Who is in charge of your goals? You are! Who judges if/when you have achieved them? You do!

I have had a couple of conversations this week which have made me think of a number of other conversations that I have had over the last 6 years. So since I have mulled it over and it’s still rattling in my head I thought I would share my thoughts.

If you know me then you know I have a number of issues that impact me, in archery but actually every day in life. Pain! Lots of it dictates my mobility and range of movement but I have spent my life ignoring it, pushing it to one side as I refuse to allow it to prevent me doing things.

In part this mindset is definitely how I was raised, I grew up surrounded by people who just got on with it, simply didn’t even mention their bad days.

If I had given in to pain I would have sat down as a toddler and stayed there 🤔

I have written blogs before about how my body deteriorating means I have to change or quit:

when this was first published the response took me by surprise, when it was re-published the same happened, I know I am not the only archer who has to face change to stay in the sport we love, but it’s not easy! Certainly helps to have support, particularly as people seem very happy to share their negative thoughts with me about my right to be on the range!

I followed the re-published blog with an update:

This indoor season saw me face new change! It never ends, if I want to keep one step ahead of my body then I have to keep re-thinking how to shoot and I am blessed that my physio friend and the county captain have never given up on me, though without a doubt they both have learned over the years that I am stubborn and crazy 🤪

My entire life has been about reaching goals and always, with anything, the biggest part is – be the best that I can be, I may not know what that means or how to measure or predict it, but with everything, work, school, sport ….. I have always been prepared to dig in and work, most of my achievements have been scrappy and fought for.

So spring 2018 I completed my beginners course with the belief that I could likely get 2 years out of my broken body. I made decisions and chose 4 competitions that I would enter for my first outdoor season as I set my sights on a 3rd class – classifications were really the only thing I could convince myself to judge myself on, when you start something new and have no clue what you are capable it, where do you start with your goals?

I entered a lot more competitions than I had planned and made it onto the county squad, I earned my second class and I was so upset! I had set my goal of a 3rd so that 2nd should have been amazing, but I had put in 2 1st class scores and a bunch that were just a few points each off 1st so instead of being happy I had achieved more than my goal I was upset that I only saw that I had failed on the 1st class!

Indoors was a new challenge and I wanted to use my outdoor achievements to set my indoor goal, but I was repeatedly advised it was the same at all so I was a little unsure but aimed to do my best! 2018/19 saw me get an F.

Outdoor 2019 – another 2nd! Along with the knowledge that the pain was seeing more and more competitions leave me crying on the floor as I often couldn’t move due to pain at the end of the day!

Indoor 19/20 – E, moving in the right direction but also sitting and agreeing to data gather as the stool was really looking unavoidable.

Outdoor 2020 – 2nd class, considering the Covid restrictions I was happy to get in enough scores to get anything, particularly as I was transitioning to seated. No, it’s not the same but sat!

Indoor 20/21 – D class, and I was learning to accept the stool and an agent, neither came easily!

Outdoor 2021 – finally settled with the stool 1st!! Amazing, hard work and determination and I finally had that little piece of shiny metal in my hand!

Indoor 21/22 – D – I was happy but really starting to want that C!

Outdoor 2022 – another 1st class!

This one felt massive, I had fought my mind, the destructive voices that had been out there by someone else, telling me over 7 months that I had no place, in the sport, in any role but anywhere else either. A summer that saw me almost quit life, I am forever grateful that someone reached in and saved me, and with a few others held on whilst I let go. They also convinced me that the sport I fought constantly to be part of might actually help save me. And it’s certainly why Dunster will always hold a very special place in my heart, as I sat there with 3 important ladies watching those longbows fling sticks and calm my brain.

Indoor 22/23 – C class! Amazing, and I had barely been able to shoot as I had put dad before everything, that little piece of bling felt special, I could hear his belief in me, he never gave up on me.

outdoor 2023 – new classifications, I had been part of the working group and had to listen to so many people complain 🫣

I wasn’t really sure what I was aiming for and decided to use the new and old tables together so I could reference something I did understand! Bowman 3rd class under the new which I felt was poor but wasn’t sure why, under the old system I had dropped back to C, devastated – dropped was the right phrase since I spent most of 2023 gradually lose the feeling in my hand, dropping everything, and either numb or in agony! Again changes and what to do for the best whilst waiting for hospital appointments!

indoor 23/24 – again new classifications so the decision to use old and new – bowman 3rd class old system C class! I am happy with this and it’s helped me accept summer 2023.

