Troy Chadwick - Accessibility Fishing Coordinator at Ladybower Fisheries
A registered nurse with a passion for fly fishing, Troy Chadwick discovered his dream job at Ladybower Fisheries.
Yet it was a thoughtful gift from his wife which enabled him to discover the benefits of the outdoors - transforming not just his life, but those of many others who can now enjoy fly fishing from accessible boats.
Troy says: "As a child I spent all my weekends and holidays fishing with my father, who was born disabled. He had one leg and deformities to both hands.
"We travelled to many places to go fishing in my birthplace of Sheffield and further afield but for some reason we never ventured into the Peak District, which was right on our door step.
"I qualified as a general nurse and throughout my career - of over 21 years - I travelled through the Peak District to get to other destinations. But I never stopped or really took in the views or explored what the National Park had to offer.
"As a nurse working long shifts and helping to bring up a family, my passion for fishing was put on the back burner while I concentrated on my career. I would often talk about getting back into fishing with my family but never got round to it until eight years ago. My wife bought me a beginners’ fly fishing tuition voucher with David Johnson, from Peaks Fly Fishing, which completely changed my outlook on life.
"This is when I was first introduced to Ladybower Fisheries and the Peak District - just 15 minutes away from where I live In Sheffield. The first few times I visited Ladybower, I concentrated on learning the art of fly fishing. But, when I stopped to look around me, I realised it has so much more to offer. Every time I went there, I saw something different during the seasons in such a relaxing setting.
"The Peak District became a place where I could go fishing and walking with the family and explore the historical villages in the area. The more I learned about Ladybower Reservoir and the Peak District National Park from the people that I met whilst fishing, the more I wanted to get involved.
"In 2016, I started volunteering at the Fisheries with a goal to raise the profile of fishing for people with disabilities. Ladybower Fisheries had recently launched its first wheelchair accessible boat, which was part-funded by the Wheelyboat Trust alongside Accessible Derbyshire and many other people and businesses in the Peak District.
"The response was amazing. The water was opened up to people with all types of disabilities, some who’d thought they would never be able to take up fishing from a boat and others who could now continue fishing from a boat after a life changing event.
"In 2018, I was contacted by Terry Moseley from the British Disabled Angling Association (BDAA) who had seen the passion and commitment that the staff and volunteers have for accessible fishing and offered their invaluable support and guidance.
"With backing from the BDAA, Ladybower Fisheries has been able to push the boundaries of accessibility fishing and we now operate four wheelchair accessible boats. Two of these have been fully funded by the BDAA, each with its own unique adaptions and capabilities. It means that we can assist anyone, regardless of disability, on our guided boat trips with adapted fishing tackle if needed, launched from our designated accessible pontoon to offer tailor made experiences.
"We are now in a position to facilitate large groups from schools, learning disability centres, residential centres, rehabilitation centres, military groups and NHS referrals. Anyone with a disability who needs assistance is welcome. So, too, are individuals who would like to learn more about how to assist someone with a disability to go fishing – or just to take in the beautiful surroundings and discover more about the history of the Ladybower Reservoirs by boat in the heart of the Peak District National Park."
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