech. Annual subscriptions were set at £2.50.

By the commencement of the first winter programme in September the membership had been augmented by further additions from both the flytying classes of 1975/76 and 1976/77. Early applications from the second series of classes included Colin Brett, Bill Crouch, Richard Carr, Brian Curtis, Jack Morris (formally employed by Gallyons of Cambridge with Les Beecroft) and Norman Shippey.

By the time of the first Annual General Meeting in April 1976 Club membership would be approaching twenty five.

Right from the start it was intended that Invicta should be an active organization providing year round interest for its members. It should be borne in mind at this point that Grafham and Pitsford Waters were the nearest and only available large stillwaters and these observed a close season from 29th October to 1st May approximately. It was, therefore, a priority aim of the newly elected Committee to provide a comprehensive programme of activities during both the open and closed periods of each year.

A glance through the first couple of Newsletters confirm the basis of what we have now come to expect from the Club programme. Bank fishing trips to Grafham and Elinor in June and then into an impressive winter programme of one evening each month September to April inclusive. The programme comprised an Open Evening, Fly Fishing in East Africa by Ken Lynch, Reservoir Trout Fishing by Arthur Cove, Salmon and Grayling Fishing by Reg Reghyni, a video evening on the Big Mouth Bass, Traditional Methods of Fly fishing by David Jones, Paul Sibbons and friends on Trolling, a Fly Tying evening and Fly Casting from Don Neish. The first Newsletter appeared on the 2nd June 1976. Reg was acting as fishing consultant to Bruce & Walker of Huntingdon at that point.


The next AGM in April 1977 saw the re-election of the existing Officers. Chairman: Ken Lynch, Secretary: David Jones, Treasurer: Jim Rogers and a Committee of two.

It was decided at this meeting to hold the next Club meeting at the Conservative Club in Cottenham, an introduction being offered by Pete Yorke, in order to evaluate its advantages over Comberton Village College which had proved restrictive due to a closing time of nine thirty pm and no bar facilities and annual subscriptions were increased to œ3.50. The first club dinner was held in Owen Webb House, the old Farmers’ Club in Gonville Place, in December of 1977.

With the demise of Gallyons Fishing and Shooting shop in Bridge Street, Cambridge a new shop under the management of Les Beecroft opened in Cherryhinton Road. Speculation was also rife at this time with the impending opening of Empingham Reservoir, almost immediately to be renamed Rutland Water. A party of a dozen or more members visited the new reservoir on the 19th June 1977 for a bank fishing match.

Following the first speculative meeting in Cottenham the Conservative Club was adopted as our regular venue with meetings scheduled for the second Wednesday of each month throughout the winter. It was agreed at this time, on the recommendation of founder member Simon Harris, to affiliate the Club to the Anglers’ Co-operative Association, later to become the Anglers’ Conservation Association.


The AGM, now in Cottenham, in April 1978 was attended by twelve members. Annual subscriptions were to remain at £3.50 and it was decided to increase monthly meetings to two. Due to room availability the extra meeting would be on the fourth Thursday and would include aspects of the sport such as flytying and much fishing talk. At this time informal meetings continued to be held on the second Wednesday throughout the summer months. Having received an invitation to attend a meeting of the Federation of Midland Fly Fishers, the Committee decided to affiliate to this body as this allowed Club members a voice in the running of flyfishing affairs on a national basis. Colin Brett became our first delegate to FMFF. Once again it was decided to return to Owen Webb House for the annual dinner in November or December 1978.

For 1978/79 elected Officers were Chairman: Ken Lynch, Secretary: David Jones, Treasurer: Norman Shippey and the Committee was increased to three. The first Club trophy, a shield for the heaviest trout from a public day ticket water, was presented by Les Beecroft. (Beecroft Shield)


By the time of the AGM in April 1979 membership had increased to over forty. It was decided to increase the number of Officers with the addition of a President. This position was filled by Bill Crouch who promptly donated a cup, later to be designated the President’s Cup, to be awarded for the heaviest bag on a designated Club boat trip. Club funds had increased to œ106.00 over the previous year when the figure was a little over £81.00. Subscriptions again remained unchanged at £3.50.

The winter programme during the past months had included Arthur Cove, Steve Parton and Hector Woolnough. Prior to this our summer programme included a first visit to Church Hill Farm near Buckingham.

The elected Officers for 1979/80 were President: Bill Crouch, Chairman: Ken Lynch, Secretary: David Jones, Treasurer: Norman Shippey and three members of Committee.


1980 saw an increase of subscriptions to £4.00. The winter programme included visits by Alan Bramley, Managing Director of Partridge, Bob Church and Brian Furzer. The dinner was again held at Owen Webb House for the princely sum of £7.00 per person.

Elected Officers for 1980/81 were President: Bill Crouch, Chairman: Ken Lynch, Secretary: David Jones, Treasurer: Norman Shippey plus an increase in the Committee to four.


Disturbing news came from FMFF during 1981 of the proposal by Anglian Water to lease out the fishing on Grafham, Rutland, Pitsford, Toft Newton and Ravensthorpe. Twelve of the fourteen member clubs of the Federation, including Invicta, opposed this proposal. This was the first, but not the last time, that this subject would raise its head with fairly disastrous consequences.

Speakers for the 1981/82 winter programme included a visit by Davy Wotten and, with the departure of Mr. and Mrs. Mole from the kitchen of Owen Webb House, the annual dinner was held at the Twenty Pence Inn at Wilburton. This turned out to be something of a disaster on account of there being two groups being catered for and, with an ear splitting band playing non-stop, presentation of the trophies and the speeches had to be conducted in the public bar.

In April of 1981 the AGM re-elected the outgoing Officers and Committee from 1980 for a second term and would serve until April 1982.


1982/83 witnessed such notorieties as Ernest Campbell-Black, Tom Saville and Stanley Woodrow pay visits to the Club. Tom Saville was one of the first to popularise the use of fluorescent materials in fly tying and his innovative approach continues to this day, as does the company under his name albeit under different owners. The summer of 1982 also marked first time Club visits to Ringstead Grange and Farmoor near Oxford.

This year also marked a change of venue for the annual dinner. The Club moved up the social scale somewhat with a move to Jesus College. This proved to be a popular choice which was maintained for the next eight years.

The first Benson & Hedges competition was also launched this year. An Invicta team of volunteers was quickly formed to fish the match at Rutland with the result being a fourth place overall. The team consisted of John Reynolds, Invicta best rod and third placed overall, Ian Baldock, Eddie Bewley, Jim Donnelly, Simon Dettmer and Ray Holdgate.

John, Eddie, Jim and Simon also entered the initial England eliminators and all progressed to the Midland area finals. Sadly all were eliminated at this stage.


The 1983 AGM was noted for the extensive changes on the Committee. The Officers elected were President: John Reynolds, Chairman: Jim Donnelly, Treasurer: Bill Wilson, Secretary: David Jones with four members on the Committee.

At this time membership had dropped from a high of around forty to only twenty five.


There was an unfortunate lapse in the recording of events for 1984

The Invicta team achieved third place in the final of the Benson & Hedges competition in 1984. The successful team was John Reynolds, Jim Donnelly, Henry Lowe, Dave Barker, Eddie Bewley and Ian Baldock. We had by this time acquired a team manager whose duties were to be performed by Ray Holdgate. In view of the team’s success in 1984 the same formation was retained for 1985.


It was decided at around this time that the Club should have some form of recognition in the form of a cloth badge. These were designed and purchased and remain the same to the present day. At a later date, and on the initiative of John Reynolds, metal lapel badges were also introduced but these have been re-designed more recently.

The previous winter programme had welcomed the first of several visits to the Club by Chris Elliot from Thrapston. This visit was the result of Colin Brett capturing a pike in excess of twenty pounds which Colin decided to have set up after the fish, unfortunately, expired before it could be relocated to another water.

First time Club trips were arranged in 1985 to Eyebrook Reservoir, Hanningfield, Queen Mother at Datchet within the flight path of London Heathrow and Swanscombe Farm. This last venue had been acquired by Club member, Ken Gash, and his wife when ill health forced them to give up their general store in Comberton.

The Benson & Hedges team maintained their winning ways to finish second for a place in the Regional final. This was almost the end of the story though as the team could only manage a ninth place when the Regional Final was held at Rutland Water.


John Reynolds had proceeded through the eliminators into the English National Final with the result that he fished for England on Lough Conn in 1986.

The new Pilgrimage group started officially in May 1986 at Chew. In the early 1980s an angler named Mike Dawnay moved from Wales to Cambridge and joined Invicta. He set up a tackle shop ‘CAST’ (Cambridge Angling Specialist Tackle) in Milton Road. He became friendly with Invicta member John Reynolds via the International scene. In 1984 he moved back to Wales and joined the Llanilar Angling Club in Aberystwyth. By 1985 John & Mike and several other Welsh anglers (Tony & Peter Bevan, John Roberts and George James) were great friends and fished a social day at Grafham on 24th September. Such a great day was had that it was decided the Llanilar and Invicta should meet annually and so the Pilgrimage was inaugurated in 1986.

AWA had decided at this time to defer a decision on privatising the reservoirs for at least another year.

INVICTA Officers had remained unchanged since the AGM of 1983 and were re-elected for 1985/86 with a Committee of four to assist.

In April of 1986 the Club was introduced to a new venue for winter meetings. Alan Taylor and Graden Smith arranged the use of the employees Common room at the Plant Breeding Institute in Trumpington. This venue continued to be our home for the next thirteen years during which under three owners our meeting rooms were demolished under redevelopement projects on two occasions, our last resting place being a rather grand Porta-cabin.

The Benson & Hedges team was eliminated in the early Round at Rutland this year.

This year also saw a change of Treasurer and it was subsequently decided to move the AGM date to October to facilitate more conveniently the financial affairs of the Club.

A loss of £33.00 had been incurred since the last AGM so it was agreed to increase subscriptions to £7.00. This loss was, however, not of unreasonable proportions as the turnover for the past year had amounted to £1742.00.

The Officers elected to serve for 1986/87 were President: John Reynolds, Chairman: Jim Donnelly, Secretary: David Jones, Treasurer: Graden Smith and a Committee of four.


Following a visit by Dr. Ron Broughton of the Grayling Society as part of the winter programme the Club was invited to fish a two mile stretch of the River Hodder in Lancashire in February of 1987.

Two Invicta members, Mike Ball and Dave Barker both won places in the England squad for 1988 and the World Wet Fly Championship in Ireland was won by Invicta members Ian Baldock, Peter Thomas and Ray Holdgate entered as the Green Peters.

The year also witnessed the end of an era with the decision of David Jones, founder member and Club Secretary for the first eleven and a half years of the Club’s existence, to stand down. This as a result of the demands of a growing family and work commitments. With the prospect of the Club having to operate without the services of an elected Secretary Norman Shippey offered to stand stating that he had no secretarial experience, couldn’t type and could only offer enthusiasm and a willingness to learn ‘on the job’. At the AGM in October Officers elected for 1987/88 were President: John Reynolds, Chairman: Jim Donnelly, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith and a Committee of four.

David Jones was awarded the status of Life Membership of the Club in recognition of services rendered over his long term of office.

In his first Newsletter following his election the new Secretary declared his belief that communication was key to all aspects of club activities. Publication had, at best, been sporadic up to this point and efforts to maintain something of the order of bi-monthly editions would be the target for the future.


Early in 1988 a Special General Meeting was arranged to consider a formula to decide the make-up of the Benson & Hedges team for the future. In recent years the decision had been in the hands of a team manager which had been the target of much criticism on the grounds of favouritism.

Had this issue not been addressed so effectively and formally, as a result of the Special meeting, there had been a real danger of a serious split within the club. It was subsequently agreed by the Meeting that, with effect from the next AGM, the B & H team would be selected by a process of two eliminating matches on local reservoirs.

It was thought necessary at this time that a root and branch overhaul of the Club Constitution and Rules was required. Over the next several months the Committee, under the guidance of the Chairman, Jim Donnelly, were to spend much time to this end and the revised version was presented and accepted at the 1988 AGM.

The winter programme included Arthur Cove, Viv Church and Chris Ogborne. The latter subsequently cancelled ‘for business reasons’, was rebooked and failed to appear again.

The Benson & Hedges team achieved some success this year in taking second place and a cheque for £100.00 in the regional final. However, this was almost the end of the story as elimination was waiting in the next round.

The AGM in October elected Officers to serve for 1988/89. President: John Reynolds, Chairman: Jim Donnelly, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith and a Committee of four.


In 1988 it had been decided, after some indifferent service at Jesus College, to seek a new venue for the annual dinner. The Secretary made a provisional booking at St.John’s College on receiving details of pricing and menu. On meeting the Catering Manager however the Secretary found that the anticipated and stated costing were at odds. The Manager was working to an updated pricing list and, in spite of the Secretary’s objections, refused to recognize the price list as supplied. It was fortunate that at the next Club meeting it became apparent that Peter Harman was Catering Manager at Girton College so an immediate decision was made to transfer to that establishment. Arrangements were made for the dinner to take place in January 1989 and Girton was to remain as our venue for the next eight years.

In accordance with the revised Rules the B & H team was selected by a two venue elimination process for 1989.

The Club received an invitation in 1989 to attend a meeting in London to discuss setting up an interclub league. The meeting took place on 20th January 1989 and the idea was accepted in principal although there was some concern over the term ‘league’. Representatives from five founder clubs attended, these being Bewl FFC, East Midlands FA, Bristol FFA, Rutland FFC and INVICTA. A further meeting was arranges and agreement reached on the aims and constitution of the new organization which was to become the Association of Major Clubs. Little publicity was afforded to this initiative at the time or for several years thereafter, this was suspected to be due to vested interests as the rules were specifically designed to exclude so-called clubs formed by teams of six experienced anglers coming together just to win competitions.

INVICTA received an invitation to take part in a charity fly fishing day to be held at Chew Valley Lake in July of 1989 organized by the Lord’s Taverners in association with Kamasan. Thirty clubs were represented, each being allocated one or more celebrities for the day. In our case these turned out to be Phil Bainbridge and Kevin Curran, both members of the Gloucestershire cricket team. £16,000.00 was raised on the day to buy a mini-bus for disabled children, the Invicta contribution amounting to over £300.00. Our representatives were Steve Middleton, Terry Stannard, Henry Lowe, Jim Donnelly and Norman Shippey. MC for the day and spokesman for the Lord’s Taverners was Lesley Crowther.

Henry Lowe had once again qualified for inclusion in the England squad for the following series.

Officers elected at the 1989 AGM for the subsequent year were:- President: Jim Donnelly, Chairman: John Rolph, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith and, as agreed in the updated Rules accepted the previous year, five Committee members.

The Treasurer had proposed an increase from £7.00 to £8.00 but a lengthy discussion resulted in a further proposal of a more adequate rise to £10.00. These proposals were duly put to the vote with a clear majority for the increase to £10.00.


