A FISHERMAN whose young godson died after battling cancer now wants to help children with illnesses and disabilities find escapism on the lakes.

Charlie Hillaby, 31, is the founder of Fishing For Henry and will host several events at Lifted Lakes, in Great Oakley, throughout June, September and November.

He launched the initiative initially as a one-off event to fundraise for Young Lives vs. Cancer, a charity which had supported his godson, Henry.

The 19-month-old baby had been diagnosed with rare leukaemia of the blood and died after complications resulting from the severe chemotherapy he endured.

After his death, Charlie made his fishing day a regular occurrence to honour Henry’s memory and provide enjoyment to other children.

He said: “I believe this is my way of letting the world know how strong Henry was and once I saw the faces of the kids when they caught their first fish I couldn’t stop.

“My dream is to be able to offer any children and families struggling with problems in their life, no matter how big or small, an escape and a bit of respite.

TRAGIC DEATH: Henry, who died aged 19-months-old

TRAGIC DEATH: Henry, who died aged 19-months-old

“I strongly believe fishing can help a child’s mindset and once you have a bend in the rod you forget about everything else for that moment.”

Charlie first started fishing when he was 12 years old and now says fishing saved his life and helped him understand his PTSD diagnosis.

He subsequently decided on the iCarp facility, in Great Oakley, as the home for his forthcoming fishing sessions after spending time at the complex himself.

Alongside volunteers Charlie is now hoping to teach 100 children how to fish over the next year.

“Lifted Lakes is a welfare centre for iCarp, which changes the lives of military veterans,” added Charlie.

“I am not a veteran, but I was given a bad hand of cards in my younger life, but there is a lake at iCarp, and it helped me.

“There is just something about being beside the bank, out in nature, without technology, that gives you time to think. The world is a beautiful place.”

To find out more, visit Fishing for Henry on Facebook.