THE South Wilts Archery Club, now in its 150th year, has enjoyed tremendous success during 2009.
The Salisbury based organisation, one of the oldest archery clubs in the country having been formed in 1859, currently boasts a national champion in Mike List, who after 20 years of trying, won September’s National Championships.
The club, a member of the National Field Archery Society, competes in the society’s three major championship competitions a year – The Scottish Championships (Easter), the 3D Championships (in May), and the National Championships - each held over two days.
Its 140 or so members shoot a range of bow styles from the high-tech Compound to the more traditional English Longbow.
There are ten classes of bow including Hunting Tackle, which involves shooting wooden arrows off a recurve bow without any sights or stabilizers – it was this style of bow that List saw off the challenge of 77 other archers to land the national title.
As well as List’s success, a number of other club members produced notable performances at the event.
Felton Kelly was sixth in Gents Hunting Tackle, with Alan White in 33rd place. Sue Kelly finished fourth in the Ladies Hunting Tackle.
Meanwhile, Samantha Moss was fifth in the Ladies Freestyle – the event included in the Olympics, while Owen Blackmore was 15th in the Gents Freestyle.
Mike Davidson finished 26th in Gents Compound unlimited category.
The Salisbury club were also successful earlier in the year at the 3D Championships - Mike List (Gents HT) and Samantha Moss (Ladies Freestyle) both winning bronze medals, their achievements inspiring the club to send a bigger team to next year’s event.
National champion Mike List
The club held a number of events around the Salisbury area to mark its special anniversary.
A Field Archery Open competition in the club’s wood in Whiteparish attracted a record 200-plus archers from around the country, while a club shoot at the Britford Lane playing fields was also a success.
Taking centre stage however, was a formal celebratory shoot held courtesy of Lord Pembroke at Grovely Woods near Wilton, which is where the club originally held its first shoot 150 years ago to the day.
At the time of the first shoot on July 21, 1859, the Lord Patron of the club was The Marquis of Bath, the Lady Paramount was The hon Mrs Herbert (the family name for Lord Pembroke at Wilton) and most of the committee was from the local clergy.
This year’s event at Grovely Wood was held in fitting style with practice butts for the visitors, who were given a thorough briefing on safety and technique by seasoned archers donning Victorian costume – and more advanced butts for the club members who attended.
This was followed by tea and delicious home-made cakes which were enjoyed by all.
Club tournament organiser Peter Durtnall, said: “We were delighted and grateful to Lord Pembroke for his kind permission to use the field adjoining the Lodge in Grovely Wood, near Wilton – the venue for the first meeting of the South Wilts Archery Club all those years ago.
“We invited five guests with a connection to the original meeting. His Lordship and his fiancée Miss Victoria Bullough together with Reverend John Hamilton from Steeple Langford, Rev Hugh Bonsey from Great Wishford and Rev John Eade from Fovant were presented with celebratory plaques which had been made especially for the occasion. They all expressed their delight in both the archery and subsequent tea.”
Lord Pembroke and his fiancee Victoria Bullough (above) is presented with a commemorative souvenir
to mark the club's 150th birthday, while (below) Lord Pembroke receives a lesson from archery expert