How I got into archery

In September / October 1994 I was asked by a school friend to go and check out a new after school club. It turned out to be an archery club being run by Clive Walker and Paul Porter two teachers at the school. The club had only just started and I became a part of it. From that point I was hooked. The club was called The Magna Carta School Field Archery Club. I entered many archery competitions and shot at the school either in the grounds or in the main sports hall every Friday evening.

After only a year I managed to buy a second hand Quicks take down recurve. It shot well and so did I! Around this time I got introduced to Carol Edwards, Mick Pearce and more importantly Chris Boyton. At this point I did not know how much impact they would have on my life, especially Chris.

When the school archery club managed to negotiate the use of some woodland in Lyne Village, I jumped at the chance to help carve out an archery course for the school club to use.  Initially we only managed to set up between 5 to 7 targets in the woods. It was very dense rhododendron everywhere, it’s not like that anymore.

Up to the early 2000’s I spent many weekends helping to slash and cut into the rhododendron to create a bigger course until we had a course big enough to invite people outside of the school to come and shoot.

I was getting quite good at shooting and winning medals so decided to go to the National Champs of the NFAS (National Field Archery Society) in 1996 at Cannock. My parents drove me very early on the Saturday morning to make sure I made registration on time. I was shooting HT (Hunting Tackle) style in the junior male category. I came 10th out of 15 and left the Champs thinking to myself I’m not doing that again. I put way too much pressure on myself.

In the early part of 1997 I stopped shooting to allow me to concentrate on my GCSEs and my first few months at college. At the beginning of 1998 I realised I missed shooting my bow and went back to the school club to start shooting again, as well as helping to teach and mentor the younger club members.

From time to time Carol Edwards, Chris Boyton and others would come up to the woods to help teach the students or work on the course itself. This is when I first started talking to Chris about the different bows from around the world.

I continued going every Friday to teach and mentor the younger school club members while I was at college up to the middle of 2000. I also attended competitions when I could. When I started full time work I managed convince my employer to allow me to finish an hour early on Fridays to continue teaching and mentoring the younger club members.  Unfortunately when I moved jobs in mid 2004 I could no longer commit to helping out on Fridays, but I still continued for a few more years helping at weekends in the woods.

In February 2002 I got my first longbow and have loved shooting a longbow ever since. I tried many different bows from many different bowers. The only one that suited me and my style of shooting was a Chris Boyton bow.

In the late 2002, I have started helping and getting involved with the Longbow Heritage archery club, especially with setting up the course for the big Jim’s Jungle Jaunt weekend shoot and have done so ever since.

Around the time I started to help out at the Longbow Heritage archery club, I started spending weekends at Carol Edwards-Pearce’s workshop (Carol Archery). While at the workshop I would do anything from making tea for customers, tidying the workshop to cutting the grass on the shooting range. No money ever changed hands; I did it because I enjoyed it. It also helped to relieve stress from a week at work. While at Carol’s workshop I spent a lot of time chatting to Chris Boyton when he popped in after finishing at his workshop. We would talk about anything from archery, what I’ve been doing at work, to his days at BT.

I’ve been shooting, making arrows, making bows, building courses, coaching people to shoot ever since.

So a big thank you to Carol Edwards-Pearce, Chris Boyton, Mick Pearce, Clive Walker and Paul Porter who encouraged me along the way with my shooting, bow making etc.

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