Representation of the Club at the well established Fenland Country Fair at Quy to the east of Cambridge was launched in 1990. A festival of country sports and pastimes seemed an ideal place to gain publicity for Invicta FFC. A stand was devised containing much relevant information on both the Club and flyfishing in general was displayed with maps and ‘photos of venues and members, a presence continuing to the present day.

Having supported occasional charitable events in the past through our angling activities such as Lord’s Taverners and the Sue Ryder Homes it was decided to continue on a club basis. The unit chosen was attached to Addenbrookes hospital and supported victims of head injuries and was known as Action for Dysphasic Adults. It aims were to support victims and their families through the traumatic effects of losing the ability to co-ordinate thought and speech due to these type of injuries.

This initiative proved successful with a substantial sum being raised so it was decided to adopt a good cause on an annual basis. The result of this decision culminated in several years of fund raising for such projects as Riding for the Disabled and the Manderson Trust which set out to provide angling facilities for wheelchair bound fishermen.

The winter programme that year had an educational bias with visits by Dr Peter Shelton, a zoologist and keen flyfisherman, of Leicester University on ‘Vision in Trout’, Dr Dick Stephen, a physicist also from Leicester, on ‘Nylon, Knots and Things’, Marcus Warwick on Rod Building and Mike Sugg, a professional fly dresser who collects and prepares his own materials.

In 1990 Andy Linwood qualified for the England squad and Ron Asby boated the heaviest fish from Grafham for the season. This was a magnificent Brown of 13lb 15oz which was duly despatched to Chris Elliot for setting up.

The AGM in October resulted in the election of Officers as follows, President: Henry Lowe, Chairman: John Rolph, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith and a new appointment of Bookings Officer: Alan Taylor. A Committee of five was elected to assist.


A Junior Fly Fishing Day was attempted for the first time in 1991. This initiative was a whole day project consisting of a morning of coaching and videos at PBI with the afternoon given over to a visit to Block Fen near Chatteris, with the co-operation of Chatteris Aqua Sports, to put new found skills into practice. In the event we entertained eight boys between the ages of ten and seventeen and, with most catching fish, was deemed to be worth repeating at a later date.

Invicta won the AMFC league. The winning team in the final was John Reynolds (Capt.), Carl Hunter, Roger Hurren, Laurie Belcher, Robin Toates and Graden Smith.   Invicta A won the Group A trophy and shared the Association Trophy with Bewl Flyfishers.

The full Invicta team: Jim Donnelly, Carl Hunter, Roger Hurren, Norman Shippey, Steve Middleton, John Reynolds, John Rolph, Graden Smith, Mike Smith, Robin Toates, Bob Ayres, Laurie Belcher, Paul Herrell, Henry Lowe, Bernie Pink and Alan Taylor.  Of the 5 matches that year Invicta won 4 of them.

The AGM in October had to be aborted with fewer than the required quorum attending. The event was re-scheduled to a date in November and preceded by a Special General Meeting to amend the numbers required for a quorum. The rule was subsequently amended to require a twenty percent attendance rather than thirty three percent previously.

Officers elected for the next year were President: Henry Lowe, Chairman: Steve Middleton, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: Alan Taylor with five Committee members in support.


Anglian Water ended their highly controversial period of privatising fishing on their four ‘big waters’ in 1992. This had been a particularly difficult period for local anglers exacerbated by AW’s attempts at dealing with blue/green algae by treating all reservoirs with copious amounts of ferric sulphate.

A second Junior Fly Fishing day was arranged and attracted nine young anglers this year. On the day the rains came and not a fish was caught but, by all accounts, the enthusiasm of the youngsters and helpers was not diminished.

Contact was established in 1992 with the Bala Fishing Association and, with it, an invitation for an autumn trip to fish their stretch of the Welsh Dee for Grayling.

Another new trophy was presented this year by Mike Dawnay. The Invicta trophy would be awarded for ‘the most improved angler of the year’ or ‘for the most meritorious act of a member’. The list of trophies at this time included the original Beecroft Shield, The Carr Cup which was bought by the Club on the sudden and early death of Richard Carr in 1980. The President’s Cup presented by Bill Crouch and a relatively new award, the Brown Trout Study to be presented to the most successful angler in the B & H club eliminators. An additional award, the Hunter Bowl, would shortly be bought for the Club by Carl Hunter for a specific boat day in the Club calendar. This would be in the form of a magnificent antique bowl which, unfortunately, had to be re-silvered on arrival back from the engravers with two N’s in Invicta.

Officers elected in 1992 for the subsequent year were President: Henry Lowe, Chairman: Steve Middleton, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: Alan Taylor and a Committee of five in support.

Club membership had been steadily growing during this period and the early 1990’s witnessed a peak of over one hundred. It was not evident at the time but a fairly rapid decline into an economic recession was to grip the country, if not the world, and with the spectre of redundancy seeming to dominate the scene a serious downturn in our numbers occurred. Tight budgetary control was required in order to maintain the traditionally high level of club activities. INVICTA had earned countrywide respect amongst fellow clubs and a high level of esprit de corps within the Club. Testament to this would be the response to, and result of, the later anniversary celebration day at Grafham Water in May 2001.


The Junior Day organized in 1993 was to prove disappointing with only four youngsters responding in spite of widespread advertising, including two slots on Radio Cambridgeshire. It was felt that influence by the anti-bloodsports groups was beginning to be felt and attempts at canvassing local schools was falling on deaf ears. Later a winter Sunday morning flytying and video session was arranged but as only two youngsters responded our Junior Day initiatives ceased.

Since Mike Dawnay had given up his tackle shop and moved away the annual meeting with the Llanilar club at Chew Valley had been continued and regularly attracted twelve members fishing from two to four days. Although essentially still not an official club event only Club members were included in the party unlike the ‘private party’ arrangements originated by Mike. It was at about this time that another group were attracted to the event. This was the Leslie Club from Scotland who would eventually match our numbers and make this a really successful tri-partite event.

At the AGM in October 1993 the Officers elected to serve for the following year were President: Henry Lowe, Chairman: Steve Middleton, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: Mike Smith and five members of Committee.


The presence of the Cormorant, or otherwise a member of the Shag family, was now beginning to be a problem on inland waters. Although the Shag is essentially a seabird this relative was known to colonise inland but had recently undergone a breeding explosion. It was now regarded in a totally different light to the occasion some years previously when a Club member accidentally hooked and released one on a Club bank fishing day at Grafham. At a seminar arranged by the Salmon & Trout Association at Churchill College, Cambridge in 1994 it was to be shown with absolute clarity that the ‘experts’, the biologists, water scientists and bird groups had no real idea of the damage to both coarse and game fish stocks that this protected species was inflicting. With all of their combined knowledge on size and numbers of birds, their diet etc. they admitted they had not even considered depletion of fish stocks due to unsuccessful attacks on fish that were beyond the capability of the bird to ingest. As with almost all fishing orientated events INVICTA were represented at this seminar.

Grayling fishing during the winter months was continuing to find support with visits to both the Welsh Dee at Bala and the Laverstoke Fishery in Hampshire. To this would shortly be added another stretch of Hampshire river at Wherwell near Winchester.

A feature of Club activities since 1993 had been participation in the Greene King Abbot Ale Flyfishers Trophy. This was a three cornered event fished to reservoir rules between Grafham Water FF, East Midlands FFA and INVICTA and sponsored by Greene King brewery. This was a friendly affair which ended with a buffet style meal post-fishing at the Wheatsheaf in Perry village. Sadly this was not destined to be a long standing event.

The Association of Major Clubs competition had evolved year on year since its inception with a wide disparity of clubs taking part, although inevitably some were to fall by the wayside. Participating clubs have included various of the armed services, the Army, Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines and the Metropolitan Police made a brief appearance. Another aspect has been the number of clubs, including INVICTA, who have found it possible to produce two teams annually. In the late 1990’s the number of teams involved was to be in the low twenties proving, in spite of almost totally being ignored by the angling press, what an inspired initiative the idea had been. Limited recognition and sponsorship was eventually forthcoming with the participation of Angling Times.

Officers elected for year at the AGM in 1994 were President: Henry Lowe, Chairman: Steve Middleton, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: Mike Smith plus five Committee members. John Caldwell assumed the role of Newsletter editor from Norman Shippey who had produced forty one editions in the seven years since becoming Secretary.

The winter programme continued to provide an attractive series of speakers and other attractions, a frequency outstripping most other clubs nationwide. This year featured Peter Firth, instigator of the Association of Major Clubs, gave us a verbal tour of Bewl, Mike Sugg on flytying, John Horsey and Mike Marshall who had become a fairly regular speaker on a variety of game fishing subjects as well as taking a regular casting clinic on the PBI cricket field prior to the start of the season.

The annual dinner continued to be held at Girton College. The highlights of the after dinner entertainment being Bob Ayres inspired running of the raffle and, during his Chairmanship, we were to run the gauntlet of Steve Middleton’s caustic wit. On three occasions a celebrity guest has been featured since the inception of the annual dinner but, for a variety of reasons, these did not prove popular.

Club boating events were beginning to be somewhat more social events with the introduction of pre-fishing breakfasts either in the fishing Lodges or at the local Little Chef etc. Where available post fishing sit-down meals were becoming more prevalent. This was, perhaps, linked to the format introduced by the Association of Major Clubs in 1989/90


The 1995 summer programme was also still providing a variety of fishing venues with visits to Grafham, Bewl, Draycote and Pitsford.

Over the years we have been saddened to lose several valuable and loyal members. Richard Carr was probably the first but also Stan Oxley, Barrie Cheetham, Neil Simpson, Bill Blackburn and Ron Asby. All were dedicated and active in club affairs. Whilst death is, of course, inevitable it is sad to reflect that none of these had exceeded 65 years of age. Both Neil and Bill went the best way possible by participating in their chosen sport when the call came. Although not a member at the time of his death Simon Harris had been a founder member of the Club influencing the direction of the Club in its infancy. A larger than life figure Simon was a dedicated syndicate small water fisher who wasn’t really at home on the larger reservoirs and would have supported any move which had resulted in the Club becoming more exclusive combining a much increased subscription and restricted membership.

At the AGM Officers elected for 1995/96 were President: Alan Taylor, Chairman: Steve Middleton, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: John Caldwell with the now usual Committee of five. Annual subscription was raised to £12.00.

Nigel Savage, warden at Rutland Water, paid a first visit to the Club this year as did Oliver Edwards and Peter Lapsley. John Maitland, John Wadham and Mike Sugg paid return visits. John Reynolds related, with the benefit of a home video, another of his exotic fishing expeditions. This time it was for sailfish in Kenya.


The Benson & Hedges team for 1996 enjoyed a limited return to the successes of earlier times by winning through to the International Final. Unfortunately further progress was denied them in the next Round. The team was Dave Attlesey, John Caldwell, Steve Middleton, Peter Oldham, Mark Searle and Martin Stocks.

The AGM in 1996 re-elected all standing Officers and five Committee for the year 1996/97. Subscriptions were raised by £1.00 to £13.00.


1997 was the 21st anniversary of the Club and a special fishing day was organized at Grafham. The original plans had to be abandoned due to some fearsome weather in the days prior to the scheduled event which damaged or sunk several boats at their moorings. However, the event was successfully re-arranged complete with a post weigh-in meal in Grafham Lodge followed by presentation of prizes which included many novelty awards. A very successful event and, as it transpired, an excellent dress rehearsal for a much larger celebration on the occasion of the INVICTA 25th Anniversary in 2001 which would subsequently be recounted fully at that time.

It had become apparent that the Benson & Hedges competition was about to expire and, in addition, interest in the competition amongst members had declined to the extent that the eliminating process was no longer viable. Under the circumstances it was decided that a Proposal should be put to the forthcoming AGM to remove the B & H rules from the Club Constitution and Rules.

It was thought appropriate that a change of venue for the annual dinner was in order after eight years at Girton College and at this point Mark Searle stepped into the breach by offering the facilities of the Arundel House Hotel. The offer was quickly taken up and the Arundel was still the venue in the year 2001.

The ACA, now the Anglers’ Conservation Association celebrated fifty years of fighting pollution through the means of common law in 1997. It was thought appropriate that a return visit should be arranged, Allen Edwards had visited several years earlier. Jane Brett, in her capacity as Director of ACA and shortly to become Jane James, and Bob James shared a very entertaining evening. Graham Ward introduced us to an evening of Float Tubing and a return visit by Charles Jardine were the mainstay of the current winter programme.

The AGM of 1997 agreed on an additional Officer with the inclusion of the post of Vice Chairman. This position was created without extending the total Committee membership.

Officers elected for the 1997/98 year were President: Alan Taylor, Chairman: John Caldwell, Vice Chairman: Mark Searle, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: Mike Smith with only four Committee members.


The INVICTA calendar had over the past few years been approaching saturation point. Weekday fishing trips were now more prevalent, both Club and Major Clubs events. To this was now added the Tuesday Evening League to fish the last four hours of the day. Boat partners were to be drawn on the evening and Anglian Water generously awarded a weekday boat ticket for the ‘best bag’ and subsidized post- fishing sandwiches and chips.

The B & H competition had now been replaced by the House of Hardy. With the abandonment of the eliminating process used for the B & H team selection was to be the responsibility of the Committee who would nominate a member to act on the Committee’s behalf. Chris McLeod was handed responsibility for this onerous task.

Following a recent visit by Graham Ward, Secretary of the Float Tubing Association, members were given the opportunity to try this somewhat novel method of fishing for trout at Ravensthorpe Reservoir. Judging by the numbers responding INVICTA members are, perhaps, not as intrepid as has sometimes been claimed. However another ‘first time’ initiative.

In 1998 a party consisting of Doug Head, Chris McLeod, Carl Hunter and John Caldwell sallied forth across the Irish Sea to sample trout and salmon fishing on Lough Conn in Ireland.

A subscription increase to £15.00 was recommended and accepted at the 1998 AGM. There was no change in the election of Officers or Committee from 1997 for the year 1998/99.

Carl Hunter qualified to fish for England in the Home Internationals for 1999.


Established members were saddened to learn of the death of Ken Gash in 1999. As has been mentioned earlier in this to me Ken had been forced to give up his shop in Comberton in 1985 and had taken over the smallwater fishery at Swanscombe Farm in Essex.

Membership at this time had stabilised at around sixty, a far cry from the heady days of the late 1980’s and early1990’s. The Committee were to commit much time and thought to this problem. There was, however, some consolation in the fact that with careful budgeting there had been no need to curtail any of the Club’s activities.

Concern had been raised by the possibility of losing our winter venue at PBI following yet another reshuffle within the Company. Although there was a temporary respite with the provision of a large Porta-cabin the arrangement was shortlived. A flurry of enquiries and visits to possible venues settled the issue and a decision to adopt Harston Village Hall commencing in the autumn of the year 2000 was taken.

