Michelin Memories: Burnley Sea Fishing Club

Michelin Memories is an opportunity for our ex-employee volunteers to share some of their stories with you. In this series we’ll feature recollections from the team alongside images of the documents that sparked these memories off. We’d also be interested to hear about personal memories from our readers – get in touch and we’ll include them here. We’re looking forward to uncovering these stories hidden within the Archive on a regular basis – enjoy!

Burnley Sea Fishing Section is celebrating fifty years this year! The club, which was started back in 1969, was part of the general fishing section and is still active today. Congratulations and happy anniversary!

Burnley Sea Fishing Club

Memory contributed by Tony Bird

Distant memories of casting off in rowing boats from West Coast harbours for a few hours of peaceful fishing, turning into dramas when oars were lost and the tide was on the way out, bring smiles to many faces at our regular fishing meetings when these and other tales regale us. The club has at present a core group of ten people, which has seen the ongoing development from rowing boats to holding inter-factory boat fishing competitions between the English, Scottish and Irish factories. Nowadays our membership has dispersed around the country and also overseas, but for seven or eight times a year we all meet up for the familiar Friday night club meeting which precedes the following weekend fishing trip.

The Burnley team: L-R back row – Tony Bird, John Titherington, Peter Newham, Carl Sandiland, Neil Gorton and Alan Leese. Ian Taylor and Ollie Bates are kneeling at the front (Year unknown)

The crowning glory in our yearly event calendar is the weekend trip to Plymouth organised by our club secretary Carl Sandiford, where the objective is to catch conger eels. The point of this trip is to catch one large enough to qualify the captor to become a member of the British Conger Club. As you can guess, some of our number has achieved this heavenly goal, and the lesser mortals amongst us still strive to reach this pinnacle and be awarded the BCC cap, to be worn with pride amongst their peers.

The Irish team: Ken Sale far left and Tony Bird third from the right (Year unknown)

The first inter-factory competition was held in Ireland and was hosted by the Ballymena factory with help from HR department including Nigel Epps, Ruth Ferguson and Ken Simpson to name but a few. We arrived in Ballymena at 2300hrs on a dark and dreary Friday night and were promptly taken to the Clubhouse where we were plied with Bushmels and where we joined in the Junior Football Trophy presentation. The Scotland team including Kenny Sale had arrived earlier and were well into the celebrations. As you can imagine, Ireland won the competition and the trophy was duly handed over along with medals for all competitors.

The Scottish team: Ken Sale far left (Year unknown)

As the years carried on and visits to other factories took place, the trophy was won by different teams, usually the host with “local knowledge” to explain the results! This inter-factory interaction was not kept to ourselves and a report was written by myself and published in the Bibendum Magazine.

So, moving on to our Fifty Year Anniversary, I was thinking that it may be good to get together with some of the representatives of those teams and also the back room organisers who allowed us the true privilege of representing our individual factories, as well as the chance to bond in a UK-wide family of Michelin workers.

Tight lines to all that read this and remember those days.


If anyone wishes to contact Tony please let us know via the Contact Us page and we can pass your details on to him.