In 1958, my father won the only fishing prize of his life: the Winner's cup at Bellhouse Road WMC in Sheffield.
He left school at 14 in 1929, neatly coinciding with the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression,leaving him unemployed,destitute for years. No Welfare State back then! Imagine that: scrapped at 14, he had passed the local Grammar School entrance exams, but his parents (feckless father, reckless mother) had not afforded his uniform and books.
Only the war came to his rescue-all hands to the gunbarrels and to the factories that made them!
He spent his war over a choking, heat-drenched furnace producing specialist steels for the Ministry of Aircraft Production, to win us WW2 and later the Cold War (now almost forgotten) by helping achieve impossible outputs of Spitfires and Hurricanes.
Throughout my childhood, my father worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. The Affluence of War. Big Pay Packets. Exhausting labour. Relieved only by pints with his pals-and occasional fishing trips in the fresh air.
I remember that fish he brought home in 1958: a 12-lb pike, fried by my grandmother.
I look at the cup now and think of his life. Saved by war, the making of him - and me.