Type to search


Tribute to former EFTTA President Erkki Norrell


Former European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) President Erkki Norrell, who has died aged 81, is remembered as one of its most accomplished and personable leaders and a prodigious author of fly fishing books.

Helsinki-born Norell earned a degree in economics before beginning his working career as a salesman with Sammutin Oy, a manufacturer of fire and rescue vehicles. He then joined Rapala, where he was to stay for the next 22 years. He was Marketing Manager for the Finnish company from 1970 to 1987, Factory Manager at the Rapire plant in Ireland until 1991 and then business consultant for a short time before retiring in 1992.

Caroline Thomas, one of the founders of EFTTA and former General Manager of its trade show, EFTTEX, worked with Norell and remembers him as a ‘pragmatic, knowledgeable president who always had the best interests of the trade at heart.’

“Erkki was definitely on the podium when it comes to EFTTA presidents,” she added. “His wife, Mia, was also very supportive and gave us a lot of help during the EFTTEX shows. He was a pleasure to work with. With Erkki at the helm, board meetings ran very smoothly.”

Norell was married to Mia for 56 years and the story of their wedding ring is part of Finnish folklore. The ring was lost just before their wedding, and found 50 years later – on Norell’s 75th birthday – by a small boy playing football.

Norell suffered from the rare hereditary muscle disease, Kennedy Syndrome, which forced him into retirement “too early” and confined him to a wheelchair. However, encouraged by his friend and publisher, Vilho Viksten, he turned to writing.

Norell recalled: “Vilho told me ‘now is the time to write that book. In vain do you chew your sickness. Start compiling your fly fishing book now.’ It became my life’s work. I forgot disease and other difficulties.”

His books and magazine articles drew on his experiences in his hometown of Asikkala and his fishing trips around the world. On many occasions he worked with Seppo Polymer, Finland’s foremost nature illustrator at the time.

He was voted Finland’s Fisherman of the Year in 2008 and was also a consultant for Radio Finland’s nature programmes.

Picture: Erkki and Mirjami Norell celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *