Terry Mansbridge will be best remembered for his work locally in the Lee Valley, nationally with NAFAC and for his actions behind the scenes that led to the formation of Angling Trust. His work in the police force also resulted in some memorable encounters with the Kray twins.
In the early 1960s Terry joined the Metropolitan Police where he dealt with some interesting characters during the course of his career. He was one of the four officers who arrested Ronnie Kray for the murder of George Cornell, which had taken place in the Blind Beggar Pub, Whitechapel, some three years previously.
On the day of the arrests, Terry was also present in the interview room with the younger twin. Ronnie smoked up to 100 cigarettes a day but none of the interviewing officers would permit him to smoke. During a break in proceedings, Terry demonstrated his brilliant people management skills. He offered Ronnie one of his own fags and even lit it for him.
For a brief period, whilst awaiting trial at the Old Bailey, the Krays were closely guarded in a safe house on Wood Street, Walthamstow. It was here that Terry got to know Reggie well, supplying him daily with copious quantities of cigarettes and occasionally talking of their mutual interest in fishing.
Around Christmas in 1968, a case of 200 cigarettes unexpectedly arrived at Terry’s home and continued to do so on an annual basis thereafter. This continued even after both twins had passed away.
Terry's first association with angling was as a young boy when his father would take him for a day’s fishing. Terry soon became involved in the management of the Metropolitan Police Angling Society’s fisheries and he had great success in developing excellent stillwater and rivers fisheries.
Terry retired from his post as Detective Superintendent in 1992. Becoming secretary of the Lee Valley Angling Consultative Association (LVACA), he quickly revamped the organisation, bringing together more than 100 angling clubs throughout the Lee & Stort catchment. He established positive communications with representatives from the Environment Agency, British Waterways, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and many other environmental organisations.
One of his greatest achievements was the formation of the Lee Anglers’ Consortium (LAC) in 1992. The navigable Lee running downstream from Hertford to Bow was managed by British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust). Terry quietly told the young fisheries manager, John Ellis, that he was a little incompetent and suggested forming a consortium to take over. More than 50 clubs formed the LAC.
Terry cherry-picked his committee members from local clubs where he could depend on their individual skills and enthusiasm. The LAC re-established a very successful fishery, investing in permanent pegs, platforms, weed control, litter picking and restocking. Full-time paid bailiffs patrolled the fishery every day of the week. The monthly committee meetings held around his living room table were formidable affairs, some going on very late, and involving an amazing amount of paper work and detail.
Terry never lost touch with the local anglers and some of his happiest days were out fishing with friends on the Lee, where he even found time to join a local club and compete in the club matches.
In 1999 Terry moved with wife Christine to Norfolk for a more rural life. Here, he kept two twin goats, Ronnie and Reggie. Instead of retiring, he took on more work.
In 2003 he was instrumental in the Lee catchment being chosen to be one of the pilot Environment Agency Fishery Action Plans. In his foreword he stated, “We need to take prompt and positive action to tackle problems and protect our future environment and prosperity.”
We need to take prompt and positive action to tackle problems and protect our future environment and prosperity.Terry Mansbridge
In 2002 Terry hosted REDCAFFE’s (Reducing the Conflict between Cormorants and Fisheries) final case study meeting at Waltham Abbey (Lee Valley). All the participants who attended, representing 20 countries, will recall his passion for angling and the wider environment, and his insight, common-sense approach and humour.
The success of the workshop was very much a tribute to his hard work behind the scenes. Terry served on the Moran Committee and chaired the Moran Joint Bird Group. He successfully campaigned for a better deal for fisheries on cormorant predation which lead to the current cormorant licensing system being introduced.
Terry's involvement in angling administration was life-filling. He chaired the Thames Fisheries Consultative Council and sat on Thames RFERAC. He was the driving force behind the National Association of Fisheries & Angling Consultative (NAFAC) where he became executive chairman in 2002.
NAFAC grew rapidly under his leadership with many hundreds of clubs joining. The role of NAFAC complemented the work of the many other fisheries and angling organisations around at that time. Many leading figures joined NAFAC’s council, attracted by Terry's vision and persuasive personality.
He also served as an ACA Committee member, a member of the Anglian Regional Fisheries Consultative Forum, and the Lower Ouse and Fenlands Fisheries Association. He sat on the British Waterways Fisheries Liaison committee and advised IWAAC on fisheries matters. Terry was also a member of the National Federation of Anglers, Salmon & Trout Association, Freshwater Biological Association, and a Fellow of the Institute of Fisheries Management. In late 2005 he was appointed by DEFRA as Chairman of the Anglian RFERAC.
No matter where he was based, Terry made a huge impact on every aspect of angling and fisheries, gaining respect and friendship. His outstanding management abilities and personality allowed him to cross boundaries and build working arrangements with those who didn’t always agree with his viewpoint.
Behind the scenes, Terry was paving the way for the formation of a united single governing body for angling. In 2009 the Angling Trust was finally born. Sadly Terry had passed away some three years earlier. Few observers doubt that if he had lived, Terry would have been the first chairman.
Thanks to Dennis Meadhurst
Last date edited: 12 January 2021