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

Olivia Hill Receives Award for Outstanding Sporting Achievement

The Broadland Community at Heart Awards

The Broadland Community at Heart Awards celebrate the region’s community heroes. Eighteen-year-old Olivia Hill, who is sponsored by Pellpax, was among those nominated for the outstanding sporting achievement award. As you can imagine, the whole Pellpax team is tremendously proud of our protégée for being the winner of that award.

The judging panel included Mick Parker of Parker Communications, who organised the event, and Chairman of Broadland District Council. Also on the panel were two representatives of Price Bailey Chartered Accountants, regular sponsors of the Broadland Community at Heart Awards. Matthew Hector (Business Development Manager) and James Elvin (Manager) were hugely impressed by Olivia’s attitude and achievements.

“The Outstanding Sporting Achievement category was incredibly hard to judge,” Mr Elvin told me. “Olivia was crowned the winner due to her outstanding achievements and commitment at such a young age. To compete at her level must have meant some sacrifices, and to have overcome so many hurdles, whilst continuing her studies, is commendable.”

Mr Hector added, “Well done Olivia. We look forward to watching your continued success”.

South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club

Having followed Olivia’s shooting career for some time now, we thought it was about time we saw her in action. So, 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.

In preparation for the competition, Olivia had checked every one of her RWS R10 flathead (wadcutter) pellets for imperfections. Nevertheless, before loading each pellet, Olivia looked it over carefully, paying attention to the skirt, where a nick or an indentation might affect the pellet’s trajectory. Pellets can become corroded as a result of contact with each other in the tin.

“If it doesn’t look right,” Olivia explained, “don’t shoot it.”

Norfolk County Champion

Just a few minutes into the shooting time, Olivia felt that her rifle sight needed to be adjusted. However, even after carrying out work on her kit, Olivia wasn’t totally happy. Other competitors were also struggling with vision, and it soon became apparent that the problem was due to the changing natural light that was coming through the opaque skylights. As nothing could be done about this, they pressed on, adjusting their eyes as well as possible to the fluctuating brightness on the range.

Despite scoring a little below her own expectations, Olivia won Gold in the Open, and Gold in the Confined, meaning that she’s the overall 10m County Champion. 

What’s next for Olivia?

To round off another fantastic year, Olivia will be travelling to Luxembourg, where she’ll compete in the 37th RIAC and IBIS CUP. The competition, which will run from 11th to 14th December, is an annual international event organised by FLTAS (Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Tir aux Armes Sportives). Last year, at this competition, Olivia performed very well in her first mixed doubles event. Her impression of Christmastime in Luxembourg, though, was mostly about the hot chocolate!

Olivia Hill Shines at the 2019 Welsh Open

Sport Wales National Centre

Earlier this month, 18-year-old Olivia Hill, who is sponsored by Pellpax, took part in the Welsh Open Airgun Championships at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.

Olivia with team mates Michaela Green and Amy Lott

This huge sporting facility, owned and operated by Sport Wales, was opened in 1971. The project began 10 years earlier, when the Welsh Committee of the Central Council of Physical Recreation carried out a survey of existing sporting facilities in Wales. In 1965, the Sports Council for Wales was formed, and construction of the National Sports Centre for Wales (which in 2010 became Sport Wales National Centre) began in 1969.

Medals for Olivia

Olivia competing in the Welsh Open 2019

Olivia performed well in the three-day event, qualifying for a place in the final on each day’s shoot.

On the second day – the Saturday – Olivia was already at the firing point when she realised that she needed to adjust her rifle’s butt-plate to suit her natural point of aim. Olivia went to her kit bag and made the necessary adjustments, returning to the range 20 minutes later. In order to complete the shoot in time, Olivia could now afford very little time between shots.    

Despite having to deal with technical difficulties, Olivia qualified for the final and finished third for a bronze medal.

Olivia with team mates Amy Lott, Michaela Green

On the Sunday, Olivia once again qualified for the final, and won another bronze medal.

