TRIBUTE has been paid to a long-time member of Keighley Angling Club who died after contracting coronavirus.

Sid Barnes died last month in Airedale Hospital.

This week, the club's acting chairman Bob Granger said everyone's thoughts were with his family and friends and all those who had been affected by the disease.

He was speaking as it was announced that angling would be returning to local waters following a Government easing of some fishing restrictions imposed during the lockdown.

"This has been a difficult time for everyone in our town and our club extends its sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones or whose livelihoods have been devastated by the outbreak," said Mr Granger.

“We all know someone who has been affected and our club was especially saddened to learn of the recent death of Sid, who had been a member and keen angler for many years. Sadly, he died in hospital after contracting the illness. His many friends and family are firmly in our thoughts.

“Because we recognise the psychological and physical benefits that fishing offers, we are extending membership to anyone who is thinking of taking-up the sport.

“We have already seen a rise in members since the Government revised the measures on May 13 – mainly from people returning to angling after a long absence. But we are also keen to reach out to those who have never fished before. Day-tickets are available for anyone wishing to go out and give it a try.”

People are now allowed to fish with other members of their household or can go out with one other person from outside their home.

The Angling Trust issued guidelines to ensure people continue to observe Government rules to help contain the virus. These include maintaining social distancing while travelling, as well as keeping a minimum of 15 metres apart from other anglers while fishing.

A valid fishing licence is required and can be obtained at the post office or via the Environment Agency’s official website.

Keighley waters are home to many species of fish which have been showing in increasing numbers throughout the spring.

Mr Granger said: "Large shoals of roach and bream have been spotted along the canal and the crystal-clear waters of the River Aire have revealed increasing numbers of chub, trout and bream. But please remember that the close season remains in place on the river until June 16 so certain bait restrictions are in force.

“Anglers will notice a big difference at Roberts’ Pond, Utley, which has been transformed to make fishing much more accessible.”

For further information about membership or a day-ticket contact Denis Freeman on 07980 338225.