A lifelong fisherman has donated more than 1,000 fish in commemoration of his mother, to help give a lasting boost to the population in South Norwood Lake.

John Vincent worked with Croydon Council staff to bring about 500 tench and 500 bream to the lake in memory of his mum Betty Vincent, who died in September 2018 aged 90.

John began fishing on the lake when he was a young boy and has gone on to fish in competitive matches, breaking records and catching a roach weighing more than 176lbs in a five-hour match.

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On Tuesday, the tench and bream both native to the UK, joined the carp, roach and perch already in the lake and a small plaque is set to be installed near the lake commemorating the donation.

The 68-year-old said: “Fishing wasn’t really something my mum enjoyed, but she supported me and my brothers. She always supported us.

“If we got a park bench it would maybe have lasted for 10 or 15 years before the wood started to rot, but the fish are a bit more permanent. They’ll last for generations and hopefully the fish can set up a breeding population.”

Croydon Council manages 127 parks and green spaces across the borough, including South Norwood Lake & Grounds, one of few lakes with fishing day tickets in south London.

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In October the council paid for and installed 15 platforms made from recycled plastic around the lake, including three that are fully accessible. The platforms give anglers, artists and visitors a better position and view over the water.

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “I’m very grateful to Mr Vincent for his help bringing these fish to our lake. His very thoughtful donation will last for generations, and I hope these bream and tench help many more people enjoy the facilities on offer at South Norwood Lake.”

South Norwood Lake is open to anglers with a rod licence, from the Environment Agency, between June and March. Day and season tickets to fish are available from staff at the lake.