For a great finish to the weekend, Olivia and her two team-mates, Amy Lott and Michaela Green, won gold in the team event. Nicknamed “The Three Musketeers”, these ladies really are a force to be reckoned with!

Success for Olivia in 2019

It’s been a great year for Olivia. So far in 2019, this talented young shooter from Norfolk has competed in numerous national and international competitions:

  • February: At the Intershoot, Holland, the GB Talent Squad Junior Ladies’ team (Olivia Hill, Emily Bale, and Phoebe Taylor) won silver in the team event.
  • April: At the ESSU (English Smallbore Shooting Union) Championships at Bisley, UK, Olivia finished 2nd in the open event. As the highest-scoring junior, Olivia won the title of English Junior 10m Air Rifle Champion.
  • July: The Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, was Olivia’s first Junior World Cup.
  • August: Novi Sad Grand Prix, Serbia.
Olivia at the Norfolk Open 2018

In November, Olivia will be competing in the Surrey Open at Bisley, and in the Norfolk County Championships at South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club.

Keep up to date with Olivia’s shooting career on Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of Lisa Hill and Gaynor Warren

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.

Olivia Hill is Selected to Represent Great Britain at the Novi Sad Grand Prix in Serbia

Olivia’s Shooting Career Year 1

This week, Pellpax is celebrating yet another success from talented target shooter, Olivia Hill. Olivia, 18, has been with the Pellpax sponsorship programme since the beginning of 2018. On Monday 15 July, when British Shooting announced the GB team for the Novi Sad Grand Prix in Serbia, next month, Olivia was competing at the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany.

Olivia at the Norfolk Open

Over the last eighteen months, Olivia (known by friends and family as Liv) has progressed from 16-year-old novice to accomplished sportswoman.

In 2018, Liv’s shooting diary included:

  • InterShoot, Holland (February)
  • British Open Airgun Championship, Bisley (April)
  • English Championships, Bisley (April)
  • Norfolk Open, North Walsham (June)
  • Junior International, Bisley (August)
  • Scout National Championships, Bisley (October)
  • Welsh Open, Cardiff (November)
  • Surrey Open, Bisley (December)
  • RIAC, Luxembourg (December)

Olivia Hill 2019

Olivia Hill (centre), Emily Bale, Phoebe Taylor

In February this year, at the 2019 Intershoot in Holland, the GB Talent Squad Junior Ladies’ team – Olivia Hill, Emily Bale, and Phoebe Taylor – won Silver in the team event. Two months later, in April, Liv was competing in the ESSU (English Small-bore Shooting Union) Championships at Bisley. Liv qualified 1st in Juniors and 4th in the Open event, earning herself a place in the final. Finishing 2nd overall, Liv was the highest-scoring junior, and she came home with the title of English Junior 10m Air Rifle Champion.

Paul Goater, manager of the England Rifle Academy and lead air rifle coach for the Rifle Talent Squad, is Olivia’s primary coach.

“She’s been a real pleasure to coach, and if she keeps working hard, is certainly capable of great things. I hope that I am fortunate enough to remain part of her support team moving forward.”

Junior World Cup in Suhl

Olivia competing at the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany

At the time of writing, 18-year-old Liv is competing in the Junior World Cup at the Suhl-Friedberg Shooting Centre in Suhl, Germany. After her first match, Liv posted on Instagram:

“It was an amazing experience to shoot alongside some great shooters from so many different countries and see how others prepare to perform at their best. I can now say I have competed in my first Junior World Cup!”

Novi Sad Grand Prix, in Serbia

On the day Liv first competed in a Junior World Cup, British Shooting announced the GB team for the Novi Sad Grand Prix – a competition organised by the ESC (European Shooting Confederation). Olivia Hill had made the team!

