Another Step Forward for Reeds Target Shooting Club

Let’s Get Physical

Albert Reed (1846-1920), owner of Aylesford Paper Mills, in Kent, was a man who believed in fostering a happy working environment for his employees. More than a century ago, Mr Reed established an in-house sports and social club for his workers and their families. As his business grew into one of the largest paper-making plants in Europe, the social club thrived – especially on the target-shooting side.

When the Aylesford site closed, in the 1990s, Reeds Target Shooting Club was left without a home.

Winners of Reeds Pairs Competition

The Wanderer

Twenty years after the closure of Aylesford Paper Mills, Reeds Target Shooting Club is still homeless, renting space from other clubs and keeping membership tight through regular competitions and practice sessions, as well as social events and an active website.

“We’re as big and active as we’ve ever been,” says John Lucas, club secretary (and the club’s sole remaining former Reeds employee). “We still shoot at Bisley once a month; in fact, we do as much shooting as we can. But it’s not the same as having your own place.”

Despite the club’s nomadic existence, there’s a healthy membership of around 100 – and a waiting list, too.

Winner of Reeds Gallery Cup

Every shooting club has a legal obligation to place each new member on three months’ probation before full membership is granted. During this time, an assessment of their suitability can be made. Without their own facilities, however, it isn’t so easy for the members of Reeds to make these assessments.

“And we’re old-fashioned,” says John. “We don’t feel that three months is long enough to get to know new members. At Reeds, the probationary period is six months.”

Moving On Up

For many years, now, this tenacious club has been working towards establishing a new home. Well-attended competitions and social events have raised thousands of pounds so far, and the target is at last coming into sight. Planning permission is now underway for a new indoor range and clubhouse.

It’s not plain sailing though.

“A noise assessment has been requested,” explains John. “We’ve engaged a noise consultant to carry out the assessment, but it’s slowed the process down, and is swallowing up more funds.”

Reeds Christmas dinner 2019

As things stand, the foundations to Reeds’ new home are due to be laid in the spring of 2020. Once building is underway, the club will have access to further fund sources associated with its changed status.

“Once the club is built,” John tells me, “we’ll be able to provide more coaching. There’ll be opportunities for shooters to reach high standards and to compete at international level.”

Reeds has an ethos of diversity and accessibility.

“We plan to broaden our membership. At the moment, about 10 percent of our members are children. We’d like to encourage more youngsters into the club. Our new premises will be equipped with facilities for wheelchair users. Disabled shooters will be welcomed and encouraged. Shooting is such an inclusive sport. We want to make the most of the possibilities.”

Fun, Fun, Fun!

The Reeds Target Shooting Club annual Christmas dinner and raffle is one of the mainstay events in the club’s fundraising programme. This year, the Reeds Christmas dinner was on Saturday 7 December, and, as always, the evening was a lot of fun. The raffle raised over £300.

John Lucas (left) and Bob Peacock

Pellpax’s donation to the raffle was a Norica Dream Hunter air rifle in .22 calibre. The Dream Hunter is a powerful spring-powered rifle with under-lever action and ambidextrous stock. This fantastic prize was won by Bob Peacock.

Events like this will continue to be held until the ribbon is cut at the official opening of the new Reeds clubhouse and shooting range. Nobody knows exactly when that will be, but if the foundations are laid in the spring of next year, the long-awaited goal is certainly within sight. As John says, there’s still a lot of hard work ahead.

“We need to raise another £20,000, or even £30,000. There’s a long way to go.”

Images courtesy of Reeds Target Shooting Club

South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club

On Sunday 10th November, Gary Mitchell and I set off to the South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club in Attleborough. It was the final day of the Norfolk County Rifle Association’s Open 10m Air Rifle and Air Pistol Meeting, incorporating the Norfolk County Championships. This was a three-day event, held on the 8th, 9th, and 10th November.

Carole Darnell

Until 2001, Carole Darnell was a healthy, able-bodied woman. Then, when she was 37 years old – and for no apparent reason – Carole collapsed. She was hospitalised and diagnosed with a progressive neurological disorder.