Minor success was achieved in the House of Hardy in that the INVICTA team of Doug Head, John Caldwell, Graham Williams, Mark Searle, Peter Oldham and Chris McLeod survived the First Round but succumbed two days later when, unfortunately, they finished last.

Anglian Water were experimenting at this time with ‘catch and release’ at Ravensthorpe. Evidence of the success of this was the extension to cover all four waters in the year 2000.

The ‘Brown Trout Study’ originally awarded to the best rod in the B & H Club eliminators would in future find a home with the most successful angler during the course of the Tuesday Evening League.

With fishing extended to the end of December on Grafham Mark Searle organized a series of bank trips to a variety of small waters and one to Grafham this year. Predictably this programme is very weather dependant and calls for last minute decisions by would be participants.

The AGM in October 1999 resulted in there being no change in the election of Officers for the third consecutive year. President: Alan Taylor, Chairman: John Caldwell, Vice Chairman: Mark Searle, Secretary: Norman Shippey, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: Mike Smith plus a Committee of four were to stand for the year 1999/2000. The Secretary took this opportunity to give notice of his retirement in that role at the AGM in October 2000.


The success in some areas of hunting and shooting in favour of the anti bloodsports lobby continued to focus members thoughts on the future risk to our sport. It was becoming apparent that there was some disparity of opinion on how close an association with other threatened sports was sensible or advisable. The Newsletter at this time carried articles highlighting these uncertainties which only the passing of time would clarify. However, indecision now could prove our downfall at a later date.

Another visit to the Emerald Isle by an INVICTA group, this time to the River Blackwater, was less than successful. The old story of being in the right place but on the wrong week. In spite of the lack of fish credit should always be awarded for initiative and it just goes to prove the claim that INVICTA FFC is genuinely a flyfishing, rather than just a trout fishing club. This has been a feature of our winter programme virtually from day one with evenings devoted to the pursuit of all game species on the fly. The party this time consisted of John Krailing, John Brownbridge, Chris McLeod, Mike Smith and Peter Oldham.

Preparations were in embryo stage for the celebration of our 25th Anniversary. It was intended hold the event as near as possible to the exact anniversary date of the sixth April 2001.

David Cheesley captured a fine rainbow at Elinor fishery of 12lb 2oz to gain him a place in the Troutmasters Final. On the occasion of the Fur & Feather match at Ravensthorpe in November Graham Williams had just one offer during his days fishing. The result being a rainbow of 13lb exactly, the heaviest fish from that lake for the season.

The AGM in October 2000 was held in the Village Hall at Harston, a move which seemed to provide for all our needs for the winter programme.

Officers elected at this time were President: Steve Middleton, Chairman: John Caldwell, Vice Chairman: Mark Searle, Treasurer: Graden Smith, Bookings Officer: Mike Smith. As documented at the previous AGM the Secretary, Norman Shippey, retired and, in the absence of a volunteer, the position remained vacant. A Committee of four was also elected at this time.

An increase in subscriptions was recommended by the Committee and the Members decided the increase should be in the order of £2.00 to £17.00.

The main priority of the newly elected administration was to finalize arrangements for the Club 25th Anniversary. This was completed with considerable success and took place exactly twenty five years and one month after the inaugural meeting. Guests of Members, angling celebrities, fishing clubs and representatives from Water Authorities were invited to the event held at Grafham Water on 6th May 2001. Amongst clubs represented were Llanilar from Aberystwyth and Leslie in Scotland. The event was in the form of a fishing day followed by a meal in Grafham Lodge together with prize giving and social occasion. A full report of this event will be recorded separately.

During the past twenty five years INVICTA FFC has graduated from an embryo club of a dozen or so Members to a peak in the early 1990’s of over one hundred. At the time of completing this record membership is around sixty and appears to be in-line with the experience of many other groups both angling and diverse other interests finding difficulty in attracting new blood. Potential members are drawn naturally to fishing clubs affiliated to large or small fisheries but the INVICTA policy of featuring all flyfishing species continues to provide an attraction. This attraction is enhanced by the traditional comprehensive winter programme which has been sustained throughout the entire life of the Club. Scanning through the Newsletters of twenty five years reveals many present and past names of repute from our sport.

The feeling within the Club at the present time is that moral is high and, without doubt, INVICTA FLY FISHING CLUB is eagerly anticipating the next twenty five years.

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Section 2

History of Invicta FFC from 2001 to 2016 inclusive – completing 40 years of Club history

Compiled by Bob Ayres

Bob AyresThis document, following on from the section compiled early in 2001 after 25 years of Club history by Norman Shippey, completes the 40 year history of the Club. In a document of this type it is inevitable that I may have overlooked or forgotten certain names and events or made errors.  Where this has occurred please accept my apologies.

The results of internal Club Competitions are posted on the website (see Events) and are not covered in detail in this document. The same applies to the ‘Pilgrimage’ – the Annual Social fishing event involving Invicta, the Llanilar Club from Aberystwyth, and the Leslie Club from Scotland.

Norman Shippey joined the Club virtually at its inception in 1976 and was eventually a Club member for over 39 years.  He sadly died in November 2015. One important item which he modestly omitted from his document was the gesture by the Club to accord him, at the AGM in Oct 2000, the status of Life Membership in recognition of his commitment as secretary for 13 years and all his other work. During that time he was responsible for many aspects of the club – a true ’club-man’.

Two fishy tales which were also omitted from the earlier history are now recorded here. Firstly in September 1999 Graham Williams caught a 37lb pike on a size 12 booby at Grafham (Newsletter 98). At the time it was thought to be the largest pike caught on the fly in the UK and made the front page of the Angling Times. It was followed by another pike of 22lb. At the other end of the boat Chris McLeod caught a 6-inch zander!!

Graham followed this up with a 13lb 1oz Rainbow at Ravensthorpe on 5th November 2000 which at the time was a fishery record. It was beaten by Dave Barker the following March when he caught one of the recently stocked 16lb rainbows.

Norman  also made only brief  mention of the 25th Anniversary celebration event which took place on Sunday 6th May 2001 at Grafham Water (thanks to Graham Williams in particular, ably helped by other members, and to AWA). Almost 100 anglers fished that day in a historic boat competition. It was historic also in that it was the first big ‘catch and release’ event to be held at Grafham Water. Anglers from the Pilgrimage Clubs (LLanilar, Wales & Leslie, Scotland) attended. The competition (based on total fish length) was won by Willie Patrick (Leslie), with our very own Alan Taylor in second place. John Rolph caught the biggest fish of the day. A celebration dinner was held in the evening at the lodge. Commemorative medals were presented by Charles Jardine and prizes handed out. The top prize in the grand raffle, with about £2000 worth of prizes, was a bicycle won by Arthur Sexton, who duly rode it out of the restaurant to great applause.  A memorable event.

Other items:

John Gale wrote 3 books.  Ruddles Guide to Fishing Rutland Water (1989) with Forward by David Moore, Catching Lake Trout (1990) and Trout (1992)with Co-authors David Moore and Peter Gathercole. Peter Reeves wrote a book in 1998 entitled ‘The Pleasure of Stillwater Fly Fishing’.


The Annual Dinner was held on 17th February at the Arundel Hotel, Cambridge.

Summer 2001: 

Matt Willatt, aged 15, was our first ever junior member to fish in an England Youth National qualifier for potential selection to the England team in 2002. He was unsuccessful but had time on his side. He was awarded the Invicta Trophy for his performances.

The club day trips were well attended with the best fish of the season, a 9lb 10oz rainbow, being caught by Bob Ayres (author’s licence – it won’t happen again!!).

In the AMFC, Invicta A finished 2nd in Group A;  Invicta B finished 2nd in Group 4. The Fun Day continued at Hanningfield in October, organised by Mike Clarke.

Invicta came 11th in the Partridge Floating Line competition at Bewl.

John Caldwell led our presence at the Fenland Fair.

Alan Taylor, John Rolph and Bob Ayres got themselves locked in the old Lodge car park at Whitwell, Rutland after a late-evening bank session and became a police ‘incident’!

Autumn/Winter programme 2001 speakers:  Sadly no external speaker fulfilled their booking.

Henry Lowe co-wrote his final trout-fishing guide book making seven in all since 1993 (two on Rutland Water, two on Grafham Water, one on Bewl Water and two General Reservoir Trouting).

The AGM for 2001 was held on 25th October. John Caldwell stood down as Chairman having completed 5 years. Officers elected were :-

President: Steve Middleton,
Chairman: Chris McLeod,
Vice Chairman: Mark Searle,
Secretary: Doug Head,
Treasurer: Graden Smith,
Bookings Officer: Mike Smith.
Auditor: Alan Taylor.

Subscriptions were fixed at £17. The Club had 60 members.


The Annual Dinner 2002 was held on 16th February at the Arundel Hotel, Cambridge.

Winter/Spring programme 2002; Once again no speaker fulfilled their booking.

Summer 2002:

The Pilgrimage was fished at Chew for the last time.

The Club organised an ‘Invicta Invitation Trophy’ competition which was fished at Grafham  on 5th May. 46 anglers competed and Alan Taylor was the overall winner. Norman Shippey caught the best fish.

The Evening League attracted 21 members and guests.

Invicta finished 8th in the Partridge Floating Line competition at Bewl.

In the AMFC (now reorganised into 3 Groups), Invicta A came 2nd in Group 3;  Invicta B came 3rd in Group 3.

Invicta fielded 3 teams at the AMFC  Fun Day at Hanningfield in October.

Henry Lowe supervised some junior tuition days at Grafham.

Norman Shippey overcame serious illness to win the Club’s Carr Cup.

Arthur Sexton caught a double-figure fish at Grafham. Dave Barker caught a magnificent 13lb 14oz rainbow at Grafham and Peter Firth a 14lb fish from Ravensthorpe, both in November.

John Caldwell bass –fished in Florida.

A crustacean parasite (Ergasilis) affected trout growth at Rutland Water.

Member John Domone sadly died in August.

Autumn/winter programme 2002 Speakers: Colin Brett (trout & pike fishing), John Wadham & Tim Appleton, (Rutland), Mark Ford (Rods), Charles Jardine.

The AGM 2002 was held on 31st October. Revisions made to the Club Rules and Constitution (thanks to Doug Head, Mike Smith, John Caldwell, & Chris McLeod) were approved. Tony Day, Mike Smith & Graden Smith resigned from their positions and were thanked for their contributions over the years. Officers elected were:-

President: Steve Middleton,
Chairman: Chris McLeod,
Secretary: Doug Head,
Treasurer/Membership sec: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer/Newsletter: John Caldwell.
Club membership was around 70.

Ron Asby’s widow Margaret kindly bequeathed his library of fishing books and his fly-tying kit to the Club and was subsequently awarded an Honorary Membership.

John Krailing (Club member) was also awarded an Honorary Membership in recognition of his voluntary work as Club auditor.


The Annual Dinner was held on 15th February 2003 at the Arundel Hotel, Cambridge.

Winter/Spring programme 2003 speakers: Bill McIlroy (Fly-tying), Simon Kidd ( Fly-tying), Martin Cottis ( Chew),  AWS team,  John Wadham ( Rutland) and Chris’ quiz.

Summer 2003:

In the AMFC Invicta A finished 2nd in Group 3; Invicta B finished 4th in Group 3.

The Pilgrimage was held at Grafham for first time. 60 anglers were involved.

Invicta did not enter the Partridge/Grand Max event due to an administrative error.

Tracey Rathbone of Grafham Lodge Shop entered the Ladies England Eliminators and progressed to the National final and qualified there to fish for England in 2004. Peter Hartley and Mark Haycock entered their Eliminators but did not progress.

Invicta again attended the Fenland Country Fair – thanks to John Caldwell & team.

Alan Prevost was awarded the Invicta Trophy for his services to the Club.

Rutland Water approved ‘catch and release’.

Mark Searle river-fished in New Zealand. John Mees bass fished in the Isle of Man. John Brown fished Lake Taupo, in New Zealand. John Krailing and MIke Smith fished in Patagonia.

Autumn/Winter 2003 programme speakers: Andy Linwood/John McCullum (Grafham), Peter Hartley (fly-tying); John Mees & Dave Waters (Bass in Isle of Man)) , Mickey Bewick (Tackle & experiences).

The AGM for 2003 was held on 16th October. Officers elected were:-

President: Steve Middleton,
Chairman: Chris McLeod,
Secretary:; Doug Head,
Treasurer/Membership sec: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer/Newsletter: John Caldwell.

The Club had approximately 60 members.


On 22 January 2004 an EGM was held. This was to correct an issue relating to the incorrect submission of the Club’s accounts at the previous AGM and to sanction club rules 7 and 15. The Club had 49 members.

John Mees of AWS was elected an Honorary Club Member for his interest in and services to the Club.

The Annual Dinner 2004 was held on 21st February at The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge.

Winter/Spring programme 2004 speakers: John Krailing/Mike Smith (S America), Peter Firth (AMFC) & Bring and buy sale; Roger Marshall (Eyebrook); Chris’ Quiz night, AWA team.

Invicta launched its first website – thanks to Colin Brett.

A book entitled ‘Mammoth Pike’, written by Neville Fickling, featured a section on the 39 lb pike caught by Graham Williams at Grafham in 1999

Summer 2004:

The Pilgrimage was held at Grafham in May.

In the AMFC, Invicta fielded only one team.  Invicta A won Group 3 and gained promotion after 4 years as runner-up.

31 anglers fished the Club venues for the Carr Cup. 43 anglers fished the Evening League.

Tracey Rathbone (Grafham Lodge Shop) fished in the winning England Team in the Home International at Lake Mentieth.

John Gale and Ian Baldock won the Phillips UK championship for the 13th time together.

Colin Brett had his biggest ever bag at Grafham (8 fish for 28lb 10oz). Mark Searle caught a 12lb 3oz Brown trout at Rutland. Mike Smith caught an 11lb 4oz rainbow at Ravensthorpe.

John Caldwell lost a rod and line ’over-board’ at Ravensthorpe. Peter Reeves went for an unintentional swim in Grafham boat dock!

Autumn/winter programme 2004 speakers: Sean Cutting (Bonefish fishing); Andy Miller (Eyebrook); Social at NCI, Cambridge. Invicta team finished 2nd in the EMTFA quiz night.


The AGM 2005 was held on 3rd February. Officers elected were:-

President: Steve Middleton,
Chairman: Chris McLeod,
Secretary: Doug Head,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

Membership had dropped to 39 – it’s lowest- ever level.

The Annual Dinner 2005 was held on 19th February at The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge. Andy Linwood was presented with a special prize for his extensive entomological knowledge!

Winter/spring programme 2005 speakers: Fly-tying; Stuart Ilsley  (flies & materials); AWA team;  Colin Brett (Canada); Chris’ Quiz.

There was a rumour that AWS might introduce the need for Boat Proficiency Certificates.

