The following summer was very fine and the Club members, including wives and children were so friendly and involved, that we thoroughly enjoyed our first year ‘up at the range’ and soon became totally immersed in field archery, competition, arrow-breaking, arrow-making, course maintenance etc., and after trying various styles of shooting, ending up with the Longbow. We never looked back!
In 1976 Derek and his family competed in the World and European Championships at Dunfermline, Scotland, and again in 1986 at Pitlochry.
After the demise of Hellfire Bowmen Derek became a member of White Mark Bowmen. Besides shooting regularly at his local club, Derek took part in the European Championships held at Little Brickhill, Bucks as well as a couple of Welsh Championships. His last successful venture was to the Europeans at Quimperlé, nr. Lorient, France.
As I don’t do camping, we stayed at a small hotel at Port Aven, about 9 km. from the course. Shooting started early so we had to miss breakfast and grab a couple of croissants from the local baker on the way. During the day we were well catered for as each course had two tents manned by local ladies providing filled baguettes and hot coffee. Superb! When we got back to the hotel we would shower and change and come down to our table in the residents’ restaurant where Derek would look at the menu and say “I’ll have the same as you”, and open one of the bottles of wine. This happened every evening at for the seven days we were that the Hotel, and at every bistro, café, hotel all the way back to England. There can be no greater mark of friendship than that of trusting someone with the very food you eat!
Derek was the very best kind of archer you can have – kindly and helpful with new members, of whatever age, tolerant of mistakes, and totally committed to contributing to his club and the cause of field archery in whatever way he could, from making and painting marker pegs and nurdling targets to maintaining the course and club amenities in good order and generally creating an atmosphere of good humour, ease and also commitment, whatever the situation or occasion.
A good friend, and great-hearted archer and a gentleman, Derek you have left a gap in our ranks but have found a place in our hearts and memories. You’ve made your last post, pegs and markers; rest now in peace, knowing you’ve done a grand job!
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