Now relying on a wheelchair for mobility, and looking for a new hobby, Carole went along with her partner, Chris Cook, to St Michael’s Rifle and Pistol Club in King’s Lynn. Chris was a keen rifle shooter, but when Carole had a go at rifle shooting, she wasn’t inspired.

“Then I tried shooting pistol, and I was hooked. This was the sport for me.”

Just months after Carole bought herself a competition Walther pistol, she became Norfolk Ladies’ Champion – a title she held for several years.

Through her performance in postal competitions, Carole came to the attention of the Eastern Region Training Squad; and at the Welsh Championships, she was picked up as a promising disabled shooter.

Carole began training at Stoke Mandeville, and for two consecutive years held the title of British Disabled Ladies’ Champion. However, at international level, her disability didn’t fit the classification system. She wasn’t disabled enough to compete at international level, yet her disability was severe enough to be a handicap in able-bodied competition.

Having arrived at this barrier to ongoing progress in competitive shooting, Carole had to re-evaluate her situation. She wondered about coaching. The more Carole considered the idea of coaching, the more certain she became that she’d be good at it.

She was right. Chris Dickenson, the club’s Competition Manager, told me, “Carole’s great with working with people and enjoys teaching a sport she is so passionate about.”

After qualifying as a coach, Carole became a national coach for disabled shooters, and she coached able-bodied shooters at county level.

UK’s 1st regional training centre for para-sport shooting 

In 2013, Carole was approached for help.

“I was asked if I’d consider starting up a disabled shooting club. There was nowhere in Norfolk for disabled people to shoot – in fact, there was nowhere that was accessible with a hefty wheelchair.”

Carole, along with her partner, Chris Cook, and mum, Merle Darnell, established the UK’s first regional training centre for para-sport shooting.

“We were two units down from where we are now. There were four firing points, and one of those was a hatch, so people could get through to the loo.”

The club’s first airguns were bought from Pellpax!

Although the new club provided opportunities for many disabled shooters in the area, membership was low. Without a reasonable income, it wasn’t possible to grow the club and to develop. So, five years after founding the club, Carole decided to include able-bodied shooters, transforming the South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club into a truly inclusive shooting community. 

“We’ll let anyone in,” Carole said cheerfully.

Chris Dickenson

Chris Dickenson, the club’s competition manager, is really keen to increase the number of face-to-face competitive shooting opportunities within the county.

“It’s lovely to see people come out of their shell,” she told me. “Some of our disabled shooters first come to us at the club with low self confidence. It’s amazing to see how powerful sport is in transforming people’s lives.”

The Olympic Charter

The more contact I have with people in the world of target shooting, the more evidence I see of the sport’s innate connection with the fourth fundamental principle of Olympism:

The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

In support of this principle, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched the Sport for All programme, which was adopted by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). Shooting Sport for All has introduced the Supported Rest discipline for seniors. This means that anyone over the age of 56 is permitted to rest their rifle barrel or pistol grip whilst taking 30 shots.

Ray Hart, who took the gold medal for Supported Rest Pistol, cheerfully refers to this discipline as “old man shooting”. (I’ll leave you to muse on that concept.)


Air Rifle (60 shots)

Gold                            Olivia Hill                               567

Silver                           Ellie Folkard                           549

Bronze                         Jessy Lodge                            498

Supported Rest Air Rifle (30 shots)

Gold                            Peter Bell                                280

Silver                           Paul Budd                               272

Bronze                         Colin Allison                           252

Bronze                         John Lane                                252

Air Pistol (60 shots)

Gold                            George Mees                           544

Silver                           Tim Fawcett                           540

Bronze                         Janis Purins                             536

Supported Rest Air Pistol (30 shots)

Gold                            Ray Hart                                 273

Silver                           John Lane                                272

Bronze                         Colin Allison                           262

Thank you SNARPC!

It really was a pleasure to meet the members of the South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club and some of the weekend’s competitors. We were made to feel very welcome and involved.

As if the lovely company wasn’t enough, Gary and I left with a plate of homemade cakes!

