Ken Bennett coaching clay pigeon shooting
The clay pigeon shooting proved so popular with the boys who took part during SWS RnR's first year an annual competition has now been organised. Shooting instructor Ken Bennett, who has coached countless people from all walks of life - "and enjoyed the company of them all" - to shoot, is grateful to his many contacts in the trade for their support of the project.
"We've had tremendous support from people in the trade and from friends and supporters locally," says Ken. "First to step up to the plate and offer help were the lads at Bond and Bywater, a gunshop in Preston, Lancashire. They provided various bits of kit to get us going and also arranged sponsorship for us and introduced us to various companies. We couldn't have done without them."
Another company which has supported SWS RnR's shooting sessions is Promatic who have provided traps. "They've been wonderful from the start," says Ken, "and have supplied some extremely expensive equipment to make the lads' stay more enjoyable."
SWS RnR is keen to be able to ensure the activities are accessible to combatants with all kinds of injuries. Air Arms, who have provided recoilless air rifles and prizes for competitions, and Edgar Brothers, who provided shotguns, have helped them do this. The guns donated by both companies are suitable for wheelchair users and people with upper body injuries.
Ken says: "We're very grateful to Air Arms and Edgar Brothers as this allows more of the lads to take part. We are also extremely grateful to the Clay Pigeon Company and Laporte which has provided us with clays and equipment fromIdleback and EZfield. Without the generous support of these companies we would not be able to continue to offer the lads the opportunity to take part in an activity they really enjoy. There are also many friends and local supporters who deserve our thanks."
The participants so enjoyed the activity and became so competitive it was decided to organise an annual competition. The final of the first competition was held in April 2010, a report of which appears below.
CLAY SHOOTING COMPETITION 18 APRIL 2010
It gives me huge pleasure to tell you that the competition for the best shot amongst the wounded combatants who stayed with us through our first year of operations was a stunning success. This is now on the calendar to be an annual event.
The winner was Marine 'Coops' Cooper from 40 Commando Royal Marines; Marine Geoff Palmer of 45 Commando took second place and Marine Ryan Bullick of 42 Commando third.
Ken Bennett made all the arrangements. Through his work and the truly amazing generosity of his friends and supporters he pulled together a day that gave pleasure, the fun of competition to the participants and great entertainment to all who helped and watched. We therefore wish to extend our thanks to all those who supported this event.
The hospitality of Mr. and Mrs Jardine at Glenearly Caravan Park gave an ideal setting for the competition - and the lunch.
Jennefer, the Lord Lieutenant of the
Stewartry and shootoff participants
There were six traps through the valley above the park; lovely countryside and in clear view of the memorial to Mrs Jardine's brother, Gunner Liam McLaughlin, killed whilst serving with 29 Commando, aged 21 years. Our Royal Marine competitors, of their own volition, paid a moving tribute to his memory and planted shrubs as a memorial. The six traps posed a variety of challenges as their names suggest; springing teal, crossing pigeon, fur & feather, high pheasant and driven grouse; a 40 bird flush for teams of 3 was the entertainment after lunch. Each competitor went to the stand and was given a gun; all 20 bore and all the guns lent by the supporters; (now that is generosity - to lend your gun)! So, not only did the competitors have to learn each trap they had to do this with a different gun each time. Altogether it was a very testing competition.
The generosity of a private donor of the cartridges, The Clay Pigeon Company the 3,000 clays and Promatic International for traps made this event possible. It is with much gratitude that we thank these people and their companies for their generosity. The Lord Lieutenant Colonel Sir Malcolm Ross gave away the prizes and 50 people who have been supporters to SWS RnR had a very good lunch. It was a great day.