Shooting stars take part in annual archery contest

Archers competed alongside Olympic gold medalist John Walker MBE at Fakenham. Picture: North Norfolk

Archers competed alongside Olympic gold medalist John Walker MBE at Fakenham. Picture: North Norfolk District Council - Credit: NNDC

More than 50 archers competed alongside an Olympian in an annual contest hosted by the Fakenham Bowmen.

John Walker MBE, who won two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, attended the WA18 event at Fakenham Sports and Fitness Centre with archers from 19 different clubs, and won the Gents Compound competition.

The contest, where archers shoot 18 meters at a 40cm face, falls within the Fakenham Bowmen’s winter season which sees them shooting twice a week at the North Norfolk District Council owned centre.

Mr Walker credits Fakenham Bowmen for igniting his love of archery after he visited a shoot in 2011 at Fakenham Sports and Fitness Centre. Just a few years later and after a lot of hard work, he has represented Great Britain and was awarded an MBE this year for services to archery.

Fakenham Bowmen is a well-established club with an illustrious history. It was founded in 1872 as the Fakenham and Dereham Archery Club and continues to this day with a mix of members ranging from 10 years old to members in their 80s.

Club members have enjoyed considerable success at national level with two junior members being selected as members of Archery GB; both have and have represented Great Britain at several national and international events. A para archer from the club represented Team GB in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, winning a team bronze and a former member now shoots for Scotland.

District councillor Roy Reynolds, ward member for Lancaster North, attended the competition, acting as Lord Paramount to present trophies and medals to the archers.

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He said: “The Fakenham Bowmen is a fantastic club that caters for all ages and abilities. The sport is definitely seeing a rise in popularity which is great news for the club as it continues to grow its membership.”

Cllr Maggie Prior said: “I was absolutely delighted to hear of the wonderful activities described to me by my colleague after her visit to Fakenham Sports Centre. The Bowmen certainly brought something different to the area and provided quite a visual spectacle.

“I am extremely proud of our sports offering right across North Norfolk and of all those who are enabled to become involved. My thanks go to all involved in organising this particular event.”