Nostalgia: Northampton Nene Angling Club won ‘All England’ title in 1963

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WHEN it comes to sporting triumphs on a national scale, one only commonly hears about the county in the frequently televised sports of rugby, football and cricket.

But last week, a photo was sent in to the Chron which showed a national achievement of a different kind.

In 1963, the Northampton Nene Angling Club won the ‘All England’ title, now known as the National Championships.

Keen fisherman Fred Burford, from Duston, who has been a member of the club since 1959, sent in the picture in the hope that it would jog a few memories among the Chron readers.

He said: “The match was fished on the Gloucester canal and was decided on total weight, not like present nationals which are divided on points, which in my estimation, spoiled the competition. In the old days if a team were lucky enough to have a team member on a good ‘peg’ and get a good weight they could go on to win the team event.

“The Northampton team weighed in with a total of 19lbs and, if my memory serves me right, they just beat Liverpool to the title.”

The photo includes anglers such as Ray 
Edgley, Maurice Leighton and Brian Coles, but Mr Burford thinks one of the leading fishermen of that era was Roy Thomas.

He said: “Roy Thomas was in my estimation the best canal angler of the time, I think Roy could have held his own in any competition. I remember him winning the Nene Championships at the River Nene.”

Mr Burford still remembers one story from the All England competition of 1963 which involved Roy Simms, who was fishing for north Somerset and west Wiltshire.

It is believed that he was fishing on a stretch of the canal near a milk factory which, strangely, seemed to attract the fish.

Mr Burford explained: “The stretch he was in, there was a milk factory which backed onto the canal and every now and then milk would run through a pipe into the canal. Roy Simms went on to win the match (the individual competition) with a weight of 15lbs.”

Anyone who has memories they would like to share about this event in 1963, can email