Club Secretary: Bob Ward on 01256 477872 - (Answer machine if not available in person)
Bob Ward- Club Secretary
Hi all, a bit about me and my association with BARPC.
Basingstoke Air Rifle and Pistol Club had its inaugural meeting at the old T/A Drill Hall in Penrith Road,
Basingstoke way back in 1975 and considerably younger and somewhat slimmer, I was there at the start or at least a week or two later so consider myself a founder member. It was there I first meet Derek Peckover, the clubs founding father and first chairman, along with Alan Thirwall (who remains a trustee of the club) and a host of other enthusiastic local air gun shooters with an array of what now would be classic or even vintage guns.
I remember cycling to the club as a 15 year old with my brand new pride and joy, a Webley Hawk Mk2 in .177 which was to be used as a 6 yard paper target rifle as this is what the club was formed as. How times change. Imagine the furore if a 15 year was seen with a gun slip cycling along the streets these days!
I stayed with the club for a couple of years, including moving to new premises at a hall in May Place which was considerable warmer and shot a couple of competitions including the very first the club attended at the then Harp brewery in Alton. We lost if I remember correctly, but the beer was cheap, not that I was allowed as a junior member!
Motor bikes, girls and other sports intervened and I lost touch with the club for many years but returned when my oldest lad, Chris joined a Modern Pentathlon club for extra swim coaching which was recommended as good therapy for a disability he has had since birth. As many of you will know, part of MP involves 10m target pistol shooting and Chris was offered the chance to have a go. My previous interest in airguns was reawakened and I went along to watch and help. The offer of help was obviously something of a unique event in the club and before I had time to reflect, I found myself on a pistol coaching course at Bisley held by Dave Woods of the MPCGB.
Deciding that if I was going to be coaching, I should at least be able to hit a target more often than not, I re-joined BARPC along with Chris as a junior member in 1998 when Chris was 8 years old for some “extra” practice, not only shooting pistol but dusting off the old Hawk MK2 to have a go at the metal silhouette targets the club were now shooting. Chris had a very old springer to use and it was a challenge for both of us to master his disability so he could enjoy rifle shooting as well as 10m pistol which was much easier only requiring the need for one good hand.
Like its owner, the years had not been totally kind to the Hawk and this was soon joined by a .22 Vulcan and 4X scope which was bloodied at Southampton Buccaneers old grounds at this event they called a “Hunter” comp. On this 30 shot course, I probably shot around 20 ex 60, but I was hooked and followed this up with a couple more comps including an FT at Newbury when I scored a very impressive 7 ex 40! I wasn't the lowest score of the day but it was time to get a “new” gun and so I became one of the first club members with the latest Air Arms, a MK3 TX.
Had it not been for Chris's determination in doing well at both pistol and rifle, I may not have had the initial dedication to stay on with the club, but the longer you're involved the harder it is to let a good thing go and one of the aspects I found humbling was the readiness of those in the club and the CSFTA regional clubs to accept Chris and adjust the rules to allow him to compete with his problems.
Back in around 2001, I was asked by Derek if I would consider standing for club secretary which I did and was subsequently voted on to the committee. Now, in the Army, they always say you should never volunteer. Humm, got that bit wrong! So ten odd years later, I'm still here doing my bit for the club.
In that time, I've had a go at virtually every type of airgun competition, attended a multitude of comps at various venues and been involved in helping to build and host almost all the open and CSFTA league comp shoots the club has hosted since re-joining the club which is quite a lot! I've been lucky to win or get a good place in many of those competitions which proves that anyone can get a result.
I still coach 10m pistol at Wessex Wyvern MPC and for those club members who request help and I also hold a BFTA club instructor qualification along with Bryn and Dave Burroughs.
Other interests apart from family include golf which I play badly, skiing (yes I know it defies the laws of physics) and what has now become an equal passion to airgun shooting, my involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh Award working with young people as a trainer and assessor. In between all of this I also, along with Jackie, run our own security company so with my apologies, there are times when I can’t get to the club as often as I’d like.
During my tenure, I've had the honour and pleasure of shooting with countless like minded people and have made many good friends in that time. Sadly some, like Mike Herod the clubs former membership secretary and treasurer and “5th Place Ron” from Meon Club, are no longer with us however one thing remains constant, and that is the camaraderie and love of the sport that binds together all those who take part in airgun shooting.
Best wishes and safe shooting,