Couple realise fishery dream after selling businesses

Lee Carver has closed down his bathroom business to follow his dream and has created East Bilney Fis

Lee Carver has closed down his bathroom business to follow his dream and has created East Bilney Fishing Lakes and The Kitchen Cafe at East Bilney Lakes along with his wife Kelly.

A entrepreneurial couple is living the dream after selling their businesses and going all in on a new fishery. 

Lee and Kelly Carver from Norwich fulfilled a lifelong ambition of operating a fishing lake after reopening the East Bilney fishery in May. The bathroom tradesman has wanted to do this since he was 18.

He and his wife Kelly have flipped properties to fund the project, which has seen them revive the derelict lake into a thriving fisherman’s paradise, from desilting and cleaning all the ponds and lakes, restocking them, to building a new cafe and making the whole area wheelchair accessible.

Lee Carver has closed down his bathroom business to follow his dream and has created East Bilney Fis

The lakes at East Bilney have seen a surge of business since reopening - Credit: Sonya Duncan

 

“It was immensely run down, and we have gone hell for leather to revamp it,” he added.

Mr Carver owns Lee Carver Bathrooms, which he plans to close once the lake takes off. Mrs Carver sold up her flower shop Oops a Daisy to fund the venture.

The 43-year-old said his passion for fishing, something he has been doing since he was 18, is far stronger, as he plans to give it up when the lake picks up. 

Lee Carver has closed down his bathroom business to follow his dream and has created East Bilney Fis

The Kitchen Cafe at East Bilney Lakes. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“I want to do it for the lifestyle, I can choose when I can work, I do not want to be in my trade any longer, and this would be a job I would love,” he said.

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“It's like a golfer owning their course, it is what everyone wants to do.”

Mr Carver said he had been monitoring lakes for sales for several years, but when presented with the chance to reinstate East Bilney to its former glory after being closed for the past 18 years, he jumped at the chance.

“I’ve wanted to own a lake since I was 18, I am now 43,” he said.

“This site is stunning, it used to be the first commercial fishery around 30 years ago. Everyone used to come here, and the people coming here, 90pc say they came here when younger.

“It's very nostalgic and has a lot of memories for people - it is something special.”

Lee Carver has closed down his bathroom business to follow his dream and has created East Bilney Fis

Lee Carver with his wife Kelly. The couple have reopened East Bilney fishing lakes - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The pair opened the lakes, which are full of Carp, Bream, and Tench to name a few, after 16 months of work on May 14, and all their hard work appeared to pay off, with Mr Carver saying over 600 people visited the lake over the first two days of trading.

Now, Mr Carver is looking to build on the early success, with ideas in development to host competitions, festivals, and coaching for children.