A BROMSGROVE angler has battled back from having a tumour on his spine to realise his life-long dream of representing England in a home internationals fly fishing tournament.
And after taking part in the contest in Wales, Peter Elliott, who is 59, finished 14th out of 56 fishermen and claimed the second largest fish of the day.
The England team did extremely well and won convincingly.
Peter began fishing at the age of 16 and has always wanted to make the national team.
This time last year he qualified to represent England but then, in December, he found himself being unsteady on his feet and struggling to walk.
After going to the doctor’s he was diagnosed with having the non-cancerous tumour which was pushing on his spinal chord, affecting his balance.
At the end of May he underwent an operation to remove it at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Where it was positioned made it a very tricky procedure and Peter risked being paralysed by having it done.
But, because of the size of it, leaving it any longer could have also led to him ending up in a wheelchair.
He said: “After all these years of trying, I was finally going to be able to represent my country and then that happened.
“I was a little bit down but I was determined to make the fishing tournament.”
Luckily, Peter’s operation went as well as it could possibly have gone and he made a miraculous recovery.
That enabled him to train and make the tournament.
He said: “It was a tough – we trained throughout the whole week and then there was the match at the weekend.
“I couldn’t have done it without the staff at the QE though – they were fantastic.
“I cannot speak highly enough about the health service.
“We take so much for granted in this country – when you need it, it’s always there.”
Competitors have to qualify every year for the national team and, unfortunately, Peter was unable to take part this year.
But he has vowed to be back in 2015 where he hopes to get back in the national team.