A Penrith fisherman who launched a campaign within the angling community to raise funds for Cancer Research UK has topped £20,000.
Mike Smith, 36, of Hutton Hill, set up A Bite Out of Cancer, challenging fishermen to donate 1p for every ounce and £1 for every pound in weight of the fish they catch.
The idea has followers hooked, with anglers from throughout the UK and as far as Belgium, Italy, France and more taking part.
Mike, who lives with his partner Laura and works at Center Parcs Whinfell, said he was thrilled to top the £20,000 figure.
“I’m very happy to have reached £20,000, it’s crazy. I’m over the moon.
“If you go back it was 2017 when we had our first ever donation, we didn’t really kick off a Bite Out of Cancer until March, 2018.
“I’ve no intention of ever stopping fundraising for Cancer Research UK. We just keep updating the target for the next step. By March, 2022, I think we will be around £40,000.”
Mike was inspired to fundraise for the charity after losing both his maternal grandfather, Ray Thornton, and his father, Keith Smith, to cancer.
It was on a trip to the North East that Mike and his best friend decided to donate the weight of every fish they caught to Cancer Research UK. The idea took off and the fishing community started to do the same via Mike’s online fundraising page.
Along with individual donations, money has also poured in for the campaign through fishing matches across the country with a match where 40 anglers will take part in Suffolk planned for September. Throughout the COVID-19 national lockdowns, online auctions and raffles also kept money coming in.
Mike said he would love to hold an event locally, possibly at Lowther Show and revealed his proudest catch had been a recent one in Cumbria where he caught a 30lb common carp he had been chasing for two years.
His biggest catch to date was a 30lb grass carp in France equating to a £30 donation to the campaign.
He was also part of a group who went sea fishing near Stranraer where a 180lb common skate was caught and the group clubbed together to give £180 to a Bite Out of Cancer.
In 2020 Mike received a special commendation from Cancer Research UK in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the cause.
He was shortlisted in the charity’s annual Flame of Hope awards and won a special commendation in the Pioneer of the Year award category for his tireless fundraising work.
To donate to Mike’s fundraising page visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/abiteoutofcancer