Fishkeeping society set to fold

ONE of Suffolk's oldest clubs run by a former aide of wartime ace Douglas Bader is closing its books.The Suffolk Aquarists and Pondkeepers Association dates back to the 1930s and life president Walter Card is giving over the £800 left in its account to charity.

ONE of Suffolk's oldest clubs run by a former aide of wartime ace Douglas Bader is closing its books.

The Suffolk Aquarists and Pondkeepers Association dates back to the 1930s and life president Walter Card is giving over the £800 left in its account to charity.

Now all that remains of the his own memories of fish keeping is the fish-themed ornaments which decorate his lounge as five years ago an accident tragically killed off his love of keeping fish.

Wally, as he prefers to be known, was inspired to be a fishkeeper by Suffolk war hero Douglas Bader.


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Wally, now 80, who lives in Highfield Road, Felixstowe, was a member of the ground staff in the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain. He entered the RAF when he was 17 and for some of his nine years of service during the Second World War he was in charge of ace pilot and amputee Douglas Bader's false legs.

"He got posted from our squadron at Martlesham. He said 'When I come home on leave, you have got to come and see me and bring your girlfriend too'," said Wally.

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But when he went to Bader's home he was surprised to find his aunt opened the door. He had not known that his relative was working as Bader's housekeeper.

"We saw a big fish pond, we thought it was the lake, it was such a big place and it was swarming with goldfish and I thought they looked so beautiful. So it was goldfish that started it off."

Bader offered him a few fish from his pond and Wally took them home which began his hobby of fishkeeping.

Mr Card, who has also owned a fish and chip shop, said: "I had a nervous breakdown and it was fish which cured me. I can sit and watch them and they go so slow that it winds you down."

Brampton-born Wally began to take a professional interest in his hobby in 1950 when he opened an aquarium in St Margarets Street, Ipswich, called Exotarium.

His passion for fishkeeping led him to jointly re-establish the Suffolk club and as an expert, who had a diploma in tropical fish keeping, he travelled the country to give lectures on the subject.

A mistake by maintenance workers four years ago killed off all his remaining fish in 1997 however. They accidentally cut the electricity and the lack of heat, light and filters killed all the fish.

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