Summer 2005: 

The Pilgrimage returned to Chew & Blagdon. Invicta won for the first time!!!!

Graham Williams was appointed the first Captain of Invicta AMFC teams. He continued up to and including 2012. Invicta fielded only one team. Invicta A finished 5th in Group 2.

Invicta entered the AW/Fulling Mill competition (formerly House of Hardy and initially the B & H): The Invicta team (Carl Hunter, Chris Mcleod, John Mees, Mark Searle, Lawson Wight, and Graham Williams) did well in the 1st leg of the Eliminators at Grafham and came 3rd. They did not fish as well in 2nd, but with Mark Searle 3rd overall, they did enough to qualify for the Midland Final. Sadly in that final they did not qualify for the International Final.

In the AW/Fulling Mill competition Invicta had one team In the Midland Final which was fished over 2 legs , both at Grafham. In the first leg the team came 3rd, but failed badly in the 2nd leg – apart from  Mark Searle who came 3rd overall. They did not qualify for the International Final.

Bob Ayres caught a 10lb 5oz rainbow at Pitsford to win the Carl Hunter Bowl at Pitsford for the 3rd time. David Jones caught his first trout for 10 years.

Arthur Sexton & Mark Searle finished 2nd in the Phillips UK Championship.

Norman Shippey fished the River Yukon in Canada.

John Rolph, a past member and Chairman of the club for 2 years, died on 25th July 2005 aged 80. He was a past chairman, a very keen trout fisherman, loved the social side and particularly enjoyed the Pilgrimage. What a man!

Autumn/winter programme 2005 speakers:  Simon Kidd (Snowbee), Ian Barr, Wendy Gibson (fly-tying), Richard Sheard (World Sport Fishing), NCI social.

Alan Prevost’s mum reached 100 years old – but sadly passed away only 3 weeks after her birthday.


The AGM for 2006 was held on 2 February.  Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman Chris McLeod,
Secretary: Doug Head,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

In the past year membership numbers increased to 58.

The Annual Dinner 2006 was held on 18th February at the Gonville Hotel, Cambridge.

Winter/Spring programme 2006; Norman Shippey (Yukon); Steve Cooper (Cookshill – fly-tying), Stuart Ilsley, John Krailing (rod design), Chris’ quiz.  Invicta won the GWFFA Quiz!

At the AMFC AGM in February, Peter Firth retired after 18 years as secretary. John Caldwell took over.

Summer 2006:

Invicta FFC reached the 30 year milestone in April. A special Newsletter (No 130) was issued. Our President Norman Shippey penned an article outlining the Clubs ethos & achievements.

In season 2006 brothers Danny & Oscar Boatfield (followed in 2007 by Ryan & Adam Worker, in 2007 by Oscar Boatfield, in 2008 by Kieran Bonas and in 2011 by Fen Oakley)  joined Invicta as junior members. Although we previously had a few juniors, only Matt Willatt had ever thought of fishing for England Youth (EY). Oscar, Ryan, Adam, Kieran and Fen changed this in dramatic style. We were soon to become aware of the EYFA (England Youth Fly Fishing Association). Ryan was the first too enter a competition and qualified in the EY National (albeit by default) to fish for the England Youth team in 2007.

The Pilgrimage was held at Llyn Brenig Fishery.

In the AMFC, Invicta entered only one team. Invicta A finished 3rd in Group 2.

Invicta were re-invited to fish the Grand Max Match at Bewl and came 15th.

In the AW/Fulling Mill eliminator at Grafham the Invicta team did not qualify further despite Carl Hunter’s 8 fish.

Alan Taylor caught the biggest rainbow ever recorded in an AMFC competition – an 11lb 12oz ‘ugly stockie’ – sorry Alan – but true! He was rewarded with the following headline in the AMFC Newsletter ‘Size does matter and Alan Taylor has the biggest’. The fish was then, and remains to this day, the biggest fish ever caught in AMFC competitions.

Carl Hunter won his own trophy at Pitsford.

Mike Fletcher caught a 13lb 5oz rainbow at Bewl.

Chris McLeod , an avid conkering, yes, conkering, aficionado failed to attend an angling function on the grounds that he wished to attend the World Conker Championships being held at Oundle, Northants. He was later presented with his own trophy, made and presented by Steve Middleton, for the ‘Best Angling Excuse 2006’. (See Newsletter No 134).

David Jones actually fished in Australia!! Lawson Wight fished in Costa Rica and caught a 50lb+ Rooster fish.

Autumn/Winter programme 2006 speakers: John Wadham (Rutland); Michael Garroway (Cambridge Sports Lakes); Jeremy Lucas (Poland); John Horsey (UK fishing).

In January the Club began a series of profiles on Club members. The first article, on Colin Brett, was featured in Newsletter No 131.

Winter/Spring programme 2007 speakers: Paul Sissons, Graham Pearson, Simon Johnson (Wild Trout Trust). AWA team.

Member Ken Sellars died.



The AGM 2007 was held on 1st February. Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman: Lawson Wight,
Secretary/Newsletter: Peter Reeves,
Treasurer; Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer;
John Caldwell.
Arthur Sexton was unanimously granted a Life Membership.

Membership was 60.

The Annual Dinner 2007 was held on 7th February at The George, Babraham.

Chris McLeod featured in the 2nd Club Profile in Newsletter 133 (March)

In 2007 we welcomed David Moore as an Honorary Member of Invicta. David had just retired   from Anglian Water and was well known to the Club. He became an active member, at the same time pursuing his involvement with several other Angling Governing bodies, not least being Chair of the Angling Development Board, which was the angling body recognised by Sport England. The board eventually merged with the Angling Trust in 2012. He was also Vice-Chair of EYFA

Summer 2007: 

Ryan Worker fished with the EY Team at the Home International at Lake Menteith, Scotland. England came 3rd.

The Pilgrimage returned to Grafham, where very good fishing was to be had. It continued there until 2009.

In the AMFC Invicta entered only one team. Invicta A finished bottom of Group 2 and were demoted.

In the GWFFA Inter-Club Floating Line Competition at Grafham an Invicta team came 4th. Mike Smith had an excellent day with best bag and best fish.

In the GWFFA/Invicta/EDFF match at Grafham Ron Lusardi shared the best boat. Peter Oldham caught the best fish of the day, with Alan Prevost second.

Invicta entered the Grand Max at Bewl but the result is not known.

Andy Newman and Chris McLeod won the Phillips competition.

John Caldwell caught 12lb 8oz and Peter Reeves a 12lb 4oz at Ravensthorpe in March. Appropriately John featured in the 3rd Club Profile in Newsletter 134 in April/May.

Under the title ‘Ladies urgently seek obliging men’, several Invicta members offered to help as boatmen for The English Ladies Fly-Fishing Association competition fished at Grafham – a ‘service’ (sorry!! Ed) which has continued over the years.

Norman Shippey featured in Member’s Profile No 4 in Newsletter 135 (June/July).

Lawson Wight featured in Member’s Profile No 6 (there being no No 5!) in Newsletter 136 (Aug/Sept).

Oscar Boatfield, the youngest ever angler to win a Club Trophy at the time, won the Brown Trout Trophy.

John Caldwell caught a second ‘biggie’ – this time an 11lb 7oz monster, followed near the end of the season by a 12lb 4oz specimen.

Mark Searle caught a 12lb 4oz zander at Grafham.

John Mees & Chris McLeod won the 40th Anniversary Celebration match of the East Midlands Trout Fishers Association held in September at Grafham.

Andy Newman & Chris McLeod won the Philips Trophy.

Four Invicta anglers (Peter Oldham, Bob Ayres, Mike Smith and Peter Reeves) visited Lough Corrib. Few fish were caught but the experience was very enjoyable.

Invicta fielded the oldest (Arthur Sexton – 85 years young!) and the youngest (Oscar Boatfield – a mere ‘child’ ) at the AMFC Fun Day at Eyebrook.

Grayling fishing became ever more popular.

Graham Williams featured in Profile No 7 in Newsletter 137 (Oct/Nov).

Autumn/winter programme 2007 speakers: Mickey Bewick, Jeremy Lucas (San River, Poland). Simon Johnson (Wild Trout Trust); Iain Barr; Paul & Sue Sissons (Ladies Competitions & Rivers).

Charles Jardine became an Honorary Member in recognition of his service to our sport and to Invicta FFC.

David Jones featured in Club Profile No 8 in Newsletter 138 (Dec 07/Jan 08).

George James, Secretary of the Llanillar Club,Wales  died on 16th January 2007. George organised the Pilgrimage at Chew Valley from its inception in 1985 until he died. He was a great friend to many Invicta members.

Honorary Club member Margaret Asby, widow of former member Ron, who died in 1995, also died.

Alan Prevost featured in Member’s Profile No 9 in Newsletter 139 (Jan/Feb).

Winter/spring Programme 2008 speakers; Cliff Waters, Mick Huffer, Graham Pearson; Rob Mungovan;  AWA team; Chris’s Quiz.

David Moore informed us that in the ‘outside world’ several Angling bodies were coming together under one new umbrella organisation FACT (Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust).

Peter Reeves launched an informal fly-tying group for Club members, with increasing numbers attending.

Duncan Tait won the inaugural Invicta Fly-tying competition.

Invicta again won the GWFFA quiz.


The AGM 2008 was held on 7th February.  Officers elected were:-

President; Norman Shippey,
Chairman: Lawson Wight.
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Secretary/Newsletter: Peter Reeves.
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

The Club membership had increased to 74.

The Annual Dinner 2008 was held on 23rd February at The George, Babraham.

Bob Ayres relinquished his role as organiser of the dinner after several years.

Winter/Spring programme 2008 speakers: Cliff Waters (Trout & Salmon); Mick Huffer (Fly-tying), ; Nigel Savage (Rutland); Rob Mungovan (Local Ecology), Fly-tying’ Chris’s Quiz.

Summer 2008: 

Bobbie Worker, mother of Ryan and Adam, became secretary of EYFA. Ryan fished for England Youth team in the Home International at Lough Conn, Ireland. The day was marred by dangerously high winds. England performed badly, Ryan sadly blanked and did not automatically qualify to fish for the 2009 England team. In the England National qualifier at Grafham, Ryan again, plus Adam Worker & Kieran Bonas qualified to fish for the England Team in the 2009 Internationals.

Ryan Worker. Adam Worker and Kieran Bonas were awarded the Invicta Trophy for their performances in recent years with the England Youth FA.

Chris McLeod and Gary How volunteered to help with EYFA. Chris, partnered with the EY Champion Tom Gott, won the EY Captains Day at Foremark. The event raised £450 for EYFA funds.

Two other junior members, Oscar Boatfield and Andrew Johnson, were fishing successfully in our Evening League competition. In which over 50 anglers fished in the 10 week series.

In the AMFC,  Invicta A finished 2nd in Group 3; Invicta B 5th in Group 3.

Invicta B team (Alan Taylor, Steve Middleton, Paul Stevens and Bob Ayres) historically thrashed Invicta A, GWFFA and all-comers in the AMFC Fun Day.

In the GWFFA Inter-Club Floating Line Competition at Grafham, the Invicta team came 4th. Mark Haycock had the best bag overall and also shared the best boat with Ryan Worker.

In the Grand Max at Bewl the Invicta team were placed 16th.

In the AW/Fulling Mill competition the Invicta team did not progress beyond the first round.

Chris McLeod & John Mees were in the 4-man winning team at Rutland’s Loch-style competition.

Honorary member David Moore caught the best bag, including the best fish, in the winning England Fishers Team v the Professionals at Grafham in June.

John Gale and Ian Baldock won the Phillips for the 14th time together from its’ inception to this season. John has also won it twice more, once with Peter Green (ex-Invicta) and the other with George Anderson.

Andy Newman featured in Member’s  Profile No 10 in Newsletter 141 (May/ June).

Bob Ayres featured in Member’s Profile No 11 in Newsletter 142 (July/Aug).

Norman Shippey & Peter Reeves fished the San River in Poland for grayling.  They were followed there by Chris McLeod, John Mees,  Andy Linwood, and Roger Featherstone.

John Mees & Chris McLeod fished at Los Roques, Venezuela for Bonefish and other species.

John Reynolds achieved a Professional Instructor qualification by GAIA (Game Angling Instructors Association) in the Trout category.

David Moore took 1st place for England Fly Fishers vs The Professionals at Grafham in June.

The Elinor bank match was re-introduced after several years in November.

Bob Brooks, a recent Invicta member but long-term GWFFA member died.

Mike Smith featured in Member’s Profile No 12 in Newsletter 143 (Sept/Oct).

Peter Oldham featured in Member’s Profile No 13 in Newsletter 144 (Nov / Dec).

Autumn/Winter programme 2008 speakers; Steve Skuce (Grayling), Mickey Bewick, Brian Marshall (Salmon & Trout), Stanislav Mankov  (Fly –tying).

Rob Mungovan won the Invicta fly-tying competition.

The Angling Trust was formed in January to replace FACT, the ACA and other representative bodies of coarse, game and sea anglers.


The AGM 2009 was held on 5th February. Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman: Lawson Wight,
Secretary: Peter Reeves,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

Membership was 69.

Peter Hartley became an Honorary Member of Invicta for his help to the Club with his casting clinics and for his contribution to fly-fishing. Peter had been involved in the International scene since 1998, had reached 5 National Finals and was a member of the successful England Team in 2007.

Peter Waterhouse featured in Member’s Profile No 14a in Newsletter 145 (Jan /Feb).

Steve Middleton featured in Members Profile No 14b in Newsletter 146 (Mar/Apr).

The Annual Dinner was held on 27th Feb 2009 at the Lion Hotel, Buckden.

Winter/Spring programme 2009 speakers: Charles Jardine; John Wadham; Alan Sefton (Lennox rods). Bob Mallandine (Smoking fish), Brian Marshall (Conservation).

Summer 2009: 

Chris McLeod became Chairman of EYFA, supported by Gary How on the committee. Ryan & Adam Worker, Kieran Bonas plus Oscar Boatfield, fished the National qualifier at Grafham in July. Ryan, Kieran and Oscar qualified to fish for the International team in 2010.  Adam just missed out on automatic selection but won through in August. Our lads went on to fish for the winning England team in the Home International at Llandegfedd, Wales. Kieran was the top English rod, fishing dries, with 9 fish in his first international. Well done, lads.

Another young angler, Andrew Johnson, regularly attended the Evening League with his grandfather and was awarded the Invicta Trophy for his endeavours.

In the AMFC, which was re-organised into 4 Groups, Invicta A finished 2nd in Group 3; Invicta B finished 4th in Group 4. Invicta A won the AMFC Fun Day.

Invicta won the GWFFA Interclub Floating Line event at Grafham. Chris McLeod had the 2nd biggest bag and Kieran Bonas caught the best fish overall.

In the Grand Max at Bewl the Invicta team were placed 12th.

