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“Bloody hell, those photos are beautiful!”, “Yeah, that’s all Rik.”

One of the regular messages I get during the Wild Trout Trust Auction (which has raised a whopping £84,154 this year) is about the photographs, and my response is, “that’s all Rik’s work”.

The alphabet brought us together (literally) nearly… 40 years ago. We sat next to each other at school due to the N and P in our surnames. If there had been someone with an O between us then things may have been different but it’s fair to say we’ve been inseparable (some might say stuck with each other) ever since.

Through thick and thin and all that life has thrown at us, we’re still here and most importantly still best friends.

Rik always had a good eye and an interest in photography, after running his own design business he moved into wedding photography and his work is truly unique and stunning. A reportage style that captures every element of the day with a modern yet almost old masterly feel.

When we celebrated my 50th down in Cornwall a few years ago at Restormel Manor, Rik brought his camera along and not only captured some great shots of family, friends (and fishing) but also of the wonderful private chef Philippa Davis who looked after us all so magnificently.

He turns that same eye to capture everything from corporate and family shots, interiors, landscapes, private gardens and even my flies. Taking in his stride the extra challenge this year of photographing a rod, a box and a book.

No mean fisherman himself (both coarse and fly) we strangely haven’t fished together for years, something that we’ll definitely have to put right this season.

So, when you look at Rik’s photographs of my flies, it’s incredible to think that it’s over 40 years in the making… with never a cross word and a friendship that like all the very best things in life, improves with age.

Cheers Rik! Thanks for everything and here’s hoping for another 40 odd years (we’ll be hilarious by then).

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