Volunteers bringing fishing joy to people with disabilities honoured at Fishability Awards night

Fishing is a treasured lifestyle for more than 700,000 people across WA — and we strongly believe everyone should be able to have access to it, including fishers with disabilities. 

That is why Recfishwest is delighted to see the efforts and feats of 23 volunteers, who are actively delivering fishing programs and activities for people with disabilities across the State, be honoured at the recent annual awards for our partners Fishability. 

“As all fishers in Western Australia experience for themselves, fishing provides enormous mental, physical, wellbeing and social benefits,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.  

“Fishability shares Recfishwest’s goals in ensuring great fishing experiences for all in the WA community, helping more people of all abilities experiencing fishing and all the benefits it provides. The volunteers who were honoured at these awards have done a great job in encouraging more people to venture out on to the water, wet a line and enjoy what fishing has to offer.”  

Some of Fishability’s Unsung Hero Award winners, Robert Hancock (left), Paul Taylor (centre), Timothy Jackson (right) and Caroline Taylor (front).

Fishability recognised the efforts of volunteers from Albany on the south coast up to Geraldton in our Mid-West, with 12 awards and 11 service pins presented. 

The winners of the Fishability Chairman’s Award were Aldo Mendolia and Mark Gwynne, celebrating the 12th year that the pair have organised at least one annual fishing trip for Fishability participants and their carers aboard their premier charting fishing vessel, the Top Gun II — all free of charge.

The Top Gun II vessel is a big hit each year for taking people with disabilities and their carers out to enjoy a day’s fishing for free, thanks to its kind Fishability volunteers Aldo Mendolia and Mark Gwynne. Image: Fishability.

Another recipient of the Fishability Patron’s Unsung Hero Award was Mandurah’s Steve Grandison, who has worked tirelessly in his metal work, anti-fouling, sanding, repainting work and volunteer skippering of the MV Fishability, the 8.5m purpose-built boat specially adapted to accommodate fishers in wheelchairs.  

The MV Fishability is an 8.5m purpose-built boat specially adapted to accommodate fishers in wheelchairs and the recent Fishability Awards honoured Steve Grandison who worked tirelessly in maintaining this vessel for multiple fishing trips.

Recfishwest congratulates all the following Fishability award winners and individuals recognised for their years of service. 

Nev Thomas Award

John May and Ed Szydlowski

 

Chairman’s Award

Aldo Mendolia and Mark Gwynne 

 

Patron’s Unsung Hero Awards 

Geraldton – Chris Wilson 

Perth North – Caroline and Paul Taylor 

Perth South – Bob Hancock 

Mandurah/Waroona – Steve Grandison 

Busselton – Tim Jackson 

Albany – Maureen Hanna 

 

Life Membership

John Staples

 

Five Years of Service

Perth – Rod Baker  

Perth – Mike Concannon  

Geraldton – Lyn Kendle 

Geraldton – David Meder 

Mandurah – Lisette Laval  

Mandurah – Mike Neagle  

Mandurah – Brian Neville  

Mandurah – Gilber Turner 

Busselton – Jim Wright

 

Ten Years of Service  

Mandurah – Ian Metcalf 

Mandurah – Brian Young

 

Recfishwest applauds the Fishability team for everything they do to help more people access and enjoy WA’s amazing fishing, with funds from licence fees helping support and improve fishing access and experiences for people with disabilities through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund. 

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