John Mees & Chris McLeod featured in a team which won the Rutland Water Lochstyle event.

The English Disabled Fly Fishers were entertained by Invicta & GWFFA at Grafham in August,  with Andy Linwood catching the best fish overall.

Anthony Williams fished in New Zealand. John Mees, Chris McLeod, Graham Williams, Mick Facey, Kieran Caulfield and Gary How fished at Los Roques, Venezuela.

John Mees featured in Members Profile No 15 in Newsletter 147 (May/June).

Ian Wilson (Dr) featured in Member’s Profile in Newsletter 148 (July/ Aug).

Richard Sewell caught a 26-27lb pike at Grafham.

Red signal crayfish were recorded at Grafham for the first time.

Brian Denley, an Invicta member for several years, sadly died in July.

Autumn/winter programme 2009 speakers; Craig Barr, Rob Edmunds,  Chris McLeod (Los Roques),  Rob Mungovan,  John Krailing (fishing Patagonia).

Norman Shippey, who had joined a conservation group restoring the River Mel in Meldreth / Melbourn from 2006, represented the Group, with others, in being presented with the top award at the Wild Trout Trust and Orvis conservation awards presentation in the Saville Club, Mayfair in October.

Invicta published their 150th Newsletter in November/December.

Our secretary Peter Reeves, with Graham Williams, demonstrated their support of our four Junior members in the England Youth squad, by generously launching an Invicta fund-raising project – the ‘Invicta 150 Challenge’. They literally challenged Invicta members or friends to donate contributions to the fund and when it reached certain targets (multiples of £150) they would personally add £150 to the total. During the winter, interim targets were achieved, Peter and Graham ‘coughed up’ (thanks guys). More donations arrived and Chris McLeod generously became the third member to offer to contribute £150.

Stan Mankov gained a prestigious coaching award.

The Angling Trust was awarded formal recognition by Sport England as the national governing body for game, sea and coarse angling.



The AGM 2010 was held on 4th February. Officers elected:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman: Lawson Wight,
Secretary: Peter Reeves,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

By now membership had reached 85 – a level it roughly stayed at for the next 4 years.

The Annual Dinner 2010 was held on 27th February at The Lion Hotel, Buckden. A cheque for ‘£1000+’ (the final total of £1034 had not then been calculated) was presented to Bobby Worker of EYFA by Norman Shippey as a result of the ‘150 Challenge’ sponsorship project. Well done everyone – a great achievement.

Winter/spring programme 2010 speakers: Steve Cooper (Cookshill Fly-Tying), John Seaton (AWA), Jonathon Wilson (Angling Trust), David Moore, Chris’ Quiz.

Chris McLeod was voted Chairman of England Youth (EYFA). Kieran Caulfield joined the EYFA Committee.

Arthur Cove, an East Anglian trout-fishing legend, died aged 79.

Mark Haycock joined Invicta. Mark is a dedicated competition angler who had already fished for the England Team twice in 2009.

Summer 2010:

Ryan & Adam Worker, Kieran Bonas and Oscar Boatfield  joined the EY team to fish the Home international at Grafham. 14 teams competed In the event which England won. Bobbie Worker was congratulated on her organisation of the event, ably assisted by the Invicta members on the committee.

The Pilgrimage was fished at Rutland with Steve Middleton winning a special prize presented by Glyn Jones for his rather poor contribution to the fishing!

In the AMFC, Invicta A finished 3rd in Group 3; Invicta B finished 6th in Group 4.

Invicta FFC took on the organisation of the Inter-Club Floating line competition previously organised by GWFFA. Graham Williams became our first organiser in 2011.  Simon Kidd of Snowbee kindly agreed to sponsor the event.  Invicta entered 3 teams. Invicta B won for the second successive time. Gary How was top rod on the day and with Mark Searle caught the best fish of the day.

An Invicta team finished 3rd to qualify in the Grafham heat of the AW/Airflo (formerly AW Fulling Mill, House of Hardy/B & H ) National Competition but did not perform well enough in the Midlands Final.

In the Grand Max at Bewl the Invicta team finished 6th.

Mark Searle featured in two editions of Member’s Profile – No 16a in Newsletter 153 (May/Jun), No 16b in Newsletter 154 (Jul/Aug). Andy Linwood featured in Members Profile No 17 in Newsletter 156 (Nov/Dec).

Graham Williams, Chris McLeod, John Mees, Kieran Caulfield and Mick Facey again fished Los Roques, Venezuela.

Chris McLeod caught a 12lb bream at Grafham.

Stan Mankov caught a 24lb pike from the river Cam!

The Invicta Club trophies now reside in their new Trophy cabinet at Grafham lodge.

Peter Firth was awarded an Honorary Membership of Invicta for his services to fly fishing. A founder member of Bewl Bridge Flyfishers Club since the mid 1970’s, he also founded the AMFC and was its secretary until 2006. He also founded the Grand Max competition (formerly the Partridge).

The ‘Killer’ shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus – or Dick to his friends!) was identified at Grafham for the first time. The shrimp revolutionised the bank-fishing.

Autumn/winter programme 2010 speakers: Fly-tying; Rob Waddington (Canada & Russia), David Moore (Angling Trust, etc), John Krailing (Argentina), Peter Reeves & Lawson Wight (Loch fishing).

Matt Willatt updated the Invicta website and became webmaster.

Ray Holgate, a club member and former Club officer, a Major Club’s team member and manager, sadly died in November 2010.


The AGM 2011 was held on 24th February. Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman; Lawson Wight,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Secretary: Matt Willatt,
Newsletter: Peter Reeves,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

Membership: 83.

Externally Chris McCleod reported that the CEFF ( Confederation of English Fly Fishers) was disbanded and reformed as a committee representing competitive fly fishing within the Angling Trust.

The Annual Dinner 2011 was held on 26th February at the Lion Hotel, Buckden.

Winter/spring programme 2011 speakers: Mark Haycock; Graham Pearson (Competition fishing), Peter Hartley (Tutoring), Simon Kidd (Snowbee). Henry Lowe (Tackle), Kieran Caulfield (Safety), John Mees (AW).  Chris’s Quiz night.

Summer 2011:

Oscar, Kieran, Ryan & Adam –  you know them by now!-  plus new Invicta member Fen Oakley were in the team to represent England in the 2011 Home International at Lake Menteith, Scotland.  The team unfortunately came 3rd, but Adam Worker did catch the best fish of the day (4lb).

The Pilgrimage returned to Grafham and was most notably famous for Steve Middleton’s revenge on Glyn Jones in his after-dinner speech, which involved sheep!!

In the AMFC  Invicta A finished 2nd in Group 3; Invicta B finished 4th in Group 4.

Invicta’s 35th year was celebrated with a friendly summer competition & barbecue at Grafham. John Mees was top rod with Ray Storer catching the best fish.

The Inter-Club Floating Line Competition was renamed “The Invicta Floating Line Competition sponsored by Snowbee”. It was held as usual at Grafham with 20 teams invited from a wide area for the first time with Snowbee increasing their sponsorship.  Invicta fielded 4 teams. The top Invicta team was ‘B’ which finished 4th overall but did win the old Inter-Club Trophy for being the top Anglian team – beating GWFFA by one place.’

In June a team of Invicta anglers, led by Peter Oldham, entertained a group of soldiers at Elinor on behalf of the ‘Fishing For Forces’ charity.

In the Grand Max at Bewl the Invicta team finished 5th.

Mark Haycock entered the England Eliminators but did not qualify further.

Mark Haycock featured in a Member’s Profile in Newsletter 158 (April).

Chris McLeod, John Mees, Mark Searle and Mick Facey fished Los Roques.

Autumn/winter programme 2011 speakers: Cliff Waters (photo-journalism), Mick O’Farrell; Peter McLeod; Stuart Crofts (entomology, etc).

Honorary Invicta member Peter Hartley replaced Mel Parrott as Chairman of the ‘Federation’.

35 years of Invicta history were archived in the Cambridge Town Library.


The AGM 2012 was held in February:  Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman: Graham Williams,
Secretary Lawson Wight,
Minutes Sec: Paul Stevens,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

Membership was 72.

Henry Lowe became an Honorary Member in recognition of his services to the sport and to Invicta.

The Annual Dinner 2012 was held on 25th February at The Lion, Buckden.

Winter/spring programme 2012 speakers: The first social evening at the Arundel Hotel, Cambridge was held in January (many thanks to Mark Searle),  Peter McLeod, Ifor Jones (Alaska), Rob Mungovan ( Local ecology), John Mees/Kieran B  (Fly-tying).

Summer 2012:

Kieran Bonas (Capt), Adam Worker, Oscar Boatfield and Fen Oakley fished in the Youth Home International at Lough Owel in Ireland. England won – giving them their 3rd Gold Medal in 4 years.

The Pilgrimage was won by Invicta for the second time in history!

In the AMFC, Invicta A won Group 3 (promoted) ; Invicta B finished 2nd in Group 4.

The Presidents Cup day featured a lunch-time BBQ thanks to Gary & Jane How.

In the “The Invicta Floating Line Competition sponsored by Snowbee” at Grafham,  19 teams entered. There were 4 Invicta teams. D finished 4th, A finished 13th, C finished 14th and B  finished 16th. There were no individual Invicta prize-winners.

In the AW/Airflo competition Invicta came 8th out of 11 teams.

In the Grand Max at Bewl the Invicta team finished 9th.

Mark Haycock, Chris McLeod and Kieran Caulfield entered the England Eliminators. Kieran actually won his 1st heat but with a poor 2nd leg, sadly, along with Chris, missed out on qualifying further. Only Mark qualified for the National Final at Grafham but did not progress further.

Mark Searle and Dave Burgess won the Phillips competition.

Peter Oldham organised another Fishing for Forces day at Elinor.

Simon Kidd was awarded an Honorary Membership of the Club in recognition of Snowbee’s sponsorship of the Floating Line Competition at Grafham.

Arthur Sexton reached 90 years of age – well done Arthur.

Autumn/Winter programme 2012 speakers: Norman Shippey (Yukon), Rob Mungovan (Local ecology), Paul & Sue Sissons (Fly-tying), Stuart Crofts (sex!!)


The AGM 2013 was held on 21st February. Graham Williams stepped down as Chairman after only one year in office as he was planning to spend extended visits to Canada during the coming year(s). Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman; Andy Newman,
Secretary: Paul Stevens,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

Club membership: 81.

The Annual Dinner 2013 was held on 23rd February at St Neots Golf Club.

Winter/Spring programme 2013 speakers: Social evening Arundel Hotel, (thanks to Mark Searle), David Moore (The Future?), Ifor Jones (Fishery Management & Alaska), Chris’ Quiz.

Allan Sefton wrote a book entitled ‘Getting Started at Fly Fishing for Reservoir Trout’.

Invicta FFC on Facebook, thanks to Craig Foggo (Andy Newman currently hosts this).

Summer 2013:

England Youth: With Ryan, Kieran & Oscar now too old , only Adam & Fen fished in the EY Home International at Llyn Brenig. England won, with Adam catching an outstanding 9 fish. Ryan Worker helped to coach the team,  and Bobbie Worker was again congratulated on her input.

The Pilgrimage match day was marred by high winds, with the boats being called off the water in mid-afternoon. Steve Middleton recalled in the minutes that the thought of Alan Taylor, a Grafham warden at that time, coming out in the rescue boat was not his idea of sanity!

Mark Searle became Captain of Invicta AMFC teams. Invicta A finished 2nd in Group2; Invicta B finished 3rd in Group 4.

Peter Oldham organised another ‘Fishing for Forces’  day at Elinor.

The Presidents Cup day again featured a superb lunch-time BBQ thanks to Gary and Jane How, and Lisa.

The “Invicta Floating Line Competition sponsored by Snowbee” at Grafham in July organisation was taken over by Gary How, well supported by Jane.  Invicta B finished 2nd, and were top local team and won several individual local prizes. Lawson Wight shared the best boat.

GWFFA re-introduced their own Floating Line Competition (see Newsletter 166). It was fished at Grafham in May, with 10 teams taking part.  Invicta entered 2 teams. The ‘Invicta Blue’ team finished 3rd and Invicta ‘Pink’ finished 7th. Mike Smith caught the best fish of the day overall and Mark Haycock was top rod overall.

GWFFA vs Invicta Match. This new match was won by Invicta. John Mees was top rod.

In the Grand Max at Bewl the Invicta team came 4th their best result to date.

In the AMFC Invicta A finished 2nd in Group 2 and Invicta B finished 3rd in Group 4.

Invicta A won the AMFC Fun Day at Pitsford.

Chris McLeod, Mark Haycock and Peter Hartley entered the England Eliminators. Mark did not progress further but Peter and Chris got to the National Final at Rutland but failed to qualify further.

Jane How, Gary’s wife, won the Invicta Trophy for bravely overcoming illness and for her support of the Club, particularly on the Snowbee Floating Line competition and for the Club barbecues.

Mark Searle and Dave Burgess won the Phillips competition for the second successive year.

Dave Barker sadly died after a long illness. He was a brilliant angler and an inventive fly-tyer (the deer-hair, floating fry pattern – the ‘Spondoolie’ was his invention). He fished for England.

Autumn/Winter programme 2013 speakers: The programme organisation was taken on by Peter Oldham. Wendy Gibson (Fly-tying), Chris McLeod (Grafham), Mick Huffer (Fly-tying), Martin Cottis (Bristol – fishing with light tackle), Cliff Waters (Fishypics).


The AGM 2014 was held on 20th February. Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman: Andy Newman,
Secretary: Paul Stevens,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: John Caldwell.

The Club had 79 members.

The Annual Dinner2014 was held on 22nd February at St Neots Golf Club.

Winter/spring programme 2014 speakers:  Social evening Arundel Hotel, Philip Sheridan (Tenkara); Stuart Ilsley/Marion Sweeney (Eyebrook). James Lewis (Angling Trust), Adrian Freer (Autopsies, etc), Chris’ Quiz.

Paul Heavens & Andy Newman took over the administration of the website.

David Moore was awarded the position of Life Vice President of the Angling Trust for his services on the Board from 1969.

Summer 2014:

Chris McLeod, Bobbie Worker, Gary How and Kieran Caulfield relinquished their positions in EYFA when it was handed over to the Angling Trust. No Invicta anglers were involved in EYFA competitions.

Invicta won the Pilgrimage for the 3rd time in history (whoopee! & thanks to Simon Sells).

In the AMFC, (re-organised into 3 Groups), Invicta A finished 3rd in Group 2; Invicta B finished 6th in Group 3.

The Evening League became a combined Invicta/GWFFA event organised by the Grafham wardens.

In the Snowbee Inter-Club Floating Line competition at Grafham, 16 teams entered.  Invicta entered 3 teams.  Invicta B were runners-up and also won the Old Interclub Trophy for best local team.  Invicta C came 3rd.  John Mees was top rod overall and shared the best boat.

