John Gawesworth, of Dolton, Devon, died suddenly at his home on Thursday 24th September 2015, at the age of 86. He was born "Buck Jenner-Parson", in Codicote, near Welwyn Garden City on November 1st 1928, and discovered fly fishing in North Wales on the river Conway, when being relocated there as a young man during World War 2.
When Buck started a fly fishing school in Kent in 1972, he decided to teach and write under the pseudonym "John Gawesworth" – a name chosen to commemorate the passing of longtime friend and poet "John Gawsworth". In 1977 John moved his family to Great Torrington in Devon, where his "West of England School of Game Angling" operated at "Caynton House", then "Orford Lodge" until his retirement in 1990. Over the 18 years of the school's existence John taught thousands of people how to fly fish, with a clear, logical teaching method and analytical skills (developed as a maths and physics teacher in earlier years) providing the foundation of a unique and very progressive instructional technique. John was a pioneer in fly fishing instruction, being the first instructor to use video to film clients casting and the playback to analyze and improve their casting technique in evening lectures.
The fly fishing school was successful enough to employ numerous casting instructors to help teach the number of people that came to his school to learn, and many of those former employees are still actively involved in the fly fishing world. Amongst them, Robin Gow from Orvis, Robin Elwes of Farlows, Trout Fisherman reviewer, Robbie Winram, and John's son, Simon Gawesworth at RIO Products, continue his legacy by teaching and spreading the fly fishing word.
In the late 1970's John founded the West of England Tournament Casting Club, where he trained local youngsters to become tournament casters, with many of them going on to represent England at varying levels. It was at one of these meets in 1981 that John's tournament rod got too close to an overhead power line, shocking him with 33,000 volts, from which he survived, though with deep burns.
John was an APGAI & STANIC qualified casting instructor, and author of numerous articles that he wrote for Trout & Salmon and Trout Fisherman magazines. In addition, he was a tremendous fan and advocate of "Salmon & Trout Conservation UK" (formerly the Salmon & Trout Association), and encouraged a vast majority of the people he taught to join.
John retired from fly fishing in 1990 and settled in to a quiet and peaceful village life in Dolton in Devon. He is survived by his wife, Jan, his children Simon and Helen, and his step-daughter Liza.
Memorial donations may be made in John's name to the Salmon & Trout Conservation UK (Charity number – 1123285), Admin Office, PO Box 1301, Maidstone, ME14 9PX, or online at: https://salmon-trout.org/e360/s_checkout_stage_1.asp?type=donation. Please enter 'John Gawesworth Memorial' in the 'where did you hear about us' box.