Taking Aim At A UK First

By Weenson Oo on 22:02

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I remember having great pleasure being a part of the Ellesmere College Shooting Team especially when we took in an afternoon's target practice in the Welsh hills at Llansilin, near Oswestry. Those were the days when the Ashburton Cup at Bisley was the primary focus of the Shooting Team which then comprised of members from the Combined Cadet Force. These days the college has a new team with its' sights on being awarded on both a national scale and in the international arena.




Beginning in the new term in September, my alma mater will showcase a shooting academy, the first ever to be based in a school in the United Kingdom. It will provide coaching and educational opportunities for talented marksmen and women, giving pupils from Ellesmere the chance to secure places with the national squad. To achieve this, Ellesmere's new Shooting Academy will be staffed by a team of three highly qualified marksmen. The shooting club at Ellesmere will continue to be run by Jim Quinlan, himself a keen marksman at international level. Jim is in the top picture honing the skills of an emerging talent.  Tom Rylands, a member of the Great Britain squad who is experienced at team selection and coaching of all age groups joins Jim. One of the key objectives of this new partnership is to put together a squad to contest the Ashburton Cup at Bisley. Augmenting this unique team is David Gregory, seen here standing at the right of Nick Pettingale. David who is active with the Crewe Rifle and Pistol Club holds a belief that a child's self confidence and self esteem is boosted by the opportunity to find a sport the child can do well in.


The shooting team in my day benefited from the close guidance of William Barnett and Andrew Thompson, two members of the teaching staff who devoted endless hours to the team. I recall Andrew one day after a shoot planing down the inside of the stock of my Lee-Enfield .303 because he felt the absence of play between the stock and the barrel was affecting my results. He was right. I can't help thinking what they'd give to see the inception of the Shooting Academy this September and all that it promises. Indeed I too can't wait to bear witness to what it can achieve because when the academy's new recruits and national squad hopefuls take aim, the sky as they say, is the limit.


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