In the Grand Max competition at Bewl the Invicta team finished 8th.

Invicta entered 2 teams, (John Mees/Mark Haycock and Chris McLeod/Peter Hartley), in the Sierra Pairs competition. Both pairs reached the Final and came 10th and 15th respectively.

Joan Russell, Mark Haycock, and Peter Hartley entered the England Eliminators. Joan got through to the National Final at Rutland but did not qualify further. Mark & Peter did not progress beyond the Eliminators.

Graham Williams and Dave Burgess won the Phillips competition.

Paul Heavens fished the Tauranga Taupo river in New Zealand.

A  Fishing for Forces day was planned but cancelled due to a lack of volunteers.

Hanningfield became an ‘any-method’ fishery.

Peter Oldham organised a river-fishing trip to Derbyshire and also attended a lunch at the House of Lords in recognition of his support for Fishing for Forces.  Later in the year he fished off Madiera.

Bob Ayres and Steve Middleton were jointly awarded the Invicta Trophy for their support of the Club over many years.

John Mees left his position as Senior Warden at Grafham Water. John, a Club member and very good angler who often represented the Club in competitions, was thanked for all his support of Invicta over the years.

Autumn/winter programme 2014 speakers: John Emerson (Rivers); Chris Reeves (Fly Dressers Guild), Mick O’Farrell, Steve Peterson (Tackle), Allan Sefton (Fishing Christmas Island).


The AGM 2015 was held on 19th February.  Officers elected were:-

President: Norman Shippey,
Chairman: Andy Newman,
Secretary: Paul Stevens,
Treasurer: Alan Prevost,
Bookings Officer: Mark Searle.

Over the past year membership increased from 79 to 93.

Several anglers have joined from other Clubs attracted by the varied activities, and hopefully the friendly atmosphere, offered by the Club.

The Annual Dinner 2015 was held on 21st February at St Neots Golf Club. Norman Shippey, our President, despite illness, presented the prizes.

Winter/Spring programme 2015 speakers: Social evening Arundel Hotel, Stuart Illsley (Eyebrook Tackle) & Hannah Palmer (Grafham),  Graham Williams (Canada) & Oscar Boatfield (Guiding), Steve Cooper (Cookswill Fly-Tying), Chris’ Quiz.

Summer 2015:

The Pilgrimage was fished at Grafham.

In the AMFC David Moore took on the role of team organiser. Invicta A finished 2nd in Group 2 and Invicta B finished 5th in Group 3.

A  ‘Fishing for Forces’ event was planned for Elinor but last-minute troop deployments caused cancellation.

18 teams entered the “Invicta Inter-Club Floating Line Competition sponsored by Snowbee” at Grafham in May.  Invicta entered 4 teams. Invicta‘Variants’ came 4th and Invicta ‘Muddlers’ came 6th. Kieran Bonas was placed 4th overall, with John Mees 6th.

Invicta provided 5 boatmen for the EYFA Loch style Championship, coupled with the AT’s England Youth Qualifier, at Grafham in May.

The GWFFA v Invicta match, which was incorporated with Presidents Cup day at Grafham, was again won by Invicta.

In the Grand Max at Bewl the Invicta team finished 15th.

Joan Russell, Peter Hartley, Mark Haycock, Chris McLeod and Gary How entered the initial England Eliminators. Only Joan went through to a National Final (Bewl) but did not qualify further.

Mark Haycock & ‘A N Other’ entered the Sierra Pairs and reached the Final.

Autumn/winter programme 2015 speakers: John Parker (Weather effects), Phil Holding (The Fly-tying Boutique), Dave Southall (River fishing), Peter Cockwill (Arctic Grayling),  Jack Perks (underwater photography).

Norman Shippey, our President, sadly died on 29th November 2015 in the Arthur Rank Hospice, Cambridge. He joined the Club almost at its inception in spring 1976 and had been a member for over 39 years. He was majorly involved throughout those years – serving as Treasurer (5 years), Secretary (13 years) and latterly President (nearly 9 years) – over 27 years in all. In addition, over the years, he inaugurated and variously organised the Club Newsletters, the Winter meetings, including the  speakers, the ‘Pilgrimage’, and our involvement with the Fenland Country Fair. A special Newsletter (No 177) was produced in tribute to Norman in December to mark his massive contribution to Invicta over the years. The Club were well represented at his funeral.

Winter/spring programme 2016 speakers: Social evening at Arundel Hotel; Peter Waterhouse (Vices!!/Scottie Range), Jon Marshall (AWA), Paul Knight & Tim Gaunt-Baker (Salmon & Trout Conservation UK), Chris’s Quiz.

The ‘East Midlands Federation’ was wound up – responsibilities being mainly passed to Angling Trust. Invicta will continue to liaise with key local groups.

David Jones a founder member of the club in 1976, completed 40 seasons and was awarded the Invicta Trophy in recognition.


The AGM was held on 18th February 2016. A minute’s silence was observed in memory of our late President Norman Shippey. Officers elected were:-

President: Bob Ayres,
Chairman; Andy Newman,
Secretary: Paul Stevens,
Treasurer/Membership Secretary: Alan Prevost,
Booking Officer:  Mark Searle.

At a committee meeting on the same day it was decided to inaugurate an annual bank competition, the ‘Norman Shippey Memorial Match’, in honour of our late President, for a new trophy – the Norman Shippey Memorial Trophy (see below). Club membership has fallen back to 71 – hopefully more will re-join as the actual fishing season and the Evening League gets under way.

The Annual Dinner was held on 27th February at St Neots Golf Club.

Hannah Palmer and several other staff announced that they were leaving Grafham Water.

On 16th March the first Norman Shippey Memorial Match was held. The intended venue was Elinor but coloured water necessitated a last minute move to Grafham. 16 anglers took part. The trophy, for the heaviest 6 fish bag was won by Mick Thorpe with 3 fish for 6lb. Paul Stevens won the pools money for the biggest fish with a rainbow of 3lb 5oz.

On the 5th April the Club reached its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion an Anniversary Match was organised at Pitsford on Wednesday 6th April to coincide with the Carr Cup day. Despite a weather forecast for high winds, which was completely justified, 28 anglers turned out for a very social day – a great achievement. Some enjoyed a communal breakfast before everyone was treated to an excellent free lunch in the lodge. At the weigh-in Andy Newman secured the tankards for the best bag and the biggest fish. Peter Hartley came 2nd, with Steve Ottridge 3rd. David Jones, our only founder member attended and caught several fish. On a day when fish came mostly to deep fished buzzers or ‘lures’, 13 anglers secured 6-fish limits for the match, with 9 of these attaining the 8-fish limit for maximum Carr Cup points. Particular thanks to Mark Searle for organising the day. Finally it was great to see Graham Williams with us for the day and our best wishes go to Pauline and Andy Linwood.

The club has 89 members.

In April Peter Hartley’s casting clinics attracted 17 anglers over 3 weeks.

The Bob Church Open was held at Grafham in April. Five members fished but none were placed.

Pauline Linwood, wife of member Andy, and regular attendee of our annual dinner sadly lost her battle with illness and died on 24th April.

On 7th May the Invicta Floating Line Competition (sponsored by Snowbee) was held at Grafham. Thirteen teams of 4 competed with Invicta fielding 3 teams. The competition was won by Bewl Marauders with Invicta Muddlers 3rd. Graham Bodsworth finished in 7th place and won the trophy for the Best Local Angler.

On 25th May HRH the Duke of Edinburgh visited Grafham Water to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reservoir – literally 50 years after he carried out the opening ceremony.  He also opened the new Diddington storage reservoir and pumping station.  Invicta were represented.

The annual Pilgrimage was held on 27th May at Grafham. Results were:-  1st Leslie, 2nd Llanilar, 3rd Invicta. Invicta B won the 4-man trophy.

In June, Tony Smith won the Alex Booth Memorial match at Draycote.

The Presidents Cup competition was fished at Grafham in July. Mark Searle won. East Midlands TFA took the team prize, 2nd were Invicta and 3rd GWFFA.

England Loch-style (TEFF): A record 7 anglers, Joan Russell (at Chew) and Dave Bromley, Peter Hartley, Mark Haycock, Gary How, Chris McLeod, David Moore, Mark Searle & Dave Summers (at Grafham) fished the England Qualifiers. Mark Haycock, Dave Bromley & Dave Summers were successful at this stage. In the National Final at Chew all three qualified to fish for the England squad in 2017 – Mark finishing 4th overall. The Grafham qualifier match was fished in a horrendous wind (boats should not have been on the water), with large waves. Chris McLeod was paired with a very, very large angler, shipped an unsafe quantity of water into the boat but thankfully managed to make it to the North shore, where they were rescued and returned to the lodge in a van!!

In the AMFC ‘Invicta A’ finished Champions of Group 2 and gained promotion to Group 1 for 2017

Peter Oldham & Joan Russell attended a Lunch at the House of Lords in appreciation of Peter’s involvement with the Fishing for Forces charity. Peter also moved to Cheshire – we thank him for his past and continued involvement with Invicta.

Invicta were represented at the Fenland Fair in August, with John Caldwell organising.

Honorary Club member Henry Lowe died in November. He joined Invicta in 1980 and was Club President from 1990 to 1994 inclusive. He fished the early Federation competitions and also won several of the Club trophies over the years. In later years he qualified as an instructor and was the resident instructor at Grafham for several years. He wrote or co-wrote 8 guides on trout fishing and fishing local trout waters.

Sadly Tony Bevan, Llanilar & Welsh Captain and good friend of Invicta Pilgrimage members died.

In November, several Invicta members fished in a social match between Local Clubs and the Army/RAF. The match was won by the Army/RAF but our man Chris McLeod was the top rod.

John Reynolds completed 40 seasons with Invicta.

Autumn/ winter programme: Invicta A team; Russell Hill -Trout Fisherman; Steve Johnson – Elinor Fishery (Fly -tying); Charles Jardine – Fishing 4 Schools.

Some Final thoughts after 40 years:

To sum up, over the years Invicta FFC has been, and hopefully will continue to be, a friendly, enthusiastic and very committed Club. Lots of our members have stayed with us for many years. Indeed we are fortunate that, in reaching the 40th milestone, several of the original members who either founded the club* in April 1976 or joined within the first weeks or months, are still active and known to the Club. They are:- David Jones* , Peter Yorke and Colin Brett. Other ‘early joins’, most of whom are still members and have completed long-term membership are:- over 35 years :  John Reynolds, John Gale, Henry Lowe, Alan Taylor, Bob Ayres and Steve Middleton: over 30 years  Graden Smith, Andy Newman,  Mike Fletcher:  over 25 years Ian Baldock, Peter Harman,  Andy Linwood, Roger Hurren, Mike Smith, Graham Williams.

The Club is grateful for all the support given to it over its 40 year history, not only by its members but many others too, for which we offer our grateful thanks. Special thanks must go to the following:-

All club officers and in particular to ‘Mr Invicta’ Norman Shippey, who sadly missed out on attaining 40 years’ membership by 4 months; to those who have organised any of our Club events over the years and our teams for all external competitions.

Also to Norman Shippey, John Caldwell, Chris McLeod, Peter Reeves and Graham Williams (Newsletter Editors),  David Jones (for being the Club’s first secretary and meticulously writing up summaries of Speakers’ talks over the life of the Club), Colin Brett, Matt Willatt, Paul Heavens, and Andy Newman (Website),  AWA/AWS, John Mees , Hannah Palmer and the staff for their valued support, Norman Shippey, Bob Ayres and Steve Middleton (Pilgrimage), Norman Shippey, David Hardick, John Caldwell and teams (Fenland Fair), Norman Shippey, Bob Ayres and Alan Prevost (Club Annual Dinners), Steve Middleton, Alan Taylor and Bob Ayres  (variously early barbecues,  bars and Dinner entertainment), our representatives on the ‘Federation’ of Midland Fly Fishing, Alan Taylor and John Krailing (Club auditors), Mark Searle (Arundel Hotel function), Henry Lowe and Peter Hartley (Casting Clinics), Chris McLeod (Quizzes), Paul Stevens (winter draw & current Secretary) and not least Jane How and Jacky Jenkins (recent barbecues).

The Club would also thank to thank anyone who has volunteered, on behalf of Invicta, to help any other person or organisation to further the Club’s name.
We look forward to many more happy and successful years for Invicta FFC.

Go to Top of Page

Section 3

The next era, 40 years and onwards….


Paul Heavens arranged for the website to be hosted by Richard Berry of Desktop Logic. Paul remains as website administrator and David Moore took over from Andy Newman as second website author.

Winter / Spring programme:  Alan Briggs – his father’s fishing life; AW (Jon Marshall & Angela Tarry); AGM: Allan Sefton -Bone fishing; Chris McCleod -quiz.

The social evening at the Arundel Hotel was held on 5th January. Thanks again go to Mark Searle.

Arthur Sexton, who celebrated 95 years of age in January and attended the Arundel social, retired from fishing and donated his tackle to the club. From the proceeds a new trophy has been purchased to be awarded for the most fish caught in the annual autumn Fur & Feather match.

The AGM was held on 16th February 2017. A minute’s silence was observed in memory of Hon. member Henry Lowe. Andy Newman resigned from the role of Chairman and was thanked for his input over the past 4 years and elected to Honorary Membership. Officers elected were:- President – Bob Ayres, Chairman – Mark Searle, Secretary – Paul Stevens; Treasurer/Membership secretary – Alan Prevost;  Bookings Officer – Mark Searle. Other posts: Club Captain – Mark Searle, Hon Auditor- John Krailing; Newsletter Editor- Graham Williams.

The annual dinner was held  on February 24th at St Neot’s Golf Club.

The Club has 85 members.

Club Newsletter: After 41 years it was decided to cease publication of the Newsletter. It was felt that the website now covers most of the members’ needs.  Thanks to Graham Williams for taking over for last 3 years.

In April the Club produced its final 2 Newsletters – the standard one No 193 edited by Graham Williams, who is standing down due to his failing health, and No 193a – A ‘Pilgrimage Special’ produced by Steve Middleton, who remains in rude health , an appropriate term. The first Newsletter was produced soon after the formation of the Club in 1976. The Committee felt that technology, mainly in the form of our website, ably managed by Paul Heavens, covers the needs of the membership in the modern era.

England Loch-style (TEFF): As in 2016, 7 anglers fished the Qualifiers. Chris McCleod, Mark Haycock (Grafham), Peter Hartley, Mark Mathieson (Pitsford), and Dave Summers (Chew) qualified to fish in the Final at Rutland in September. David Moore and Joan Russell sadly did not qualify. In the Final only Mark Mathieson qualified for the England team squad for 2018.

Mark Haycock, Dave Summers and ex-member Dave Bromley fished in the England team which won the 2017 Spring Home International at Chew.