“SUPER SUPER SUPER EXCITED to finally announce I have been selected to represent Great Britain in the Novi Sad Grand Prix in Serbia!!!” (Instagram 15 July)

Needless to say, the whole Pellpax team are immensely proud to be Olivia’s sponsor, and we believe that our Norfolk girl will keep shooting to the very top of her sport.

Liv says, “Pellpax has enabled me to do more training and competitions by supporting me.”

To keep up to date with Olivia’s shooting progress, why not follow her on Instagram

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Olivia Hill – A Shooting Star

One year on

Olivia Hill with her Norfolk Open Trophies

It was one year ago that Pellpax committed to the sponsorship of Olivia Hill from Marsham, Norfolk. For the past year, Pellpax has contributed financial assistance to this talented young shooter, facilitating a full training programme and attendance at national and international competitions.

For 17-year-old Olivia, these past 12 months have been a time of exhilarating success, bitter disappointment, and, above all, rigorous hard work.

Olivia, a member of the Norfolk County team, the National Scout Rifle Squad, the GB Rifle Talent Squad, and the England Rifle Academy, took up precision air rifle target shooting in 2016, and this bright, ambitious A-level student has quickly become one of the UK’s shining stars of the sport.

In February 2018, Olivia travelled to The Hague, Holland, for the famous Intershoot event – her first international competition – and in the spring of that year, she competed in the British Open Airgun Championships and the English Championships, both at the Bisley National Shooting Centre.

Did anyone pack the insect repellent …?

The summer of 2018 began well for Olivia, when she achieved 1st place in the Junior Cup and in Ladies’ Class C and Class D at the Norfolk Open in June – her first small-bore competition.

A couple of months later, in August, Olivia survived a turbulent Junior International at the Lord Roberts Centre, Bisley.

On Day One, Olivia was plagued by a fly that kept settling on the end of her rifle; nevertheless, the young Pellpax star qualified in first place. However, later that day, during the final, Olivia found that she was unable to move her sights, as the stalk on the lens holder was too long, preventing any movement. Olivia remembers the incident vividly. 

“After the final that evening, Tony Clarke, from Zero Point ESU [Explorer Scout Unit], who was with us, ordered an angle grinder from Screwfix. He picked it up at 7 a.m. the next day, as soon as the store opened, drove back with it, dismantled the lens holder and sights, made the stalk shorter, and put it all back together again. I had just enough time to squeeze in a quick warm-up before being called to the line at 8.30!”

The manic start to the day unsettled Olivia. After knocking her pellets onto the ground, she came off the range to restock and to get her head back in the game. Olivia regained her composure and took Bronze in the Grand Prix and Silver in the team event.

Personal Bests just keep getting better

In October, Olivia won Silvers in 10m Precision Air Rifle and Small-Bore (under 18s) at the 42nd Scout National Championships at Bisley. Shortly after that, in November, she gave a fantastic performance at the Welsh Open, which was held at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Day One of the Welsh Open saw Olivia qualify with a new competition personal best, and go on to take Silver in the final. Olivia also reached the final on Day Two, and again on Day Three, when she smashed her previous PB in the qualifying stage. There was more cause for celebration when Olivia and her two team mates took Gold in the team competition.

The Surrey Open at Bisley, in December, was a combined meet – a tough competition for junior shooters, who must compete alongside, and against, seniors. On both days of the competition, Olivia earned herself a place in the finals by achieving a position within the top eight in the qualifying rounds.

Later in the month, after an excellent performance at the Norfolk Winter Open, Olivia competed alongside other GB Rifle Talent Squad members at the RIAC in Luxembourg. The RIAC is an annual international event organised by FLTAS (Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Tir aux Armes Sportives). Olivia’s matches went well, including her first ever mixed pairs match with team mate Tom Warren.

And what was the best bit about Luxembourg at Christmas time?

“Fantastic hot chocolate!”

