A MAN from Okehampton has completed a unique fishing charity challenge — and in the process reeled in more than £1,300 for charity.

At the start of 2018, Steve Dawe decided that in the year of his 52nd birthday he would try to catch 52 species of UK fish within 52 weeks to raise money and awareness for the Stroke Association — the Fishty-Two Challenge.

Steve’s efforts exceeded all expectations as he landed 77 different species, raising £1,340 for the charity. The challenge included sea, coarse and game fish but the bulk of the total was made up of sea species, with 51 sea fish being landed.

Along the way Steve created a website and wrote a weekly blog to highlight the highs and lows of the challenge. He was inspired to take on the challenge by his friend, Andy Adams.

Andy was a dedicated angler before he was struck by a huge stroke, which left him wheelchair bound.

Steve said: ‘I travelled over 7,000 miles, notched up 115 sessions, which included the use of 16 different charter boats, and two different shore guides. I also managed 44 personal bests.

‘Highlights included a 19lb spurdog, my first ever John Dory, a barbel from the River Wye and the spotted ray after nine attempts.

‘Low points were losing two porbeagle sharks in separate trips, breaking three rods and getting my finger crushed in the mouth of a big undulate ray.

‘The challenge wouldn’t have been the success it was if not for the professionalism of the skippers, anglers, guides and friends that supported me over the year.

‘During this epic challenge I was supported by long term friend and angling pal Chris Hodgson, despite Chris taking the photos, sharing the travelling I still managed to make him the fall guy in most of the blogs.

‘Andy’s stroke may have taken much from him, but it hasn’t taken his spirit and he continues to inspire as he fights to recover.’

A self-published book is now available as a paperback and on Kindle, with royalties going to the Stroke Association.