PEOPLE with disabilities are now able to catch fish in their wheelchair after the launch of a new angling boat built specifically for wheelchair users.

The boat, a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat, was launched at at Farmoor Reservoir (Farmoor 1) allowing disabled anglers across Oxfordshire to fish independently.

It is the result of a joint venture between Sussex-based charity The Wheelyboat Trust, Angling Trust and Thames Water.

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A small, socially distanced group of anglers and VIP guests from the organisations gathered at Farmoor Reservoir on Friday to see the new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat set off for her first fish of the season.

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It set sail with Andy Beadsley, director of The Wheelyboat Trust on board, who was the first disabled angler to use the boat.

He said: “The launch of Farmoor 1’s Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is an extremely exciting moment not just for local disabled anglers who’re keen to fish on Farmoor 1 but haven’t yet been able to, but also for all those involved in this project, as now disabled anglers, like me, can fish independently here too.

“We hope their new boat brings joy and many successful fishing ventures to all on board.”

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The Coulam 16 features a hydraulic platform built into the floor for step-free roll-on, roll-off wheelchair access.

It also has a drive-from-wheelchair tiller helm, space for three people including two wheelchair users, and is designed for angling on still waters, on the drift or at anchor.

Farmoor Reservoir, owned by Thames Water, is the largest single area of open water in Oxfordshire, and is stocked with 25,000 fish annually.