Intershoot, The Hague, Holland

Olivia won Silver with her team mates in the Junior Ladies event at the Intershoot Event

The well-known and extremely popular Intershoot event has been held annually (with the exception of just one year) since 1977. Keen to offer his pupils the opportunity of shooting at international level, the Dutch coach, Stek Geerts, organised this competition in conjunction with friends from abroad. Now, more than 40 years on, the event still embraces the spirit of fun and inclusiveness.

The British team travelled en masse to the event. The party comprised 13 GB Rifle Talent Squad members, two members of the England Rifle Academy Squad, and three coaches.

“There was brilliant team spirit,” Olivia said, “with everyone supporting each other.”

Although Olivia’s matches didn’t go quite as well as she had hoped, she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It was such a great feeling to be shooting with, and against, some of the best shooters in the world. I made some friends from other countries … and I tried my first chicken schnitzel!”

Even better than chicken schnitzel (I think) – the GB Talent Squad Junior Ladies won Silver in the team event. The photograph shows Olivia (centre) with her team mates, Emily Bale (left) and Phoebe Taylor (right), on the podium.

Olivia told me, “This was my first international medal. Hopefully more to come!”

What’s next for Olivia?

Later this month – 22nd to 24th February – Olivia will be competing in the British Championships at the Lord Roberts Centre, Bisley.

And after that, there’ll be more competitions and more training. Each time Olivia aims her rifle at the target, she’s taking another step closer to where she wants to be.

“My next goal is to become a British Shooting Academy athlete. And further down the line, I’d like to represent my country and compete in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.”

It’s been a busy year for Olivia.

“I’d like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all the Great Britain Rifle Talent Squad coaches for their guidance and support throughout the year and at the competitions, those at my local ranges, North Walsham RPC and Norwich City Target Club, who offer daily support, and Tony Clarke, with Zero Point ESU. And I’d also like to thank Pellpax for their ongoing support.”

Coming of Age for Pellpax Star

James taking aim at a shooting range.

Key of the Door

It’s hard to believe that, until October this year (2018), James Farquharson – international target-shooting champion, qualified first-aider, and experienced shooting and canoeing instructor – was a minor.

When seventeen-year-old James began sponsorship with Pellpax, we were all wowed by his talent, determination, and maturity. We were taken aback by this lad with an intellect beyond his years. But in October, James (legally) became a man.

So, what’s been happening this autumn? I caught up with James for the latest news. As you would expect, he’s been busy!

National Scout Rifle Championships

In October, James competed in the National Scout Rifle Championships. The competition, which was sponsored by the National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA), was held at the National Shooting Centre at Bisley – the UK’s premier shooting venue, and international home of target shooting. James came away with five medals: three Bronzes, a Silver, and a Gold.

Surrey Open Airgun Meeting

The Surrey Open Airgun Meeting takes place each November at the Lord Roberts Centre, Bisley. The Lord Roberts Centre was originally built to host the small-bore shooting events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It is now the NSRA headquarters and home to the Association’s 10m airgun and 50m rifle ranges.

The competition was played over two days, and James took first place in the Mixed Sporter event on both days, clocking up a score of 353 on the Saturday and 359 on the Sunday. In the ISSF Junior Men’s Air Rifle, James scored a total of 578.6, although, on this occasion, he didn’t achieve a medal placement. On the Sunday, James was roped into helping out on the range, due to a shortage of range staff.

James takes aim in the prone position, sporting his Pellpax gear.

November: Welsh Open Airgun

The Welsh Open, sponsored by the England Smallbore Shooting Union (ESSU), was held in November at Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.

James told me, “This was my first full ISSF Air Rifle competition, and I was pleased to exceed my goal of 570 on two of my three shoots. It was a really nice competition, and I enjoyed my trip up to Wales.”

Greater London South West Scout Shooting Competition

James’ dad, Huw, has been involved in Scouting since he became a Cub Scout in 1976. Although he never put any pressure on his son to follow in his footsteps, it was a route that James chose to take.

“I guess I have Dad to thank for everything I’ve done, seeing as it’s all been through Scouts!”