A Goal is a Dream with an Action Plan and a Time Frame

I first visited North Walsham Rifle & Pistol Club in July 2016. The club’s membership was flourishing, but the physical fabric of the place hadn’t really moved with the times. The old wooden clubhouse was pretty much as it had been in 1933, when the club was founded.

On that visit, the club’s Development Officer, Mike Kirkham, who has been shooting since he was 15 years old, talked to me about the club’s future. Planning permission for a new clubhouse had been granted, and an application was being put together for funding from Sport England. With help and advice from Liz Davidson, Head of Engagement at British Shooting, Chairman Olly Crysell and his committee worked on a plan of action for all-round improvement.

“The key to our success,” Mike told me, three years ago, “has been to change our club culture to think more like a sports club, and to actively promote and market what we offer.”

Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes (Benjamin Franklin) 

In October 2016, Sport England awarded £75,000 to North Walsham Rifle & Pistol Club towards their new clubhouse. This was marvellous news, of course, but the total amount of money needed was £125,000. The club members worked hard at raising funds for the project, and they also applied for, and were granted, aid from North Norfolk District Council’s Big Society Fund, which was established in 2012 to help fund projects that improve and support the social and economic wellbeing of communities.

Karl Read, Leisure and Locality Services Manager at North Norfolk District Council, was impressed by the drive and commitment of NWRPC.

Olivia Hill, international shooting star, sponsored by Pellpax

“Mike, Olly, and the rest of the committee have worked tirelessly in order to grow participation within this club, especially with the junior section. They’ve worked hard in order to create a fresh presence in North Norfolk, and they’ve forged a great relationship with the Council and Active Norfolk.

“The club has created more visibility locally using positive PR and marketing, and they’ve created a working marketing plan. Mike set up a Sports Development plan for the club, and a new website. In the time that I’ve worked with the club, they’ve has seen a 45% increase in membership, which is unheard of in local sports clubs.

“In a nutshell, the members of North Walsham Rifle & Pistol Club have done all the things we would expect from a Big Society applicant, and in a very comprehensive way. I wish the club every success.”

NWRPC now has over 200 members, some of whom have gone on to compete in national and international championships.

Mingling with Members

The evening began with refreshments and conversation. I caught up with several club members I’d met before, including Charles Cain, who, at 76 years old, is still coaching some of the club’s talented young shooters.

It was a great pleasure to meet 17-year-old Jessie Lodge, who shoots in the 10m Precision Air Rifle county air rifle team – and Freya Giles, 19, who has shot for the England Ladies’ team in .22 Target Rifle.

Imogen Wright

Imogen Wright, who’s just 15 years old, began her shooting career with Explorers at North Walsham. Before long, she was a member of the Scout International Squad. Imogen, who shoots with a Steyr, is now on the South East Regional Pistol Squad (SERPS); later this year, she’ll be competing at the Welsh Open and at the Scout Championships at Bisley.

Tony Clarke, Scouts’ Norfolk Shooting Advisor, told me about Target Sprint – a relatively new shooting discipline that’s becoming incredibly popular, especially among younger shooters. Tony explained how Target Sprint works:

“Competitors run 400 meters, then they shoot five targets. They run another 400 meters, shoot another five targets, and then run 400 meters to the finish. The winner is the first past the post. But …” (I think Tony could read my thoughts.) “But you have to hit the targets. You can’t continue until you’ve hit all five. Bear in mind, though, that there’s a limit to the number of attempts you have.”

I was rather disappointed not to see Olivia Hill, who is sponsored by Pellpax. There was a very good reason for her absence, though: she was in Serbia, competing in the Novi Sad Grand Prix. It was, however, great to chat with Olivia’s mum, Lisa.

The official opening

Mike Kirkham

Mike Kirkham began his address with, “A dream is always a dream. A goal is a dream with an action plan and a time frame.” He immediately had everyone’s attention.

Mike thanked everyone for all their hard work, with a special mention for Tony Clarke, the man responsible for a strong junior membership, thanks to Scout involvement.