I started the indoor season with a PB in the Stafford and finished it with PB in Portsmouth and earned medals along with the Portsmouth 550 badge!

Here I sit, having planned numerous outdoor competitions for 2024 and we will see what my new way of shooting brings, will I get something decent! I am again going to use both new and old systems and this year I can also play on the 50+ class which will certainly help in the high pain days but I am going to enjoy it, that is what is important, can I keep smiling! If I can I get to stay in October, if it brings more tears than smiles then this will be my last season shooting.

Let’s see what happens – I am looking forward to the challenge.

It has all reminded me of conversations that I wasn’t good enough, and what was the point of my goals, they weren’t good enough either!

Well what I do know is this, the goals you set for yourself are the ones that matter, how you feel about your achievements is what matters! If you have a coach, and they tell you that your goal – to be the very best that you can be, isn’t good enough, then I would suggest that you need a different coach 🤗

Whatever your goals for the coming summer, I wish you the best, may your arrows fly strong ❤️🏹

Thank you to those who have stood by me, and helped me with each challenge that I have faced 🥰 you are all awesome and I have never taken any of you for granted.

week 92 – sharing the sport – radio!

Well it’s been a busy week, hospital appointments- things cleared off the list but new things added and so more people getting involved, my girlie will get there eventually but she’s amazing and her bow brings her peace whilst everything is still in the air. So proud of her 🤗

Meetings, lots of them!

Afternoon with the guides who are prepping to host their first start archery event in May and wanted some advice and help with kit maintenance and preparation, and hot cross buns enjoyed all round since it was Easter weekend!

Although it was technically in the next week, BBC radio Northampton asked if I would like to join them on the breakfast show on 3/4/24 for a chat on air. This was a great chance to speak about how accessible our sport is, a follow up to my previous chat on 10/1/23 and following the look east tv crew spending a morning with myself and Deb a month ago. The TV session had been as a result of Nick Wilson and a conversation he had with the BBC around accessible activity and sports. Ultimately they didn’t use archery in the tv airing but many thanks to Deb for the time she gave not only shooting under intense pressure but the interview she gave. The good news is that from the radio piece I have had a number of people make contact so it was worth the early studio time.


go to 3/4/24 at 7:47 and you can hear me 🙃

This weekend is my work weekend Friday until Monday I will be mostly unavailable so apologies upfront for any delays in replies.

Have a good weekend, they claim it’s going to be a warm one.

power in joining forces – collaboration is powerful

On Thursday I attended the Together Fund celebration evening hosted by Northamptonshire Sports, due to illness I was asked if I could step in last minute to speak in place of another person. As I listened to Chris, then Matthew and other speakers before me I remembered that other life we all lived, that one before Covid! Do you remember it? Sometimes it’s like reading a book when I think back.

I was a mum, an archer, an enforcement officer. I was a regional safeguarding officer with a passion for my sport and the things I could see it achieve. I had taken that passion and the work I had already started in a number of areas to apply for and become an Ambassador for Archery GB, growing my projects and reaching wider and further than I had before.

I had linked with other like minded people and organisations from within and outside of my sport. I had started to get involved in some multisports meetings hosted by a couple of activity partnerships but particularly Northamptonshire Sports.

Then the news that we were facing a global pandemic, and lockdown was looming. The news that we all had to stay home and in bubbles.

The different areas of my life clashed, enforcing covid restrictions whilst trying to get people active. Working with the NGB to help, particularly when the initial guidelines prevented some individuals returning to our sport. Joining lots of multisports meetings to discuss our individual and joint issues, trying to find solutions. During one of these meetings I was listening to someone who is a good friend, who I actually consider family, as he described the issues in their sport – swimming and realised that I had a solution! But without Northamptonshire Sports we would never have had that conversation 🫣

Post covid I continued to work on my projects, building on the collaborations from before as well as new ones made during those many many online meetings.

For a variety of reasons, in 2022, I resigned as AGB Ambassador, created Integr8archery CIC and evaluated my work, reclaiming what was mine and stepping away from some things that I had put many valuable hours into but were not mine.

