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Coronavirus: Stunning NHS Warrior salmon fly set to land auction boost for frontline heroes

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The intricate art of tying salmon flies has been revived by a former Angus man with an award-winning fundraising creation for the NHS.

Country sports enthusiast Ranald Hutton started tying trout and salmon flies at the age of 11 with his father Andrew – an Beano comic artist – and at one stage, was classed as the best in the world.

Ranald with a fine salmon during a previous fishing trip.

For several years he ran a mail order business sending his bespoke flies to anglers across several continents before going on to teach art and design at Kirkland High School in Methil.

Ranald, 66, fishes as part of a syndicate in Scone but with anglers banned from rivers under coronavirus restrictions, he used his spare time to create the NHS Warrior, which will now be part of a fundraising effort for Captain Tom Moore’s heroic campaign,

Friend and River Tay ghillie, Cohn O’Dea, persuaded Ranald to enter a lockdown fly tying competition, organised by the FishPal angling booking site.

NHS Warrior, which fuses the colours of the NHS logo as a mark of respect to frontline health staff, was selected as the winner of the online event.

The award-winning HHS Warrior.

Ranald, who now lives in Glenrothes, plans to auction his creation, as well as selling special mugs bearing the design.

He said: “Tying the fly took a long time. It is a very meticulous process and there are quite a lot of exotic materials involved.

“I am actually just glad I can still do it and my eyes are still okay,” said the trained artist, who was crowned best in the world when he won the Fly Dressers’ Guild competition for professionals in 1970 at the age of just 16.

“It is a symbolic fly. I considered the colours carefully, to assess how appropriate they were for the NHS. I am really quite pleased with how it has turned out.”

Mugs bearing the salmon fly design will be sold for NHS charities.

He has tied flies for a number of angling personalities and his work was regularly stocked by suppliers such as the iconic PD Malloch’s of Perth.

Ranald now intends to mount NHS Warrior, adding his signature flourishes, and auction the fly to raise cash to benefit health service employees.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association fishing group said: “What Ranald is doing is great and we hope lots of people bid when the time comes. It is another example of what individuals in the game sector have been doing to help others during the pandemic.”

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