There was a special mention for the late Ken Nash (1948-2019), who introduced shooting for the blind into the UK. Ken was a life member of both the National Small-Bore Rifle Association (NSRA) and British Blind Sport (BBS). I had the pleasure of talking to Ken in August 2017, when he contributed enormously to A Guide to Disabled Shooting.

Saul Penfold

Mike handed over to Councillor Saul Penfold.

“In 2017,” he began, “an application was received from North Walsham Rifle & Pistol Club for a BSF grant towards a £125,000 project to replace the old wooden clubhouse. The application explained that the existing wooden clubhouse and its facilities were in a poor state and no longer fit for purpose. There was limited social space, no proper kitchen facilities, and no disabled toilet. A new clubhouse was needed to ensure that NWRPC had the appropriate facilities to enable them to cope with their existing and growing membership.”

Just like Karl Read, Mr Penfold expressed his admiration for the club and its members.

Norman Lamb, Lisa Hill, Freya Giles

“Everyone involved in the project is to be congratulated for their dedication and commitment. It’s a fantastic achievement. The new club house will be an asset to the local community for many years.”

Mike Kirkham declared the clubhouse open, and the ribbon was cut by Freya Giles and Lisa Hill (representing Olivia). North Norfolk MP, Norman Lamb, presented the two ladies with bouquets.

Good luck, NWRPC – and congratulations. Here’s to the future!

Benefit Boys Raise £934 for Help for Heroes at Charity Meet

Who are the Benefit Boys?

 In 2014, Garry Brookes attended a charity shoot organised by Vermin Hunters TV, a highly subscribed YouTube show. When it came to accommodation on the camping site, the organisers managed to arrange things to their own advantage. Basically, they got there early and claimed the nicer end of the field for themselves!

As the good-hearted punters rolled up in ones and twos, they found themselves thrown together in a somewhat rougher neighbourhood. Everyone rubbed along really well, and strong bonds developed amongst these ghetto rats, who agreed, as they communed around the camp fire, that it was like ‘living on Benefit Street’ (remember the TV show?). All this good-natured rivalry was purely in fun, of course, and it turned out to be the catalyst to some new and long-lasting friendships.

So, the ‘Benefit Boys’ kept in touch through their new Facebook group, which, before long, comprised 1,000 members from all over the world. Since 2015, the Benefit Boys have held an annual charity shoot at Garry’s home club – Richings Park Airgun Club. All profits are donated to Help for Heroes.

Accessible and Inclusive Airgun Club

It’s not the place. It’s the people that run it. Garry and the guys are out of this world. They make every single person welcome and will do anything they can to help you. (Facebook review)

Richings Park Airgun Club, in Iver, Buckinghamshire, is a relatively new airgun club, established in 2016 to run alongside Richings Park Clay Shooting Club. Driven by an ethos of inclusion and accessibility, this is a place to shoot (competitively, or just for fun) and a place to make friends.

Chairman Garry Brooks says, “It’s the only course in the country that you can go around in a wheelchair – as long as the conditions are right. If someone with a disability turns up, I’ll do my very best to acquire, or build, whatever they need to enable them to shoot. There’ll never be a problem including a person with special needs.”

Help for Heroes

Besides looking out for their own members, Richings Park Airgun Club are staunch supporters of Help for Heroes, a charitable organisation that offers aid to wounded service personnel.

Help for Heroes runs recovery centres (in partnership with the Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion) for the rehabilitation of sick and injured servicemen and -women. In partnership with the British Paralympic Association and other relevant governing bodies, Help for Heroes runs a para-sport programme, which provides access to adaptive sports for the charity’s beneficiaries. Some very successful sporting champions are ex-service personnel who have been encouraged and assisted by Help for Heroes.

A Fun-Filled Weekend at Richings Park Airgun Club

On the last weekend in June, the guys at Richings Park Airgun Club held a three-day shooting event in aid of Help for Heroes.

Benefit Boys and their families came from all over the country, and abroad, to socialise and to raise money for this important cause. There was a lot of catching up to do, so Friday was all about meeting, greeting, drinking and eating. Saturday was shooting day, when 65 of the 80 guests took part in the HFT (hunter field target) competitions.

