THE first fishing trip of 2018 proved tragically fatal for a young angler who fell into his local canal and drowned.

Canal angler Liam Fairbrother (pictured above) was aged just 20, and from Tamworth, Staffordshire.

He suffered from epilepsy, and is believed to have had a seizure while fishing the Tamworth Canal and he toppled into the water.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “We were called at 1.50pm to the canal following reports of a body in the water. Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were also called to the scene and a body was pulled from the water.

“There was nothing to suggest that the death was suspicious. There was fishing tackle at the side of the bank that may have belonged to the deceased.

“As there we no suspicious circumstances the matter has been referred to the Coroner’s Office,” he concluded.

Now a Facebook page set up to raise funds for his pregnant fiancée has gone viral amongst the angling community.

The 20-year-old was a keen angler, especially for predators, who liked using traditional tackle, and was a member of several Facebook fishing groups including Pike (Lure) and Predator Fishing UK and Traditional Angling, Retro Tackle (TART).

Jaimie Leigh, Liam’s bereaved fiancée who is only 18, set up the Facebook group ‘Catch A Fish For Liam’ to raise funds for their baby, and to raise awareness about epilepsy.

And it is clearly something that has touched people’s hearts…

In the few days since it was established, over 1,000 members have joined and getting on for 400 photos posted from around the world, including from as far away as Australia, mostly of fish but also of items of tackle being auctioned to raise funds.

Jamie Redfern, from Angling Direct in Sheffield, posted: “A fish for Liam and hope many more to come dude. Amazed at the support on this page for a bloke many of us don’t know or never met but through the brotherhood of just enjoying catching fish. A life cut short but a legacy continued R.I.P Liam. And tip of the cap to the rest of you. Tight lines.”

Members of the TART group have set up a donation page on PayPal which is quickly raising funds.

One of them, Mark Brassington, of Hunstanton, Norfolk, explained: “I had never met Liam, my only contact was through Facebook when I donated him a split cane rod, but he seemed such a genuine guy and it is such a tragic story that we all thought we should try to get the fishing community to do something to help.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so on: paypal.me/TART4LIAM

CAUGHT A BIG FISH OR GOT SOME NEWS? Email photos and details exclusively to: anglersmail@timeinc.com

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