Fishing for carp in Essex to raise money for military charity 

A charity fishing match has been organised in Essex by a group of serving and ex-serving military men to raise funds for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Holdfast Training Services Ltd, who provide training support for the Corps of Royal Engineers, are hosting their third annual Carpers for Veterans fishing event at Oak Lakes Fisheries in Southminster between 9 and 11 September.

Twenty anglers have signed up to take part in the 48-hour competition which will see them fighting it out to catch the three biggest carp.

As well as the bid to be crowned top angler, there will also be an opportunity to hook a great prize in the weekend’s raffle and auction which businesses have donated generously towards.

Sergeant Matty Herbert serves in the British Army with the Royal Engineers and is one of the organisers of the annual event alongside Mark Jobling who served in the British Army until 2018.

Matty said:

“It is fantastic to be able to give something back and support and raise awareness for such a worthwhile charity while doing something I enjoy.   

“Of the 20 anglers taking part there is a mix of serving military, veterans and civilians.  

“To me the competition is about much more than fishing, although of course the winner does receive a trophy and bragging rights! 

“Fishing gets people outside and is a great way to improve mental wellbeing. 

“For some of the veterans that take part, this event is an opportunity to spend 48 hours alongside other people with a military background and that means a lot to them. 

“I’d also like to think that the event may raise the profile of fishing among blind veterans themselves and maybe get them interested in giving fishing a go.” 

Jamie Akehurst served in the British Army for just under nine years in the Royal Engineers. Jamie has taken part in the competition since it first started and now helps Mark and Matty to organise the event.

He said:

“Mark and Matty do a fantastic job as a lot of organisation goes into the event each year. 

“Over the past three years, the event has raised about £14,000 for Blind Veterans UK, that’s not bad for a group of anglers sat around a lake. 

“While I was serving, I took part in an exercise at the Blind Veterans UK centre in Brighton. I was lucky to see first-hand the work that is done there and it remained on my mind ever since.  

“We know as serving soldiers that you put yourself in harm’s way and you risk losing your sight or losing a limb. Therefore it means so much to us to be able to give something back and just a small amount of money can make such a difference.” 

Last year the event raised over £4,000 for Blind Veterans UK. Help the organisers be even more successful this year by showing your support and visiting: 

If you would like to find out more about ways in which you can support Blind Veterans UK,  contact the Community Partnerships Team on or 0300 111 22 33.

Blind Veterans UK supports 4,000 blind veterans across the country, but the charity knows there are tens of thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.

If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or  

While Blind Veterans UK initially cared for veterans blinded in active Service, today they help veterans no matter what caused their sight loss.

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