A LAKE where thousands of fish suffocated under thick ice has been restocked with the help of a much-needed cash windfall.
The fish are thought to have been starved of oxygen after ice up to 18 inches thick formed at Mount Pleasant Lake, Fatfield, Washington, during the extreme cold spell before Christmas and new year.
The Washington and Harraton Angling Club, which leases the site from Sunderland City Council, made the shocking discovery after the slow thaw.
Dead carp, roach and eels were spotted under the ice.
Anglers who had fished at the lake for more than 30 years said they had never witnessed such a scene and feared it would take up to a year to arrange the necessary funding to restock the waters.
However, now the club, which had to carry out the grim job of removing the dead fish, has been boosted with a £500 grant from the Community Chest Fund.
The council-run programme is designed to provide support for projects and facilities which benefit communities.
Young carp and tench have now been released into the lake, which is expected to flourish once again in the coming months.
Club secretary Dave Hancock said: “The committee want to thank the Community Chest for their kind donation of £500 towards the re-stocking of Mount Pleasant Lake.
“The site was stocked with carp and tench on Saturday.”
Mr Hancock, 62, from Shiney Row, also paid tribute to those who supported the club throughout its troubles.
“The committee would also like to thank the members who have stayed loyal to the club and Sunderland Fresh Water Angling Club, who have allowed our members to finish their matches while the site was sorted out,” he added.