AS a result of recent coronavirus lockdown measures, Keighley Angling Club has been forced to cancel its AGM for only the third time in its 150 year history.

Archives show that the club, formed from an alliance between Silsden and Eastburn anglers in 1868, has held these meetings every November since then - with two notable exceptions.

Acting chairman Bob Granger explained: "Like many businesses and organisations, we have reviewed and curtailed our activities during the COVID crisis.

"This meant ruling out our AGM, which has only happened twice before.

"Both of those were wartime cancellations; once during the Great War and again in the 1940s when, once again, the country was at war with Germany."

Wartime club records show that committee members continued to organise fishing matches and held meetings as often as they could in a bid to maintain morale.

Fishing competitions took place, with a number of prizes on offer even though rationing had been imposed.

Granger said: "Today, we see the sacrifices everyone is making to try to contain coronavirus and, of course, we are also complying with government restrictions."

During 2020, the angling club was forced to cancel many of its face-to-face monthly meetings and complied with government requirements to ensure safe distancing was observed on river, canal and stillwater banks.

Granger said: "Our committee members speak regularly over the phone to discuss key topics.

"We continue to recognise the significance of our fishing club in the community; not only for its recreational benefits, which are especially important during these troubled times, but also for the valuable unpaid work many members undertake to keep waters clear from pollution and report invasive species of plants and animals."

Club treasurer Dennis Freeman said: "We have some of the finest stretches of river and canal in the country. We are proud of this and we want to welcome new members to our club.

"But we are also grateful to our current members for standing by the club, especially when they were unable to get out and enjoy the benefits of fishing.

"For this reason, and because we recognise the financial pressures on families and individuals caused by COVID, there will be no increase in fees for 2021."

A copy of the club’s annual financial statement will be available on request from the treasurer.