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Deer Park Archers are spot as they aim for the heights

All Areas > Sport > Archery

Author: Gemma Drew, Posted: Saturday, 18th November 2017, 09:00

Lucy Mason Lucy Mason

“Positive attitude leads to positive performance,” declare Deer Park Archers.

It’s a philosophy that couldn’t be more true of course.

The club has been hitting the target for some time now and boast 230 direct members.

They’ve been around for just over 20 years and support three satellite clubs – Balcarras School in Charlton Kings, High School for Girls Denmark Road and at GL1.These three satellite clubs alone have 150 members.

It certainly serves as further proof of the club’s huge reach across pretty much all parts of the county. And many of those members are very good at archery.

Roger Crang, the club’s development officer, is happy to recall the moment he realised that Lucy Mason, now 17 and one of the highest achievers, had bags of potential.

He describes how her coach Steph Gill could see “something different about her from the moment she started shooting at the age of 10”.

She certainly had a huge determination to succeed. Lucy is now the World Junior Compound Champion, European Cadet Champion, has won the prestigious National Series and is busy breaking numerous British, European and World records.

Crang added that Lucy is particularly proud of the fact she has achieved all of this after being identified in her earlier years by some as supposedly “non-sporty”.

And Lucy is not the only one setting their sights high.

“Four more junior archers have just joined the GB development squad,” he enthused. They are Chloe A’Bear (13, from Cirencester), Ella Gibson (17, from Cirencester), Holly Clifford (15, from Hucclecote) and Grace Chappell (15, from Slimbridge).

Crang enjoys the fact that Cirencester seems to have a lot of talent and provides a good “breeding ground”. He is just as chuffed that there is an impressive amount of female and young achievers including Phoebe Pine (19, from Cirencester) who is a Paralympic archer.

Fully funded by Sport England, Phoebe won a bronze medal in Beijing in the recent World Para Championships before competing in the World Able-bodied Championships in Argentina.

James Howse (18, from Shurdington) is another who is making a name for himself on the bigger stage. He represented Britain when competing in the World Junior Championships and returned as a World Pairs Champion.

Sarah Bettles, shooting Recurve, achieved 31st place in the World Senior Championships last month in Mexico, a significant feat and a top score for the GB team.

While all these achievements are outstanding and deserve huge amounts of praise, it’s so important, says Crang, not to forget the club’s ethos of which they are rightly proud.

The club are fully inclusive, with Crang revealing that “10 per cent of their members have a disability and that the coaches work with all levels of ability”.

Crang adds that “membership fees are kept very low to ensure the club are accessible to all parts of the community”.

Deer Park are one of those forward-thinking clubs who prefer to focus on the development of the individual and not the development of the archer.

According to Crang, one of their mottos is: “Ask not what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club”, which, he says, is well and truly reflected by the members of the club.

Crang describes how when Lucy won one of her top accolades, “the whole club stopped to watch the live broadcast from Mexico”.

There are 30 coaches at the club, which started off at the Girl Guide Centre in Cowley.

Guiders were trained to be archery leaders, which clearly proved a success because the initiative eventually led to the Deer Park Archers club being formed.

From small beginnings the club have expanded and achieved great things at local, national and international levels.

They’ve got an impressive CV. In 2012, the club won the Sporting Recreation Alliance Sports Club of the Year award, for which they were in competition with the likes of Everton Football Club.

Two years later the club bought their own ground with the help of around £200,000 of investments from Sport England and the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust.

They are among plenty of other generous supporters keen to help the club continue on an upward curve.

There was also a huge effort by members to raise funds.

In fact, Deer Park Archers are a registered environmental body, dedicated to looking after their grounds.

Members of the club are busy landscaping, planting thousands of trees, clearing streams, and caring for the wooded area around their archery ground in Shurdington where they also have six species of bats.

Fund-raising events for the Alzheimer’s Society and local Round Table have also been organised by members.

It’s just one more example of how they manage to pull together as a community and are certainly not just a group of individual archers.

Deer Park Archers’ achievements are definitely managing to hit the Gold!

Other Images

Phoebe Pine
Sarah Bettles

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