Huw Farquharson is the current Secretary of the Royal Kingston Scout Air Rifle Club (RKSARC), and James is webmaster and armourer. For the last four or five years, father and son have been organising Scouts’ annual shooting competitions: the Royal Kingston Scout Open Airgun Competition in March, and the annual Greater London South West Scout Shooting Competition in November. James was pleased with this November’s event.

“Ninety-one shooters attended. Between them, they fired 2840 shots at 568 targets, gaining a cumulative score of 15,092 points!”

An Academic Study

James, who is in the middle of A level studies, has recently completed an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). The EPQ, a relatively new qualification that takes the form of a thesis, was devised in 2006 and is highly valued by universities for its rigorous academic content. James’ subject was the psychological and physiological effects of target shooting in the UK.

James’ investigation into the psychological and physiological effects of shooting was based on a study of more than 100 people, each of whom identified themselves as either a ‘shooter’ or a ‘non-shooter’. His analysis took into account the fact that some of the common characteristics and skills of shooters might be factors in their attraction to the sport, rather than a direct result of target shooting. James also highlighted the possibility that shooters, in an effort to contradict unfavourable public opinion, might be (either consciously or unconsciously) inclined to weight their answers towards a favourable conclusion.

However, one particular result stands out clearly: in general, shooters possess a significantly higher level of dexterity than non-shooters. James explains that this could be a predisposition of those who are drawn to the sport; but on the other hand, it could well be the result of regular target-shooting practice. As the dexterity tests were based purely on aptitude rather than self-analysis, James considers this conclusion to be reliably accurate.

“There’s a lot more research to be done on this subject,” James said. “For example, I’d like to make a more in-depth study of aggression levels. The results of this survey showed shooters to be less aggressive than non-shooters. This doesn’t surprise me at all, but I’m really interested in discovering the reasons for this.”

James has a busy year ahead of him. Keep an eye on the Pellpax blog for more news.

Seven Golds for James at Bisley

Success at the NSRA Junior International

James Farquharson was just 12 years old when he first took part in the NSRA (National Small-Bore Rifle Association) Junior International at Bisley. That was in 2013.

James Farquharson

This year, James returned for his fifth Junior International, having missed only one event since his first, due to broken fingers and a broken wrist. From what I’ve learned about James over the short time we’ve been acquainted, I’d hazard a guess that the young shooter had been quite ready and willing to compete, despite broken bones!

This year’s Junior International took place from 6th to 9th August and was attended by approximately 150 competitors from seven different countries, ranging from children of 11 years old to men and women of 20.

Incredible Atmosphere

James, sponsored by Pellpax since April, was on top form. The 17-year-old won three Gold medals: 10m Sporter 3 Position, 10m Sporter Standing, and 10m Sporter Standing Grand Prix. In the Grand Prix, James scored 363 ex. (Latin: out of) 400 – a personal best.

By nature, James is a competitive and sociable person, and he thrives on the adrenalin-rich atmosphere that envelopes an event of this kind.

“It’s really hard to explain the atmosphere of the Junior International. I honestly think it’s one of the best sporting events ever, and this year has been the best so far. We always have a closing gathering on the final evening when we’re no longer all trying to beat each other, and it’s so great to get to know shooters from all around the world.”

James has struck up a particular friendship with the South African shooters.

“I got to know some of them really well, and we talked a lot about the differences between the UK and South Africa, and I was really shocked! They couldn’t believe how safe it was here and that people slept with their windows open, and that white people use the bus!”

Another shock for James was that the South African shooters taught him to dance – a shock, because James claims to be someone who can’t dance to save his life!

“They put their music on and just started dancing – and by dancing, I mean, like, full-on, choreographed dances, with each other. Naturally, we all had to have a go! So they spent about an hour and a half teaching us how to dance … I wasn’t too bad!”

After the Junior International, with just a day’s break in between, James took part in the NSRA Annual Meeting.