On Sunday, there were presentations of trophies for outstanding shooting performance. Many congratulations to Paul Andrews, Wally Hale, Toni Bingley, and Sebastian Hale!

The weekend’s grand finale, on Sunday afternoon, was the raffle. Special congratulations to Sam, who won the Pellpax Dragon Kit, donated by Pellpax!

This year, the Benefit Boys’ annual charity shoot raised £934 for Help the Heroes, and the Pellpax team would like to say a big “Well done!” to the organisers and everyone who took part.

Reeds Target Shooting Club

Reeds Target Shooting Club was established more than 100 years ago as part of an in-house sports and social club at Aylesford Paper Mills, which was owned by the philanthropic newsprint tycoon, Albert Reed. Aylesford Paper Mills grew into one of the largest paper-making plants in Europe, and its sports and social club thrived. In the 1990s, however, Reeds International (as the company had become) pulled out of paper manufacture and sold the Aylesford site, leaving Reeds Target Shooting Club without a home.

John Lucas, the current club secretary, and former Reeds employee, describes the Reeds community as “nomads”.

“We’ve been renting space from two other local clubs,” he told me. “But it’s not the same as having your own place.”


Reeds has always had a good feel to it, initiated all those years ago by Albert Reed, who believed in fostering a happy working environment for his employees and their families. Remarkably, the homeless club has around 100 members, aged between 10 and 80. There’s also a long waiting list.

 Why the waiting list?

“By law,” John explained, “each new member must receive a certain amount of instruction. But we can’t provide this instruction to an unlimited number of people, because we don’t have the available facilities.”

 A New Home

But all this is about to change. After years of fundraising, Reeds have entered into an agreement with a sports and social club to build an indoor shooting range on their land. There’s still some way to go before this project can be fully funded, and the members of Reeds Target Shooting Club are working as hard as ever to achieve their goal; in the last two months, £2,300 has been raised for the new range and clubhouse.

At the annual club Christmas dinner, in December, hundreds of raffle tickets were sold, and many generously donated prizes were won. It was the club’s newest recruit, Ben (pictured with Chairman, Andy Reason), who walked away with the star prize – a Pellpax Dragon Kit, donated by Pellpax for the occasion. The rifle, designed with anti-shock resistance and ventilated butt pad, comes with a 3-9×40 scope, pellets, gun bag, and a selection of targets.


So, what happens now?

“Our next steps are to design the facilities and firm up on the building costs before we submit a planning application. At this point, we’ll have a better idea of how much more funding we’ll need. We can then plan ways of getting it.”

After years of hard work and perseverance, the members of Reeds Target Shooting Club are at last in sight of their goal. We wish them well, and look forward to visiting the new club headquarters.

And Ben … enjoy the Pellpax Dragon Kit!

You can find more details of Reed Target Shooting Club at their Official Website

On Target for a New Range

Based in Norfolk, Pellpax is a nationally recognised company, led by a strong ethos of giving something back to the community. Sponsorship of Reeds Target Shooting Club, in Kent, is one of the ways in which Pellpax contributes to the accessibility and inclusiveness of shooting sports.

Reeds Target Shooting Club was established approximately 100 years ago, as part of an in-house sports and social club at Aylesford Paper Mills. The mill was owned by the philanthropic newsprint tycoon, Albert Reed (1846-1920), a man who believed in fostering a happy working environment for his employees and their families. Aylesford Paper Mills became one of the largest paper-making plants in Europe, and its sports and social club thrived.

In the 1990s, however, Reeds International pulled out of paper manufacture and sold the Aylesford site, leaving Reeds Target Shooting Club without a home.

John Lucas, the current club secretary, and former Reeds employee, says, “We’ve been nomads, renting space from two other local clubs: Bearsted & Thurnham Rifle Club, and Tubslake Shooting Club. Once a month, we hire space at Bisley Shooting Ground. But it’s not the same as having your own place.”

Creating a disability friendly shooting range

For many years now, the members of Reeds Target Shooting Club have been fundraising for a new, disabled-friendly range, incorporating a clubhouse with office and storage space. The money is slowly accumulating, but there’s still some way to go.

