Young Women Win Celebrity Honour at the First Event #FishDee24 on the River Dee

June 27, 2021

One of the top honours in salmon fishing - previously awarded to celebrities including Billy Connolly, Alexander Armstrong and Robson Green - has gone to two young women.

13-year-old Camryn Stewart, from Angus, and 27-year-old teacher Naomi Bell, from Torphins, have won the accolade of opening the River Dee’s 2022 salmon season following a unique fishing challenge. Up to 30 anglers from as far afield as Sussex were invited to take part in the sponsored, 24-hour event to raise funds for the River Dee Trust’s nationally-recognised restoration work.

Camryn and Naomi (Pictures attached) fished day and night over the weekend, and were named top fundraisers in the #FishDee24 challenge. They will now have the honour of performing the famous first casts at the ceremony to mark the start of next year’s fishing season on February 1.

Camryn said: “I’m so excited! The river means a lot to me and I wanted to put something back. When I explained what the sponsorship was for, people were really generous."

Naomi said: “Wow! This is a real privilege. Before I started fishing, I didn’t appreciate how much work the River Dee Trust does, and how much effort goes in to restoring the river’s habitat and saving the incredible salmon."

Chair of the River Dee Trust, Sandy Bremner, said: “Camryn and Naomi have been an absolute inspiration. They put their heart and soul into raising funds for our river restoration work. They were just as passionate about fishing around the clock when lesser folk would have crawled off to bed. It will be an honour for US to have them perform next year’s opening ceremony.”

Prizes also went to several lucky anglers. Alisdair Watson won dinner bed and breakfast at the Banchory Lodge Hotel for landing the biggest fish, a 7lb salmon. Matt Will and Dave Wilmot won Loop wading jackets for catching most fish - each caught one salmon and two seatrout. The participants caught a total of 4 salmon and 6 seatrout. There were also £100 FishPal vouchers for Joshua Bramman, Martin Roberts and Alisdair Watson. All anglers received “goodie bags” from Somers Fishing Tackle. And Naomi Bell received a special judges’ prize of Kevin Fleming Venison Sausages. Meals were provided for the intrepid anglers at the riverside by Banchory Lodge and Maryculter House, with ice cream from Mackie’s of Scotland.

The event was devised as a Covid-compliant alternative to some other fundraising projects which had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. The River Dee Trust is extremely grateful to all the volunteers, ghillies, staff and sponsors who made the event possible. #FishDee24 raised more than £16,000, and donations are still coming in.

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