Bisley Week

Having won three Golds at the NSRA Junior International, James had just one day of rest before throwing himself into the NSRA Annual Meeting, otherwise known as Bisley Week.

Every year, in August, hundreds of shooters compete at the week-long Bisley meeting, making it one of the UK’s largest and most popular small-bore rifle events. With the exception of the war years (1940 to 1945), the Bisley meeting has been held annually since 1922, although, on two occasions, at an alternative venue. Shooters of all standards compete at this event, from beginners with minimal experience to highly skilled, international champions.

James shooting walther


James won four Golds:

• 1st Junior (3rd overall) – Double English Match (120 shots at 50m)

• 1st Junior (3rd overall) – News of the World (20 shots at 50m and 20 shots at 100yd)

• 1st Junior (7th overall) – Daily Mail (20 shots at 50m and 20 shots at 100yd)

• 1st overall – 3P Championship (120 shots at 50m), in which James scored a Personal Best of 1071 ex. 1200

He also achieved …

• 2nd Junior (8th overall) – NSRA Life & Annual Members (20 shots at 50m and 20 shots at 100yd)

• 4th Junior (7th overall) – Weekend Aggregate (60 shots at 50m and 60 shots at 100yd)


To catch up with further news about James Farquharson, keep an eye on the Pellpax website. There’s lots more to come from James!

James Farquharson Shines at the Welsh Open

In late June, at the beginning of Britain’s glorious heatwave, James Farquharson, sponsored by Pellpax, competed in the Welsh Open Championships at Tondu, South Wales.

James described Tondu Target Shooting Club, with its five outdoor ranges, as an idyllic location. He said, “The weather was lovely and warm, and there was always the pleasant sound of a stream running close by.”

Tondy Shooting ClubHelping at UK Scouting

Shooting with his trusty Walther KK500 Expert, James came 5th in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions. In the 50m Rifle Prone event, he took fourth place in the final – the highest scoring junior. He also achieved a personal best score of 614.2.

A couple of weeks after his success in Tondu, James reprised his role of Range Officer at Gilwell 24. Gilwell Park, in London, is the home of UK Scouting, and this is the venue for Gilwell 24, one of the world’s biggest annual Scouting events. Over a period of 24 hours, Explorer Scouts (aged 14 to 17 inclusively) take part in a wide range of outdoor activities; James was one of the supervisors at the shooting range.

It was a bit stressful,” James said, with a wry smile. “Especially supervising the use of pistols. Being shorter, they’re easier to wave around.

A Desire to Nurture and Protect

One of James’s notable characteristics is his inclination to nurture and protect others. As a former mental health ambassador for his school, and with qualifications in advanced first-aid and water rescue techniques, this talented young target shooter is now heading for a career in medicine.

I’d really like to study Paramedic Science at university,” James told me. “This course is approximately 50% theory and 50% placement. I enjoy practical learning.

It’s been a very busy summer for James, so far. In July, he spent a week at St George’s and Kingston Hospitals, doing work experience, and was thrilled to be placed under the tuition of Parag Patel, a well-known and well-liked ENT consultant. Mr Patel, who performed a tonsillectomy on James a few years ago, was the winner of six medals in full-bore rifle at three consecutive Commonwealth Games.

I asked James if he and Mr Patel had discussed shooting at all, during their time together.

We talked a bit about shooting,” James told me. “But what really made an impression on me was just how highly he was thought of. I was told countless times that Mr Patel was ‘a lovely guy’.

James Farquharson competition shot

You may be wondering where water rescue comes into James’s agenda. However, you won’t be surprised to learn that this young action man is a keen and skilful canoeist. James took up canoeing at 14 years old, as an Explorer Scout. (“Everything I do has been through Scouts.”)

Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

James chose canoeing for his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. I got the impression that the canoeing option came about by virtue of being the lesser of two evils! However, having discovered the joys of canoeing, James was keen to continue with the sport, and joined Kingston Scout Canoe Club.