With approximately 100 members, aged between 10 and 80, the club has a thriving social atmosphere; the driving factor is safe, competitive fun. But, as John explains, it’s difficult to cater for those who want to progress and reach exceptional standards.

“Because we don’t have our own shooting range, there isn’t the opportunity for coaching and intense training. Years ago, the club did really well, competitively, and we had quite a few high fliers. Now, we simply do not have the facilities to nurture this sort of ambition.”

Lack of premises also has an impact on the club’s growth, but the demand for shooting doesn’t decline with disability or older age. By law, each new member must receive a certain amount of instruction; however, with restricted availability of facilities, it’s impossible to provide the necessary instruction for an unlimited number of new members. As a result, there’s a lengthy waiting list – frustrating for everyone concerned, but a positive reflection on the club’s reputation.

How Pellpax have helped

Much of the fundraising takes the form of social events, such as quiz nights, barbeques, and the annual Christmas dinner – with a raffle, of course.

John says, “Pellpax have been very generous. They’ve donated all sorts of shooting-related prizes, from pellets and accessories, to archery equipment – which has proved to be very popular – and even air rifles.”

Another popular event is the ‘race night’. You might think (or maybe it was just me) that this is a kind of sports day, with sack races and the like. But it’s much more exciting: you bet on filmed horse races, with the club playing bookie. If you take part often enough, you might even strike lucky and catch a repeat!

Reeds Target Shooting Club is 100 years old, and has been homeless for 20. After years of hard work and perseverance, its members are at last in sight of their goal; more than half of the required money has been raised, and several landowners have expressed an interest in the project. Pellpax is very proud to be a part of their endeavours.

For more information about Reeds Target Shooting Club, visit the website:

Or email John Lucas at [email protected]

Club Focus: Badersfield Air Rifle Club

This month, our intrepid reporter Hazel Randall visited a local shooting club close to the Pellpax HQ. This is her report on the friendly and welcoming atmosphere at Badersfield Air Rifle Club.

The grounds of RAF Coltishall, now known as Badersfield

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, along with Joe Meakin and Ross Mitchell from Pellpax, I visited Badersfield Air Rifle Club, located on the old RAF Coltishall air base in Norfolk.   

After its closure, RAF Coltishall, which operated from 1938 to 2006, was renamed Badersfield as a tribute to Sir Douglas Bader, one of the most famous and respected airmen of all time, who lost both legs in a crash when he was just 21 years old. Bader was stationed here during WW2, but was captured by the Germans in 1941 after bailing out over occupied France. The 1956 feature film, Reach for the Sky, based on the biography by Paul Brickhill and starring Kenneth More, was a box office hit, and in the 1976 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Bader was appointed a Knight Bachelor for ‘services to disabled people’.


Badersfield Air Rifle Club was founded in 2013 by Pat Gray. Paying for the development out of his own pocket, Pat, with help from friends and family, worked hard on the site, which had run wild during seven years of neglect. He described the clean-up operation.

“First we had to clear away the vegetation and level the ground. I hired an excavator and got a professional tree surgeon in to deal with the larger trees. The site had to be decontaminated by removing all the lead debris.”

The clubhouse is an old RAF building, which blends nicely into its surroundings. With so many of the original military buildings still intact, the RAF Coltishall site is frequently used as a film set. A few hundred meters from the club stands an old American ambulance; and apparently it’s not unusual to witness a car chase or a simulated shoot-out.

One our our staff, Ross Mitchell, tests out his Hortitsia at the range.

Dedicated Members

Badersfield Air Rifle Club began with 15 members and has grown to a membership of 53. The site is maintained by dedicated club members who have, bit by bit, added facilities and made this a really nice club to belong to. One of the latest additions is flood lighting.

“We’re hoping to introduce regular evening sessions soon,” Pat told me.

There are two ranges at Badersfield – the indoor 35-meter range and the long range, where targets stand at varying distances up to 50 meters. To make life interesting, the targets are of different types, including knock-down targets, paper square targets, and spinners; and every now and then there’s the tinkle of a bell target being hit.

