James Anderson was a Member of the Flyfishers’ Club for a tragically short two years until his death on 11th March 2015, aged 36. He is survived by his mother Angela, his wife Odharna and their wonderful young children Flynn and Celeste.
James grew up in Wimbledon Village and attended The Dragon School and Sherborne. His childhood summers were split between West Wittering and Trochry, by Dunkeld, where the seeds were sown for a lifetime’s obsession with fly fishing.
Following a degree from Oxford Brookes, James spent many enjoyable years at M&C Saatchi before joining J. Walter Thompson as a Global Business Director.
James was a man of eclectic interests: golf at Royal Wimbledon, rugby at Twickenham, cricket at Lords, lectures at the Royal Geographical Society, as well as sailing, travel, contemporary art, literature and film. He loved to cook for his friends and alongside everything else in 2012 launched “Anderson & Son – Good Honest Soups”, a firm favourite at Chiswick Farmers Market.
Yet above all these stood two things: his family and fly fishing.
He was inherently inquisitive and loved the challenges presented by a chalk stream. He spent hours watching the fish and studying their behaviour. His understanding of fly patterns was as outstanding as his ability to deliver the perfectly weighted cast at just the right moment.
He often combined fishing and travel: the Zambezi for tiger fish, Mozambique for sailfish (on his honeymoon!) and Tasmania for trout. His love of the outdoors and sense of adventure was encouraged in no small part by the books of “BB”, in particular “The Pool of the Black Witch”, from which a passage was read at his funeral.
He loved saltwater fly fishing too, partly because it meant a whole new armoury of kit, initially for sea bass around Wittering and in recent years on trips as far away as Venezuela.
James lived under the shadow of his brain tumour for several years but his positivity and good humour were unrelenting. On arrival home from his first radiotherapy session, Odharna asked with understandable trepidation how it had gone. “Piece of piss” he replied with a smile, and handed her a present. After his second session, he came home and made an elaborate “Stick Man” costume for Flynn’s World Book Day competition. Needless to say, he won first prize.
He was a quite remarkable friend and will be remembered by so many, not only those closest to him, but also those whose lives he barely touched but who have been so visibly effected by his passing.
James’s love of fly fishing and family were never more entwined than on our last trip together. In January, just a few weeks before he died, we travelled to Alphonse, a remote atoll off the Seychelles. James caught more than anyone that week, including the metre-long “GT” proudly displayed in the photo above. On each day that he was away, his children awoke in Chiswick to a treasure hunt that he had devised in advance.
Rising early on our final morning, I noticed a figure already out on the flats. James’s dedication had taken him out before first light. The water was alive with bonefish tailing as the tide rose. He was in fishing nirvana, rod in hand, but with his thoughts no doubt turning to Odharna, Flynn and Celeste whom he utterly adored. What a perfect way to cast a fly for the last time.
Harry Thorburn (m 96)