On 22nd April Invicta again hosted the Snowbee Interclub Floating Line Match at Grafham. A great team effort, led particularly by Gary How and Paul Stevens ensured the day went very well. A record 18 teams entered, including 4 from Invicta. Although ‘Invicta 1’ only managed 3rd place overall, they did win the Top Local Team trophy. ‘Invicta 2’ finished 6th. Keith Gilchrist was top rod on the day and featured in the best boat. Our thanks go to Simon Kidd of Snowbee, Angela and her staff at Grafham, plus Invicta volunteer helpers.

On 14th May, one of our lady Anglers, Joan Russell, was top lady in the Bob Church Classic – finishing 35th out of 106 top female and male anglers.  About the same time Sue Potts, a wonderfully enthusiastic Club angler, was trying to overcome her fear of boat-handling by taking a boat out single handed in a 14 knot wind. Sue, who doesn’t really like trout in any shape or form, actually caught a fish and was therefore forced to deal with it.  Well done ladies!

The annual Pilgrimage was fished at Grafham on the 26 May in hot, sunny conditions. Leslie finished 1st, ‘Invicta A’ 2nd and Llanilar 3rd.  Mick Facey finished 2nd overall and Paul Heavens caught the biggest fish (4-15). Gary How’s expensive rod and reel, were rescued from the deep by judicious sinking-line casting, by Paul Cushnie. Thanks to Steve for arranging the event.

In May Eyebrook Reservoir was taken over by Ifor Jones of Draycote fame.

June, Chris McLeod won the Alex Booth Memorial match at Draycote.

On Sunday 9th July, in the Carr Cup day at Grafham, Club President Bob Ayres surprisingly and appropriately won the Invicta Presidents Cup.

The Tuesday Evening League proved ever more popular with up to 23 members attending.

Chris McLeod and Gary How fished the Alex Booth Charity Shield at Draycote for the Macmillan Cancer Relief Fund. Chris was top rod.

On 9th August an Invicta team (Chris McLeod, David Moore, Mark Searle and guest Tony Smith) won the Anglian Water 4-man Teams Competition at Rutland. They beat 12 crack teams, catching 80lb 5oz – winning by 11 ounces. Well done lads!

In the AMFC, Invicta A & B both finished runners-up in their respective Groups 1 and 3.

Invicta attended the Fenland Fair in August, with thanks to John Caldwell, Leigh Fidell (fly-casting coach) and helpers.

On 29th August four Club members independently entered the East Midlands TFA 50th Anniversary Pairs Competition at Grafham. Paul Heavens & Jeff Hickson were runners-up and Chris McLeod & Matt Willatt came 3rd. (Winners Rob Edmunds and Pat Sweeney)

On 29th October a 6-man Invicta team won the Hinkley Shield, a bank competition at Grafham water for the first time since the inception of the trophy match in 1977. Catching over 80lb total weight, they narrowly beat GWFFA by about 2lb. Graham Bodsworth was top rod and Keith Gilchrist caught the heaviest fish.

On 25th November the Army/RAF team again beat the Locals in the now annual competition at Grafham.

Shrimpmasters’ event: Several members have attended the inaugural ‘league’ of 5 bank matches organised by Mark Haycock at Grafham from November to February.

John Reynolds completed 40 seasons with Invicta. John Brownbridge was 80 this year. Congratulations to both of them.

Autumn/Winter Programme: A review of the season; Kye Jerrom – Environmental Agency; Simon Bath – Managing a stillwater; Panel evening with David Moore, Keith Gilchrist and Peter de Kremer.

Chris McLeod was President of the England Fly Fishing Association for 2017.


Bob Ayres, Graden Smith , Alan Taylor 35 enter their 35th season with Invicta. John Gale resigned from the Club due to ill health.

Winter / Spring programme:  Andrew Flitcroft (Editor T & S) / EGM & AGM & Anglian Water update. There was no quiz this year. Chris McLeod‘hung up his boots’ after many good years.

A successful social evening was held at the Arundel Hotel on 4th January.

Fly-tying and casting clinics were held at Grafhamwith Peter Hartley -organised by Paul Stevens.

On 19thJanuary Prince Edwardopened the new Arthur Rank Hospice at Great Shelford. He visited Club stalwart Graham Williams who is suffering from MNDwhich was diagnosed in January 2016.Graham resigned from the Committee in February and donated ‘ The Graham Williams Trophy’  which will be fished for at the first boat match of the season. The Committee agreed to a suggestion by Graham that the Arthur Rank Hospice should be the beneficiary of an Invicta Charityfor 2018.

After the final round (4) of the Shrimpmasters event at Grafham on January 28th, Invicta members Chris McLeod & Mark Mathieson finished joint 6th.

Bob Ayres arranged for original Club Newsletters from 1976 to 2001 and other early Club paperwork to be scanned to PDF files.

The Annual Dinner was held on 24th February at the Arundel Hotel. Trophies were presented. Alan Prevost was awarded a Life Membership in honour of his work as Club Treasurer (16 years), Annual Dinner organiser (10 years).

24th February: a booklet entitled ‘Grafham Water – a bank anglers’ guide’, written by Brian Calvert (GWFFA) in collaboration with Stuart Stenning-White (Grafham lodge) and Chris McLeod, was published.

15th March: An EGM & AGM was held, 25 members attended. The main proposals carried at the EGM were to allow flexibility on (a) the date of the AGM in future and (b) the number of winter meetings. It was also agreed that the number of members required to form a quorum at the AGM should be reduced to 12%.

At the AGM the following officers were elected.

President: Bob Ayres, Chairman: Mark Searle, Secretary: Paul Stevens

Treasurer/ Membership secretary: Alan Prevost, Bookings Officer: Mark Searle. Hon Auditor, John Krailing. The Club has 80 members.

24th March: John Brown won the Norman Shippey Memorial Trophy at Elinor – his first trophy since he joined the Club in 1998. Alan Prevost took a dive into the lake!

3rd April: Carr Cupat Pitsford, new member Tony Smith won the inaugural competition for the Graham Williams Trophy.

14th April: The Snowbee Floating Line Match was held at Grafham with a record entry of 19 teams on an unseasonably sunny, flat calm day. Invicta entered 4 teams. Winners were the Reelmen. Invicta Blue (Mark Searle, Mark Haycock, Dave Summers and Martin Rowson) finished 2ndand won the trophy for ‘Top Local Team’. Graham Bodsworth caught the heaviest bag, and Alex Urquhart the biggest fish.

29th April: several Invicta anglers entered the England Loch Style qualifier at Rutland. Only Mark Haycock was successful.

10th May: Tony Smith won the East Midlands Police Qualifier at Carsington to fish the Police Nationals next year.

11th May: Mark Mathieson fished for the England team which came 3rd in the Spring Loch Style Home International fished at Loch Mask, Ireland.

14thMay: Chris McLeod& Mark Searle won the Philips Pairsat Eyebrook.

16thJune: an Invicta Club team re-entered the prestigious 70 team AW Airflo International Competition and fished the Regional Heat at Grafham. The 6-man team, led by David Moore, were one of only a few Club teams in the Competition and the only unsponsored team on the day. They finished a creditable 5th out 6 but missed out on qualifying for the Regional Final. Club members Mark Mathieson and Dave Summers (Musketeers) and Mark Haycock (Draycote Rio Masters) progressed with their teams to the Final, but did not finish amongst the prizes.

Tuesday Evening League proved popular – that is until the summer weather decided to break temperature records! Upto 30 anglers per week had been fishing upto Week 5. On that evening 30 anglers caught a record 177 fish, a rod average of 5.9 and no blanks.  Between then and 11th August temperatures were regularly 25 to 35 degrees. Reasonable catches were caught up to week 8 but with water temperatures increasing to over 20 deg catch numbers decreased. On week 9 (10th July) 21 anglers failed to catch a single fish, itself a record for any competition on Grafham. The same occurred on week 11 when 7 anglers failed to catch.  Finally the temperatures dropped on Aug 10th with appreciable rainfall on that day. On the final week (14) 24 anglers netted 28 fish mostly from the North Tower. Ray Storer finished as Evening League Champion with Keith Gilchrist 2nd.

By mid-season Club membership had increased to 86 members.

1st August: New junior member William Crawford, who had already been reserve for the England team in 2017 and who was also successful in the qualifier at Draycote, was in the England Youth team which came a close 2nd to Scotland in the Home international at Draycote. William was awarded the Rose Bowl forthe top England rod and caught the largest fish.

Aug 8th: Invicta entered 2 teams in the Anglian Water 4-man loch-style competition at Rutland. 7 teams entered. With highwater temperatures the rod average was 0.5. Gary How caught the only 2 fish for Invicta A, including the biggest fish on the day, and Tony Smith the only fish for Invicta Gold. The winners were Fish Hawks with 4 fish. Renegades came 2nd with 3 fish.

August Bank Holiday: Invicta attended the Fenland Country Fair at Quy thanks to John Caldwell and helpers. This will be the last year that Invicta attend. The Club had begun attending in 1990 and 2018 was our 29th year.

1st September: Joan Russell caught the biggest fish (3lb 15oz) at the Anglers World  Fishing Championships at Chew to win a holiday at Mount Falcon Estate, County Mayo. Joan received praise in September for her help with the Smile for a Child charity at Meon Springs.

15th& 16thSeptember: Mark Haycock came 20th in the Loch-style National final at Grafham to qualify as a reserve for the England squad in 2019.

AMFC: Invicta A finished champions of Group 1 – the first time since 1991. Invicta B finished 3rd in Group 3.

Sat 20th Oct: (Grafham) and Sun 21st (Rutland) the traditional ‘Fry-bash’ event.  93 anglers entered, including 6 from Invicta. Mark Searle was our top rod finishing 16th, Gary How 22nd. Junior member William Crawford also fished very well. A 12lb 10oz rainbow was caught at Rutland – the biggest this season. Henry Russell from Leslie was the overall winner to take the Tony Bevan Trophy.

28th October: 54 anglers (9 teams of 6) fished the Hinkley Shield at Grafham. Invicta entered 2 teams. Invicta A won the competition with Invicta B in 5th place. Keith Gilchrist caught the biggest bag and the biggest fish.

3rd November: Chris McLeod won the Arthur Sexton Trophy at Elinor.

24th November: the Locals won the 3rd Locals v Army/RAF bank competition at Grafham. 24 anglers entered, fishing was very slow and only 9 anglers weighed in the 17 fish caught.  Ray Storer was top rod with 4 fish.

20th December: club member and stalwart Graham Williams died at the Arthur Rank Hospice after battling MND. He was an excellent angler and Clubman. He will be remembered for all the right reasons.


 2019 marks Steve Middleton’s 35th season with Invicta.

3rd January:  our usual social evening was held at the Arundel Hotel. It was a special occasion as a cheque for £1150.17, raised by Invicta members the Arthur Rank Hospice in recognition of the care that Club member Graham Williams.

The 2018/19 autumn/winter Shrimpmasters competition at Grafham was won by Steve Cracknell ( GWFFA) (37 fish), with Invicta’s  Chris McLeod 2nd and Dayood Sheik 3rd.

8th January:  ex Club member John Sears died aged 84; a knowledgeable angler and enthusiastic fly-tier.

29th January: ex Club member John Gale died aged 87; a prolific angler, sportsman, writer and a great character.

23rd February:  The Annual Dinner was held on for the first time at the Wheatsheaf in Perry. A record 55 members and guests attended.

21st March:  The AGM was held. The following officers were elected. President: Bob Ayres, Chairman: Mark Searle, Secretary: Paul Stevens, Treasurer/ Membership secretary: Alan Prevost, Bookings Officer: Mark Searle. Hon Auditor, John Krailing. Steve Harding joined the committee as Membership Secretary.

4th May:  in blustery conditions the Snowbee Inter-club Floating Line Comp was held at Grafham.  Invicta fielded 5 teams. Our best team ‘Fly by Nights’  (Mark Searle, Mark Mathieson, Dave Summers & Keith Gilchrist) won handsomely with Mark Mathieson top rod overall.

May 23/24th:  the Pilgrimage was again held at Grafham.  Leslie (Scotland) won, with Invicta 2nd & Llanilar 3rd. Leslie also won the 4-man team trophy.

Mark Searle & Chris McLeod won the Phillips Pairs competition at Eyebrook.

Also in May several Invicta members entered the England Qualifiers. Gary How and Tony Smith failed to qualify automatically but will fish in their respective repercharges in July.

A total of 52 fished the Evening League with 32 attending on the busiest evening.  Rob Edmunds finished top of the league and Keith Gilchrist being the top Invicta rod.

2nd June: an Invicta 6-man team came 3rd in the Midlands heat of the AW Airflo International competition at Grafham and thus qualified for the Midlands Final again at Grafham on 22nd July. Peter Hartley caught the biggest fish on the day. In the Final the team failed to qualify.

27th June: 7 Invicta anglers entered the Alex Booth Memorial charity match at Draycote which raises funds for Macmillan Nurses. Peter Hartley finished runner up and 4 other were in the top places.

William Crawford fished in the England team which came 4th in the Home International at Lake Mentieth.

England Ladies Samantha (Sam) Edmunds, wife of ‘legend’ Rob decided to join Invicta FFC. We welcome her to the Club, along with Rob’s son Albert Coales.  Sam kicked off successfully by winning the Presidents Cup at Grafham on the 30th June.

7th July:  Alan Wyatt, one of our founder members from 197 died aged 92. He was a member for only a few years. He was awarded an MBE for his council work. He and his wife fostered over 100 children.

21st July: Tony Smith came 7th in the AW TEFF England loch-style repercharge at Draycote to win a place in the National Final at Chew. Sadly Gary How failed to qualify in his repercharge at Grafham.

22nd July:  an Invicta team fished in the AW Aiflo Midlands Final at Grafham but did not qualify for the National final.

31st August:  Invicta entered 2 teams in the AW 4-man Team Event at Rutland. Fishing was hard but Invicta Gold came third with Invicta Platinum unplaced.

1st September: Sam Edmunds and Sue Potts (Sue fishing her first ever entry) fished in the qualifying Ladies National Final at Rutland. Sam won the event and the National Trophy with Sue coming 3rd from 16 anglers.

15th September: Invicta offered some financial support for the England Youth National Lochstyle event which was being held at Grafham for the first time for several years. 8 club members also acted as boatmen on the day. 2 Invicta members Albert Coales and Tom Crawford (younger brother of Invicta member William)  fished. Albert finished 3rd and both qualified to fish in the England Youth squad to fish in Ireland in 2020. David Moore initiated getting Invicta involved in this event.

The final matches of the AMFC were fished at Bewl in October. Sadly neither team has fished really well over the season. The A team, promoted recently from Group 2 to Group 1, finished bottom of the group and will be relegated to Group 2 for 2020, whilst the B team will remain in Group 3. David Moore organised our teams again this season and also won the Biggest Fish Trophy for the season thanks to a 7- pounder at Rutland Water.