Two of the club’s founding members are father and son, Peter and Nick Bowen.

Founding member, Nick Bowen, pictured.

“Dad’s 88,” Nick Bowen told me, “The oldest member of the club. He did his national service in the RAF and he’s one of the few people left who’ve served in an RAF Lancaster crew. He was a wireless operator.”

Nick, who worked for 34 years as a railway engineer, is club ambassador and a keen promoter of disabled shooters. Coping with his own physical disabilities, Nick is acutely aware of the needs of those with limited mobility or dexterity. But he’s also very much aware of the inclusiveness of the sport when it comes to physical ability.

Welcoming Environment

“You could be short, tall, fat, thin, fit, unfit … it makes no difference to shooting. Anyone can do it.”  

Another of Badersfield’s founding members was John Stubley, who was suffering from terminal cancer. John loved shooting, and despite pain and sickness, he continued to take an active part in club life until very shortly before his death. Now, in memory of John, there’s the Stubley Cup, an annual competition held in August and won last year by our very own Pellpax man, Joe Meakin!

Another Pellpax man, Ross Mitchell, is a regular shooter at Badersfield.

“It’s a nice friendly club. When I first went, I didn’t feel like an alien. They treat newcomers the same as long-standing members. The ranges are good, and you can shoot all year round, especially now they’ve got floodlighting. And the weekly competitions and social events are fun – very relaxed.”

Badersfield Air Rifle Club are based at RAF Coltishall, Norwich NR10 5AJ. They can be contacted via Facebook, and on 07885 412 414. New members of all ages are welcome. Having met some of the leading club members, I really can guarantee a warm welcome and a fantastic shooting experience.

Club Focus: North Walsham Rifle and Pistol Club

This month, we take a look at the work of North Walsham Rifle & Pistol Club in Norfolk…..

Shooting with Rifles
The club demonstrate shooting with rifles

Founded in 1934, with a current membership of over 200, North Walsham Rifle & Pistol Club is one of the most progressive target shooting clubs in the country. Development Officer Mike Kirkham, who has been shooting since he was 15 years old, says, “The key to our success has been to change our club culture to think more like a sports club, and to actively promote and market what we offer.”

Safety First

Safety plug
Taking safety precautions

The UK has the toughest gun regulations in the world – and that explains the safety of the sport in this country. Each new member joins NWRPC as a probationer. After six months (and at least 12 shooting sessions), the probationary member graduates to full membership on condition that two committee members declare that he / she is safe to shoot. The new member must then sign to say that he / she has read and understood the range rules, which are displayed on a wall in the clubhouse.

Below the range rules is the signing-in book. Every member must sign in and out on every visit. This is not only a security measure, but also a record that can be referred to in the event of a new licence application – evidence of regular shooting is an advantage to an applicant.

Ranges & Competitions

The NWRPC offers three types of shooting. The .22 target range has 10 firing points (two of which are designed for disabled users) at 25 yards, 50 metres, and 100 yards. (The discrepancy in measurement is a shooting convention.) The air range, with 12 firing points, offers sporting knock-down targets at 40 yards and 70 yards, as well as 10-metre air rifle and air pistol competition shooting. There is also a 25-yard black powder pistol gallery.

Competitive spirit is lively at this club. Some competitions (Norfolk County League, Bedfordshire League, Perthshire League, Somerset League, Hendon League, Eastern Region League) are conducted via mail; participants shoot at pre-labelled targets and send away these targets (score cards), which must be signed by an independent witness – in most cases another club member.

Competition targets
Charles Cain shows his target shooting handiwork

Charles Cain, 73 (and I must stress – a young 73), is an experienced competitor and coach. In the 1980s, he won the English Championship, and won a silver medal for England in the Commonwealth Games. The weekend before I visited the club, Charles had won the Norfolk Summer Championship in Corpusty, a competition that consisted of 80 shots: four targets at 50 yards, 10 times, and four targets at 100 yards, 10 times. Mike Kirkham came third.

