A FORMER world champion angler from Hampshire has won a national award after inspiring hundreds of youngsters to aim for glory.

Chris Clark, the Daily Echo's sea angling correspondent, has been given a British Citizen Award (BCA) for services to the world of fishing.

The awards were launched two years ago to honour outstanding individuals who strive to make a positive impact in their chosen field.

Chris, described as one of the world’s best sea anglers, won 23 medals during a lifetime of fishing but now devotes his time to nurturing stars of the future.

As reported in the Daily Echo, he suffered devastating injuries in a near-fatal farming accident in 2001, losing much of the mobility in his right arm and leg.

But the incident inspired him to devote all his energies to sea angling and supporting youngsters displaying a talent in the sport.

During the past three years the 68-year-old father and grandfather has been a leading light in the Angling Trust Talent Pathway, which aims to produce world-class anglers.

Chris, of Sway, is one of 34 BCA winners who will be honoured at a prestigious ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on January 25.

He said: “I feel very honoured by this award. More importantly I’m delighted by the legacy it will have in terms of encouraging more people to take up sea angling and consider coaching.

"It's important we do as much as we can to promote and support the talent that individual children have."

One of the award sponsors is a public relations company run by Nathan Rous.

He said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to hear inspirational stories such as Chris’s. There are so many good people who are doing great things and deserve to be recognised in this way.”

Angling coach David Graham added: "Chris Clark's influence has contributed to the promotion of angling both in the UK and internationally.

"He's made a huge impact on the junior angling community by sharing his knowledge countrywide through Angling Roadshows.

"He teaches young people how to improve their fishing and imparts a vast wealth of knowledge.

"Chris has never been recognised formally for his work before, despite devoting endless hours to the sport. "Such recognition is long overdue and I'm so glad that the British Citizens Awards scheme is now making this happen.”