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Bury St Edmunds Angling Association's Nigel Bruton was a club lynchpin

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Nigel Bruton sadly passed away last week at the age of 93. Nigel, who was a very accomplished local plumber, served on the Bury St Edmunds Angling Association committee, on a voluntary basis, for more than 40 years.

He first joined the committee in the mid-1950s as a general committee member, followed by a short period as publicity officer until the early 1960s when he took on the role of club secretary - a position that he held for more than 30 years.

I joined the committee in 1990 as vice-chairman for a year, followed by a couple of years as chairman, and worked closely with Nigel who by then had a vast knowledge of all matters connected to the club.

Nigel Bruton in 1968
Nigel Bruton in 1968

I saw first-hand the time and effort he devoted to the association at a time when the membership was circa 1300, and the club’s portfolio of waters included Rushbrooke Lake and West Stow Country Park Lake.

Nigel was heavily involved in setting up the original leases for these premier waters and many more over his years of service on the committee.

One of Nigel’s many achievements for the club was the overseeing of the draining, netting, silt removal, refilling and restocking of Rushbrooke Lake in 1973 at no cost to the club.

Nigel Bruton in 1969
Nigel Bruton in 1969

He skilfully obtained grants from the Sports Council, Thedwastre Council and the National Anglers Council. He also obtained substantial fish restocking from Anglian Water, also at no cost to the club.

Nick Bonney also worked closely with Nigel on the committee, mostly as treasurer, but also briefly as vice-chairman and chairman over a 16-year period ending in 1994.

When I spoke to Nick last week he recalled: “Nigel put in a tremendous amount of work during his time as secretary. He was always the first point of contact for any exercise the club undertook. I know it’s an old adage, but he truly was the lynchpin of the club.

“He was also a keen member of the association’s national team. I remember sitting with him on the bus all the way down to fish the River Huntspaill and King Sedgemore drain many years ago.”

Nigel was a quietly spoken man but tenacious in whatever he undertook for the club and could be quite authoritative when he needed to be.

He was a hugely respected servant of the Bury St Edmunds Angling Association and the club was the poorer for his departure from the committee in 1995, although he was made an honorary life member in 1996.

The two archive photos included with this article show Nigel at Bury St Edmunds Angling Association’s annual trophy presentation evenings in 1968 and 1969.

Meanwhile, spawning started at most of our local waters last week and consequently I have no specimen carp catch stories or photos to offer. Carp do not feed when they are spawning and in any case many of our local fisheries quite rightly do not permit fishing on their waters until spawning, which is a very stressful episode for carp, has concluded.

Some fisheries decide to rope off the pegs to stop anglers from fishing near the spawning carp which usually takes place in very shallow water in the margin.

The upside for carp anglers is that carp tend to feed more confidently after spawning, which usually only lasts a few days, so catches could be impressive for the rest of June.

The Bury St Edmunds Angling Association Veterans held their fifth match of the season at Barrow Lake last week and once again the nets were made up of the small tench stocked last November and proper bream. Bob Huant, a relatively new member to the section, made it two wins out of three matches.

Fishing on peg 16, his winning weight of 12lb 2oz was mostly made up of three bream. Runner-up Rob Parnell framed yet again with one bream and five tench from peg 8 with 7lb 8oz. Everyone caught something. The next match is at Badwell Ash.

Mildenhall Angling Club membership cards are now available to purchase at Londis store in Beck Row.

Unfortunately, they can no longer be obtained from the pet shop in Mildenhall as it has closed. The club asked that members carry their card with them.

The club’s river matches commence with the imminent new season and any member interested in taking part should call 07478 279072

Bury St Edmunds Angling Club memberships are available from Tackle Up in Bury, Hooked in Newmarket and Just Fishin in Sudbury.

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