When he was 16, there arose the opportunity of gaining the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award – again, through Explorer Scouts. Sadly, it looked as though the expedition would have to be cancelled, due to insufficient numbers. Not being a man to stand by and do nothing, James, along with his girlfriend, Niamh, and two other friends, took on the task of organising this event.

The weather was good,” James told me, “apart from a period of severe thunder storms. We were holding metal paddles in water, but it never occurred to us that we should get out of the water!

In order for the DofE expedition to go ahead, it was necessary for James to engage a supervisor, and he managed to procure the services of Nick Poole, the organiser of Search & Rescue in the South East of England. In payment for taking on the role of supervisor at the DofE expedition, Mr Poole accepted assistance from James and Niamh at Blenheim Palace, for BBC Countryfile Live. For this event, James did the British Canoeing Foundation Safety & Rescue training.

Next Steps

James’s next competition will be the Junior International at Bisley National Shooting Centre, in Surrey. This event takes place from Monday 6th August to Thursday 9th August.

To keep up to date with James Farquharson’s shooting activity, read the Pellpax blog and follow James on social media:

Facebook (
Twitter (@JHFarquharson)

James Farquharson joins our Sponsored Shooters team

A New Partnership for Pellpax

Based in Norfolk, Pellpax is a nationally recognised company, led by a strong ethos of giving something back to the community. Sponsorship of James Farquharson, a talented target shooter from Worcester Park, London, is one way in which Pellpax is helping to nurture the future of British shooting sports.

James Farquharson is an intelligent and compassionate young man, skilled in a wide range of outdoor pursuits, with an exceptional talent for target shooting and archery. He has gained numerous sporting qualifications, including a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Advanced Open Water Diving certificate, and a BCU (British Canoe Union) Canoe Coach certificate. Among his many shooting qualifications, James has achieved an NSRA Tutor Diploma.

Dedication to the Shooting Community

Since the age of eleven, James has been competing in 10m Air Rifle, and for the last three years, in 50m Prone and 50m Rifle Three Positions, winning a total of twenty-two golds and nine silvers at national and international level. A volunteer in the running of Youth Proficiency Schemes in air rifle shooting, James specialises in the coaching of youngsters with behavioural issues or learning difficulties. As a schoolboy, James’s position as mental health ambassador for his school was testament to his insightful empathy and his commitment to the provision of opportunities for all individuals.

It’s hard to believe that James is just seventeen years old.

Pellpax’s relationship with James is still very new, but it was apparent to us, right from the start, that this focused, articulate young man was serious about his sport, driven by a determination that’s mirrored in his pursuit of a career in medicine. I asked him if it would be possible to continue his shooting career alongside that of a doctor.

“Yes,” he told me. “I’m sure that’ll be possible. Just look at Parag Patel.”

Aiming to Help

Parag Patel is one of James’s sporting and medical idols. The forty-two-year-old ENT consultant, who is well known in and around London for his expertise in the field of ear, nose, and throat surgery, won a total of three golds, a silver, and two bronzes in full-bore rifle at three consecutive Commonwealth Games. James had a story to tell about Mr Patel, for it was the great man himself who removed James’s tonsils.

“At our first meeting, he seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place him. While arranging a date for the operation, I turned down one or two options because they fell on competition dates. ‘What do you compete in?’ he asked. ‘I do target shooting,’ I told him, and Mr Patel asked, ‘Which discipline?’ That isn’t a usual question I’m asked. I told him about it, and then he told me that he, too, was a target shooter, and when I got home, there he was, on the front cover of the NRA Journal I’d been reading!”

Following his tonsillectomy, James was instructed by Mr Patel to keep himself in quarantine for two weeks, in order to avoid picking up infection.

“I didn’t want to miss a competition,” James told me. “So I ignored his advice.”

And who did James meet on the range? That’s right: Parag Patel!

The Pellpax team looks forward to joining James Farquharson as he continues his journey to shooting success. Keep an eye on the Pellpax blog for the latest news.