Commemorative award spring-boards the next generation into protecting our rivers

24/10/2016

A remarkable conservation award, set up in the memory of Anne Voss-Bark, by Salmon & Trout Conservation UK and the Arundell Arms Hotel was presented to Robin Knight, from Winkleigh, Devon;  an up and coming star in river conservation circles.

Anne Voss-Bark was a renowned river conservationist, close friend of Ted Hughes and one of the best known anglers in the West Country. 

The award was presented to Robin Knight at the Arundall Arms in Devon, by Anne’s son, Adam Fox-Edwards, who now runs the hotel. 

For over 50 years, Anne Voss-Bark turned this initially rather run-down hotel into an eminent fishing and country sports hotel. For her conservation achievements she was awarded the MBE in 1996 at the age of 84.

Anne Voss Bark, was married to Conrad Voss Bark, former BBC parliamentary correspondent for the BBC and as a close friend of Ted Hughes she jointly founded the West Country Rivers Trust with him.  She was a dedicated conservationist and her love of fly fishing made her aware of changes in the countryside that were detrimental to our rivers and fish.  She was, for instance, amongst the first to recognise the damage being done by agricultural fertilizers leaching from soil into local river catchments.

The main aim of the award is to give the winning candidate unbeatable work experience and an opportunity of pursuing a career in river management and conservation.

The Award includes one week at the Arundell Arms learning hands-on fisheries management and fly-fishing from the experienced river managers and gillies, as well as one week with the West Country Rivers Trust; learning catchment management and water science from the Trust’s eminent scientists.

The prize also includes expenses of up to £500 donated by Salmon & Trout Conservation UK and the Fario Club of Paris

Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science and Policy with Salmon & Trout Conservation UK said, “We were hugely impressed with Robin’s passion for his subject.  His love of fishing, as well as other country activities, including walking and wildlife spotting, laid the foundations for him to go to university and study a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Management and Geography.

“His literature review on livestock poaching on water courses in the Torridge catchment, Devon illustrates many of the modern problems that we face nationally with our precious rivers and streams.  It was very impressive and we consider that he was a very worthy winner of this Award.”

Robin Knight said, “I am really delighted to win this award and very grateful to the Arundell Arms and Salmon & Trout Conservation UK.  I am passionate about making our natural world better and have focused my educational achievements on the aquatic environment.  I intend to continue to pursue my career in this important and sometimes much neglected sector, where there are many gaps in our knowledge, which need addressing.  My award provides the spring-board to the next stage of my career and I am looking forward to gaining more practical ‘hands-on’ experience, learning more about river and catchment management from leading experts so that I can concentrate my energies into establishing a full-time career in this sector.”

The award is supported by the International Fario Club, of which Anne was an honorary life member. The club was founded by Charles Ritz, the well-known hotelier and fly fisherman. This fellowship of travelling Anglers, now led by Laurent Sainsot, shows a deep concern for the environment and rivers.     ENDS