NEW recordings have come to light that give a more rounded picture of someone widely regarded as our greatest ever angler... Dick Walker.
The discovery of more fascinating Dick Walker material came shortly before the recent celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday.
Angler’s Mail magazine toasted the occasion with a special front cover (above) of his most famous catch, special material inside… and news of the newly-discovered recordings.
Speaking into a microphone connected to a tape recorder at home during the latter years of his life, Dick recalls some of his most vivid memories.
He was encouraged to make the recordings by his wife, Pat, who met him when she was editor of the Fishing Gazette, and whose father, R.L. Marston, published Dick’s first angling article, in 1936, under his initials RSW, which led to a writing career spanning almost five decades and including over 20 angling books.
Dick was born on May 29, 1918, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and died on August 2, 1985, aged 67.
The recordings of Dick’s memories have been converted to digital format, and so far, two extracts are available for everyone to hear through the family’s website dedicated to his memory, www.dickwalker.co.uk – one being an interesting aspect about the capture of Clarissa, and the other an amusing tale about Dick’s granny.
The site also has a link to the episode of the BBC’s Desert Island Discs that Dick recorded with Roy Plomley in July 1974, along with pictures and stories from his life, and a major update to the website has been planned to launch on his birthday.
Among the anecdotes that he describes on the tape is his 21st birthday celebration, in 1939.
Dick recalled: “I shall never forget the time of my 21st. My grandmother somehow got hold of the most enormous turkey, and inside the turkey she put a small goose, and inside the goose was a teal, and inside the teal, with some stuffing, were one or two other small birds which I suspect were snipe, and this was all dished up for me and several of my male friends, and granny and grandfather, and my mother.
“All the side dishes of baked parsnips, and brussels, roast potatoes, steamed potatoes, carrots; marvelous meal it was – so marvelous that no-one had room for the steamed treacle pudding that she’s prepared for following on.
“We didn’t eat any of the treacle pudding and granny was terribly disappointed, and said, “What’s wrong with you young fellas, haven’t you got any appetite?” and there we were sitting with our stomachs protruding, half asleep with repletion and beer, because we used to drink beer in those days, and there was just no way that any one of us could eat the treacle pudding.”
Dick’s widow, Pat Marston Walker, said: “As it would be his 100th birthday this year, it would be nice to put this recording on the website so that people can listen to it.
“He made the recordings when he was fighting cancer, and I thought that in due course people would want to know more about his life.
“In all he recorded a few hours worth, which I typed up and Barrie Rickards marked out bits that he wanted to go in the biography.
“But there was a lot that didn’t go in that might be of interest to people, about his football career and when he broke an oar rowing and he couldn’t afford to buy another one, so that was the end of his rowing.
“That is when he started writing for the Fishing Gazette. His second article, however, was rejected and he received a long letter back from my father explaining why, advising him not to write about what he thought would happen, but what he knew from his own experience did happen, advice that Richard then passed on to many people who wrote to him asking about writing on angling.
“After all these years, items still appear in publications about him, which is amazing. It is good to see that he is still causing interest.”
. For much more on Dick Walker, including info on some excellent books, be sure to visit the website www.dickwalker.co.uk
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