I read Mr Chapman’s letter (July 7) with disbelief and write to bring clarity to the saga of Canvey Coarse Anglers and Canvey lake.

When it was suggested there could be a mutually beneficial arrangement between the club and the council, I was at the initial meeting, and volunteered as club minutes secretary.

I’m sure Mr Chapman could read through minutes spanning ten years of the club’s efforts to get improvements to the lake for the safety and enjoyment of all users.

Bailiffs patrolled the lake and collected day ticket money, which was divided between the club and the council, giving the council an income it didn’t have to collect. The council now has to advertise for staff to do a similar job.

Maybe Mr Chapman would like to apply and suffer the verbal abuse and threats the volunteers received. He would soon find out that not every person fishing belongs to the club. Membership is not compulsory to fish the water.

No member of the club has been drunk while fishing, taken part in night fishing or disturbed nesting birds. In fact, the club dinghy has been used to rescue swans. No club member leaves litter or discards fishing tackle any more than they set light to fences in nearby gardens.

The club has working parties to cut back the reeds, remove stolen bikes, shopping trolleys, a motor cycle, to name a few items, only to find it all thrown back into the lake during the night because the council couldn’t arrange prompt removal.

The club patrolled day and night, seven days a week and was on 24-hour call to deal with any problems.

Its members were unpaid volunteers, not policemen. The officers of the club met councillors on many occasions in an attempt to get funds provided for desilting the lake.

The club campaigned for litter bins, attempted to get fishing swims for disabled people and tried to educate well-meaning people not to feed a mass of chip shop leavings to wildlife, as this attracted rats.

S C Andrews
Wincoat Drive