Fabian Halstead (club Treasurer) told me that shooting competitions began about 100 years ago. One of the first trophies in circulation is still around today and has been won, on several occasions, by members of the North Walsham Rifle and Pistol Club. It’s a solid silver trophy, awarded to the individual with the highest score in the Norfolk Winter and Summer Outdoor County Meetings, and is housed in an enormous white cabinet – hence the affectionate nickname, ‘The Fridge’.

Funding & Future

North Walsham Gun Club receives substantial support from lottery-funded sporting bodies. Active Norfolk is the County Sports Partnership (CSP) for Norfolk, working in partnership with Norfolk’s local authorities and Sport England to increase participation in sport and physical activity. Another organisation, Sportivate, offers six to eight weeks’ free or subsidised coaching to young people between the ages of 11 and 25, with particular emphasis on individuals with a disability or from a low-income family.

The club’s key aim is to encourage youngsters in the sport. The provision of range facilities for scout groups – the main source of new members – plays an important role in the progressive development of the club. Mike Kirkham hopes that it won’t be too long before young Norfolk target shooters are competing at an international level.

The NWRPC, which is open to members from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 364 days in the year, had over 5,500 visits from members in the last 12 months. If you are interested in becoming a member, contact Oliver Crysell (Chairman) on 01692 581997 or head to for more information. To find out more about Active Norfolk head to their website

Club Focus: Cromer Air Rifle Club

kneeling air rifle shot
A club member practicing his aim

In a new feature, we take a look at airgun clubs up and down the country. This month it’s the turn of Cromer Air Rifle Club, which is in our part of the world, Eastern England. 

Cromer Air Rifle Club was established in 1974. Like most airgun clubs at that time, it was an indoor range, which meant shooting paper targets at six yards, using 6 ft/lb air rifles – not too challenging, but great fun when you’re in competition. But as the sport waned in popularity, so did local competition. Airgun clubs’ membership was diminishing, and some clubs just folded. For the handful of members remaining in the Cromer Air Rifle Club, indoor shooting was not much fun.

So, in the 1980s, the club moved outside, to a range where members could shoot at 55-yard targets, using 12 ft/lb guns. The ft/lb unit is a measurement of kinetic energy, calculated by multiplying half the mass of the projectile by the velocity squared. It is a legal requirement that an airgun that shoots over 12 ft/lbs (approximately equal to 16 joules) must have a firearms certificate.

Outdoors, with mud, foliage, nice views and weather, competition wasn’t so important. Shooting with a few friends, or even alone, was a pleasure. Now airgun shooting was fun again, and, as you would expect, club membership grew.   

Nick Larty with a hand-built Sports Match GC2 air rifle
Nick Larty with a hand-built Sports Match GC2 air rifle

The Cromer Air Rifle Club now has its home in Bodham, in a quiet, out-of-the-way location on farmland. The long track that leads from the road to the shooting ground is very thoughtfully signposted with the location’s postcode. Shooters meet every Sunday morning between nine o’clock and twelve o’clock, unless it’s raining.

There are only eight airgun clubs in this region – a region that covers no fewer than eight counties. The winter league, which takes place every year between October and April, is open to all members of these eight BFTA (British Field Target Association) clubs, and each club takes a turn to host a round.

It’s a thirty-shot course, undertaken in pairs. In each of the 15 lanes there are four targets – two for each shooter. Every metal target is punched with a hole, which is 35 mm, 25 mm, or 15 mm in diameter. Behind the hole is a piece of metal on a spring, which, when hit, gives a satisfying ‘clunk’.

Airgun shooting is normally done in a sitting or lying position, but some of the targets in the Winter League competition are ‘positional’ shots, whichnr postcode picture must be taken from a standing and a kneeling position. (If your knees aren’t up to kneeling, you can opt for standing only!)

If you are interested in taking up airgun shooting, or if you are an experienced shooter looking for a local club, contact Nick Larty, Cromer Air Rifle Club co-ordinator, on 01263 570 223 or 07796 904 482, or just turn up at the club on a Sunday morning from 9 a.m. The postcode is NR25 6PN.