Thames21 helps young brothers net thousands for WaterAid with 24-hour fishathon

Teenager George Rosenfeld, 14, and his younger brother Joseph, 12, have helped raise over £5,000 for international charity WaterAid by organising a 24-hour fishathon in Sussex this Bank Holiday weekend.

The two young fundraisers brought together nearly 50 children from their school, the City of London School, to take part in this mass fishing fundraising feat over the sunny weekend. Many of those involved had never picked up a rod before.

Joseph, a keen angler, said: “I love the thrill of the moment the float goes under the water knowing that a fish is taking the bait. I also like the environment and the peaceful setting. The fishathon was very tiring, but enjoyable and most people managed to catch fish. George caught 35 and I caught 25. It was great that we raised so much money for WaterAid and hopefully we may organise a similar event next year.”

Previous to this event, his brother George has already raised £16,500 for WaterAid having chosen to support the charity for his Bar Mitzvah year. In April, he visited Zambia to see how his fundraising efforts are helping transform lives through access to safe water and sanitation.

He said: “The moment that will stay with me the most was when a girl said to me: ‘When I wake up, I worry about if I will live or if the water will kill me.

“My brother, Joseph, is obsessed with fishing but I’ve never understood what makes it at all appealing for him, so I thought that I should step out of my comfort zone to save lives all around the world.”

The charity fishing event was supported by the Environment Agency, Thames21 and the Angling Trust, and first time anglers were assisted by four London-based qualified angling coaches.

Grant Fear, London’s Angling Development Officer, said: “It was fantastic to see so many young people getting involved in the fishathon, experiencing the joy of fishing while also raising money for a good cause. Angling is a great way for young Londoners to get close to the natural world and learn about rivers and wildlife first hand. Fishing can also act as a great reminder of the preciousness of our natural water supplies.”

Across the world. 2,000 children die every single day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and inadequate sanitation. That’s more children dying from diarrhoea than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

In Zambia, George met a charismatic woman called Fenny Bangi who looks after her grandchildren since their mother died. Last year, two of them died, aged six and seven, because of diarrhoea caused by the dirty water they had no choice but to drink.

With safe water close to home, children can spend less time in hospital and less time collecting or queuing for water and more time in school getting an education.

George said: “I also met Santos, who wanted to be a doctor to help people, but thinks he won’t be able to achieve his dream because he didn’t get clean water until he was 16. Before then, he had to walk up to 13km each way to get water, so couldn’t attend school. Even when he could go to school, he could not concentrate because he was thirsty and worried about needing the toilet, because they were so unhygienic.

“He says now his life is better and the younger people in the school would have their lives changed because of WaterAid, and they will not die of cholera like his brother.”

Victoria Rouse, Community Fundraising Manager at WaterAid, said: “It’s has been inspiring to meet young people who have become so passionate about our vision of a world where everyone has safe water to drink and access to improved sanitation. These basic services are key to a better future, impacting on health, education and livelihoods.

“At WaterAid, we work with over 70,000 school children in UK each year to help inspire and educate them about water and sanitation. Many of them, just like George, go on to support our vital work, to enable some of the world’s poorest people gain access to safe water and improved hygiene.”

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For more information, contact Laura Crowley at / 020 7793 4965.