17th October: we heard via David Moore that AW had just announced changes to their season ticket structure for 2020, which might have affected matches including the Tuesday Evening League (bronze ticket to become Economy with only 1 fish kill). A satisfactory outcome was negotiated with Anglian Water with the introduction of a new Economy plus ticket (4 fish kill).

19th Oct:  (Grafham)  and Sun 20th Oct (Rutland) saw the traditional ‘Fry-bash’ event. As 2019, 93 anglers entered overall, including 6 from Invicta. Chris McLeod was our top rod finishing 23rd with 8 fish. Sean Hanlon was the overall winner with 15 fish for 39lb, to take the Tony Bevan Trophy.

Junior member Albert Coales caught a magnificent 8lb 5oz Brownie from Pitsford, this wins him the Brown Trout Trophy.
Dave Summers caught a 6lb 10oz Rainbow at Rutland which won him the Beecroft Shield.

27th Oct:  In the Hinkley Shield, Invicta A team came 3rd, with the B team 5th.
The Locals Army match, Grafham ( 30 Nov) was cancelled due to troop deployments.

Shrimpmaster matches were fished at Grafham in Nov & Dec.
The year ended with 92 members.


Steve Middleton has completed 35 years with Invicta & Alan Prevost 20. The Club has 95 members (January), 2 notable members, Peter Oldham who now lives in Cheshire, and Joan  Russell, did not rejoin, we welcomed Rob Edmunds amongst other new-joins.

9th January: 26 members gathered at the Arundel Hotel for the annual winter social evening.

12th January: the final round of the Grafham Shrimpmasters was fished, Mark Haycock was the overall winner.

From the proceeds of the 2019 sweepstakes, a sum of £284 was donated to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity with £120 donated to support England Youth Fly Fishing.

We held the usual pre-season fly -tying and casting tuition sessions at Grafham.

In January, Alan Wyatt, a founder Club Member died.

Also in January, reports from China of a serious ‘new viral illness ’COVID-19   affecting thousands. Little did we realise at that time the implications on the fishing season and life in general. By the end of January many countries were affected and the first cases were confirmed in the UK.

22nd February: 41 members and guests attended the 43rd Annual Dinner at Grafham Water Sailing Club. The venue was changed at the last minute when Bourn Golf Club let us down.

The winter/spring programme was Rob Edmunds (with Albert Coales). The proposed AGM & AW. (Angela Tarry) meeting was cancelled due to the virus.

25th February: Arthur Sexton, our oldest member died aged 98. He joined in 1990 and was an active member. In 2007 he was awarded both Life Membership of the Club and the Invicta Trophy. In 2017 he donated a Trophy to be fished annually in autumn ‘Fur & Feather’ bank match.

29th February: ex Club member Ian Baldock died. He joined Invicta in 1979 and was in the early Invicta teams. He was in a team that won 2 major competitions in Ireland in 1977 & 1978. He partnered his good friend John Gale to 14 wins in the Phillips Trophy. He left Invicta in 2004 and later his widow Hazel donated his extensive collection of fishing tackle to the Club.

In February the Covid-19 virus spread rapidly throughout the world and was declared a pandemic.

In early March Albert Coales caught an 11lb 3oz rainbow from Pitsford.

Also in March the EU and UK imposed serious restrictions on travel and on local movement. By the end of the month virtually all forthcoming large gatherings were postponed or cancelled. As a result, the AGM due to take place on 26 March was postponed until the autumn.

Mark Searle stood down as Chairman. Allan Sefton took on the role of provisional Chairman, until ratification could take place at an AGM. John Krailing announced his retirement after 19 years as Club Auditor with Malcolm Reece taking his place.

23rd March: the Club committee decided that the health of its members was paramount and cancelled the Floating Line and Pilgrimage competitions and early rounds of the Carr Cup and Evening League. At the same time AW announced the total closure of all their fisheries

The Angling Trust & AW cancelled all events for the season. This particularly affected Albert Coales, Tom Crawford (jnrs) and Sue Potts the chance to fish for their respective England teams.

21st March: the spring bank match at Elinor went ahead with Albert Coales to winning the Norman Shippey Memorial Trophy.

2nd April:  our good Pilgrimage friend George (‘Geordie’) Brown from Leslie AC, Scotland died.

John Reynolds, a member since 1978 was awarded a Life Membership and Alan Taylor an Honorary Membership.

The Carr Cup days in April, May & June (Pitsford, Ravensthorpe & Eyebrook) were cancelled.

As the virus receded in late May/early June, fisheries reopened with restrictions in place. Albert Coales celebrated by catching a 26lb Koi carp from Grafham.

5th July: the first Carr Cup match was held at Grafham in very windy conditions with Sam Edmunds winning the President’s Cup.

8th August: new member Sam Smith won the Carl Hunter Bowl at the Draycote Carr Cup match.

23rd August: an informal ‘local Clubs’ interclub match was held at Rutland Water, with Invicta team 1st, Rutland Water team 2nd and GWFFA team 3rd.

September13th: the 3rd Carr Cup match (Rutland), where record catches for a Carr Cup day were recorded. Albert Coales 39 fish, with his father Rob Edmunds catching 35.

Also in September the Club achieved a membership of 100 – the first time since 1994 (106).

October 6th:  With lockdown measures in place the AGM was postponed for a second time.

The final Carr Cup match took place and was won by Albert Coales. He won the Graham Williams Trophy which was held over from the cancelled Pitsford match.  Sam Edmunds was leading in the Carr Cup going into the final match, but fell out of the boat into cold water. She then rejoined after drying out but was unable to prevent stepson Albert taking the trophy.

October 10th:  two new members Rob Wheeldon & Pete Skelton won the Carsington Open.

October 31st:  Invicta entered 4 teams into the 6 man team Hinckley Shield. Two teams contained one non-member brought in makeup team numbers. Invicta E was declared the winning team with non-Invicta member Andrew Scott from that team being declared the top rod. At this point there was an accusation of ‘pooling’ of fish for the winning bag. This was unproven and the competition organiser declared that the result should stand.

6th December: The Annual Grafham ‘Shrimpmasters’ bank series held the first of its 7 matches. The series was delayed by a month due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The year ended with 108 members, the highest ever.



In January John Caldwell and Mike Smith were awarded Life Memberships in recognition of their contribution to Invicta over the years.

Jon Allan won the annual Invicta Christmas quiz.

In the absence of an AGM it was agreed by the committee that annual subscriptions should remain at £19

In early January Anglian Water announced, in line with the new Covid-19 guidelines, that fishing would not be allowed on their waters for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.  Refunds were made to season ticket holders.

January 9th, popular angler and ex- Grafham Water ranger Ray Jenkins died after a long illness. He had been a member of EFFA since 1993.

January 16th, Club member John Krailing died after a long illness. He was a well-respected and enjoyed the fishing and social within Invicta. He was Club auditor for about 25 years for which he was awarded a Hon Membership.

The final three matches of the Shrimpmasters were cancelled due to Covid 19. The results were therefore based on the first 3 rounds. Winner was Chris Williams. Best fish at 6lb 10oz Bob Aves.

No Annual Dinner was held due to Covid restrictions.

Also due to Covid 19 all International events for 2021 were cancelled, along with the Elinor spring match, the Snowbee Floating Line competition and the Pilgrimage. It was also decided that the following trophies would not be fished for this season:  the Presidents Cup, the Carl Hunter Bowl, Graham Williams trophy,  Norman Shippey trophy and Arthur Sexton trophy.

In late March/early April fishing resumed on AW and other reservoirs under Covid guidelines.  Cafe’s remained closed.

April 5th marked the 45th anniversary of the formation of Invicta FFC. Founder member David Jones is still very active within the club.

May 27th/28th, in place of the Pilgrimage,  the’ inaugural’ competition between Invicta & a newly formed group FFLR  (Fly Fishing Large Reservoirs) was fished at Grafham. FFLR won by 78 fish to 59.

June 5th Simon Peck & Tony Smith won the Blithfield Annual Charity Pairs competition.

In July several members supported the Alex Booth Memorial MacMillan Charity match at Draycote with Sam Smith 3rd, Pater Hartley 7th and Chris McLeod 9th.

July 20th Sam Edmunds & Sam Smith won their Scierra pairs heat at Draycote.  Albert Coales, Rob & Sam Edmunds and Sam Smith continued their impressive catch rate in most Club events.

August 20th a ‘Buffet Evening’ social & brief AGM was held at the Sailing Club at Grafham. The following officers were elected. President Bob Ayres, Chairman Allan Sefton, Secretary Paul Stevens, Treasurer Alan Prevost, Membership Secretary Steve Harding,  Bookings Officer Mark Searle, Hon Auditor, Malcolm Reece, Club Captain David Moore. A Life Membership was awarded to Steve Middleton for his contribution to the Club.

August 29th a 16-man Invicta team captained by Keith Gilchrist beat teams from GWFFA and RWFF to win the John Maitland Trophy at Grafham.

September 18th Sam Edmunds and Sue Potts came 4th & 5th respectively in the Ladies Loch Style International qualifier at Draycote and will be in the England Team next season. On the same day at Draycote, Albert Coales came 2nd in the England Youth qualifier to fish for the England team in 2022.
October 15th an Invicta team entered the Grand Max at Bewl but finished 11th from 13 teams, with David Moore catching our only 2 fish.

October 24th the Dave Hodgson Memorial loch-style competition was reinstated at Draycote after a 4-year break. David Moore won the event and the trophy. Funds raised support AT Team England.

October 25th At Narborough Fishery in Norfolk Paul Heavens, Mark Searle and Gary How caught 6 rainbows between 10lbs and 12lbs.

October 30th Youth member Albert Coales finished 3rd in the Toft Newton Vision Stillmaniac Classic.

October 31st An Invicta team fished the Hinckley Shield which was organised by Neil Potts on behalf of the club. Invicta did not finish amongst the prizes. Jon Allen was our top rod finishing 17th.

November 23rd Anglian Water announced that they were stopping all fishing from the dam in future on safety grounds after a walker was hooked by a back cast. Clubs are appealing the decision.

December 5th Ed Foster announced that he is ceasing running Elinor Trout Fishery, its future is unknown at this stage.

11th December Invicta members were triumphant at the Toft Newton Fur and Feather taking the top spots. 1st Chris McLeod, 2nd Tony Smith, 3rd Simon Peck.

By year-end the Club had 104 members.


John Caldwell & Chris McLeod will celebrate 30 years with the Club.
January: Winter meeting and Arundel Hotel social event cancelled due to Covid restrictions, social to be replaced in future by a Summer Buffet at Grafham Sailing Club.

January 10th reports hit the press of a 10m long fossil of a ‘sea dragon’ – an Ichthyosaur – found in the Nature Reserve at Rutland Water. Dated from 180m years ago, it was discovered and excavated in 2021.

Two big rainbows, both personal bests from Narborough; David Moore a 12lb and Roger Swain 13-11.

Shrimpmasters event 21/22:  Fraser Duffy jnr was the top Invicta rod coming 4th.

January: AW announced the total closure of Grafham dam. Discussions on-going.

February: Elinor Fishery announced re-opening on 5th March under new management of Brad & Jo Gifford.

Welshman Mike Dawnay died in February 2021 from Covid 19. He was a past member of Invicta and Welsh club Llanilar. He moved to Cambridge for a while and ran a tackle shop ‘CAST’ in Cambridge. He was instrumental in setting up the Pilgrimage event in 1986.

10th March: AGM held. The following officers were re-elected. President: Bob Ayres, Chairman: Allan Sefton; Secretary: Paul Stevens; Treasurer: Alan Prevost; Membership Secretary: Steve Harding; Bookings Officer: Mark Searle. Website and Social media: Paul Heavens; Hon Auditor: Malcolm Reece. Roger Hurren re-joined having previously been a member from 1988 to 2015 inclusive (28 years).

12th March: 40 members and guests attended the club’s 44th annual dinner at Grafham Water Sailing Club.

19th March: Invicta competition fishing resumed after Covid 19 with the Norman Shippey Memorial Trophy event at Elinor, won by Tony Smith.

10th April: The FFLR team beat Invicta by 1 fish (70 to 69) at Grafham.

5th April:  TFFF qualifier at Grafham- New member David Currie finished 4th to qualify for the National Final.

April: The family of former member Graham Williams donated a bench in his memory to be sited at Grafham Water overlooking Deep Water Point on the North shore.

30th April: The 10th anniversary Invicta/Snowbee Floating line competition was held at Grafham with a record entry of 22 teams. Invicta teams did not feature in the prizes but Gary How won the trophies for top boat, biggest fish (5-11 rainbow) and best local angler.

20th May: Simon Peck and Tony Smith won the prestigious Rolls Royce Team Trophy competition at Leighton Reservoir, Masham, N Yorks.

27th May: Sue Potts, our Ladies International angler, having qualified in 2019 for and denied Internationals in 2020 & 2021 due to Covid 19, fished in the Gold Medal winning England team at the Lake of Menteith.

On the same date, the Pilgrimage was fished at Grafham. With depleted numbers Leslie won, with Llanilar 2nd and Invicta 3rd. The social was excellent, thanks to Steve Middleton.

23rd June: 16 members fished the Alex Booth Memorial Charity Match at Draycote. Mark Searle finished 2nd with Gary How 3rd.

19th July: With a record temperature of over 40deg the Evening League was cancelled.

13th August: AW reopened Grafham dam for fishing, following a drop in water levels in the severe drought conditions.

24th August:  Andrew Bate won the Pete Hind Memorial Trophy at Carsington Water.

19th August: ex member Peter Reeves died. He was a member for 23 years (1982 to 1993 & 2001 to 2011).  He had been a committee member, Secretary, Newsletter editor and Chairman.

September: David Currie qualified in the TEFF National at Draycote to fish for the England squad in 2023, his 4th England cap.

29th September: Tony Smith was a member of the England team which finished 3rd in the Autumn Home International at Llyn Trawsfynydd, Wales. Scotland were clear winners. This was Tony’s first cap and he joins David Currie & Sue Potts in making a trio of recent England Internationals for Invicta.

19th October: The Invicta team finished 9th in the Grand Max competition at Bewl.

The John Krailing (fly-tying) trophy was launched in memory of John, a valued member and auditor of Invicta who was a keen fly-tyer.

The Ladies International competition for 2023 has been cancelled as the potential hosts Ireland are unable to organise the event. This will be the second time that Sue Potts has missed out on an International cap.

November: ex -member Dave Bromley died. He fished competitions with Invicta and was an England international.

We finished the year with 103 members.

Editor’s note:

The above history (2022) is the final one that Bob Ayres will compile. Bob has undertaken this demanding role for over 20 years with a level of outstanding dedication. Due to recent health issues Bob has sensibly decided to pass on this role and we owe him a huge deal of thanks for his work over the years. His knowledge of Invicta’s history is unrivalled. Thank you Bob.


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