This allowed me to protect my work, the people involved and continue with only those who really wanted the best for those that I work with. Schools projects, disadvantaged youth, supoort groups, disability groups, archers wanting to return to the sport, archers whose health had changed and wanted support to face change to stay. Lots and lots of people from these and other groups/clubs I worked with.

I continued to attend meetings hosted by lots of groups/organisations from Sport England, Activity Partnerships, Children’s Coaching Collaborative, Belong. Sporting Equals ….. At the same time continuing to volunteer in other sports/activties as I recalled those conversations that we all need workforce to get and keep people active.

As a result I was often in the same place at the same time as Northamptonshire Sports and the amazing army of red shirts. I took a call about a local group wanting archery and the together fund being a possible source to help us provide sessions for them. So began the connection between Northamptonshire Sports, Integr8archery CIC and Wellingborough Muslim Community group.

Thursday night was a fantastic opportunity to see what we have all achieved across the county in the last 4-5 years, coming together, creating opportunities and collaborating to get and keep people active, from a wide range of areas within the community and such a vast range of activities.

Also a chance to discuss next steps, areas to improve our reach and possibilities as there are still so many to reach. I came away with a number of new contacts made and discussions started to reach new groups, and also some individuals who want putting in touch or introducing to clubs.

I am looking forward to what comes of this but also firmly stand by my believe that whilst we all focus on our sport I think we can achieve most by coming together with others to achieve more for those we want to reach.

New Year = New Challenges? What will you do in 2024 as we reflect on 2023?

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the year that’s coming to an end, most of us do it, only natural I guess. For me it’s just a blink of an eye from last New Year’s Eve. Walking in to see my parents and spend a couple days with them but realising that likely wouldn’t be the case. We had spent time over Christmas FaceTiming and laughing and those memories will always make what came next easier, it certainly gives me comfort to recall the laughter shared between dad and the children.

So my 2023 started with the end of dad’s life, 3 days when we were supported by an amazing team who we didn’t even know on New Year’s Eve.

We had spent 6 and a half months having big conversations, hard conversations and talking about little things- we knew what was going to happen and we prepared for it and I have had a year of his voice in my ear with the messages he left from those conversations.

2023 was going to be the year I tried to build on the recovery of my mental health after the horrific 2021/2022 and everything that it brought, but I would be doing it without my dad.

So, did I achieve it? In many ways, yes! My head is a calmer, stronger place but I also still have more work to do there, a lot more work. I am pleased I have the years of messages that contain the promises that were used to destroy me, they reassure me that my memories and recollections are right and my counsellor confirms that my reactions to everything that followed are reasonable and I am grateful that she’s always there when I need her.

2023 has allowed me to breathe and look at Integr8archery CIC with a more relaxed view. I am proud of what I achieve and grateful to those who help me. It’s also the positive of what came from that very dark period of my life and it’s something I shared in our weekly chats with dad, his love of listening to me talk of “my little business”. He was proud of those stats in the blog on the 26/12/22 and it makes me proud to have those 6 monthly reflections as I can hear him speak to me.

2022 and 2023 have taught me that I give so very much to my sport and that it’s ok to admit that it’s not always a good thing and with that in mind 2023 saw me start to build on some of the other things that I do and change the balance of where I use my time.

In 2023 – I gave a total of 1243 hours to volunteering, averaged that’s 23.9 hours a week. 2022 had that figure at just over 30 hours a week. So I have claimed a bit of time, not a lot, but those who know me well know that 7 hours a week for me is massive!

Of those hours 20.66 a week are for Integr8archery CIC – a total of 48 hours from that 1243 had nothing to do with archery at all!

I absolutely advocate volunteering and what you can get from giving to others, I really wouldn’t advocate giving the number of hours that I give!

Professional change came from a change in job but not to the one that I had been offered a year ago, in fact what I do hadn’t even been a thought a year ago! But I love it and I have been promoted, is it difficult some days, yes! Is it worth doing – absolutely and I cannot imagine what you might offer me as an alternative that I would consider doing! I mean I must love it to be going to an ice skating disco for over 8 hours this evening 🫣😬😱😂

My archery? I had hoped to get back to my 1000 arrows a week, stats show me I have averaged 525 arrows a week! Not what I had wanted but neither had I anticipated the time/balance of new work and family responsibilities or my ever deteriorating physical health. My shoulder has deteriorated, my back is definitely not happy 😬 but my hands, particularly my right hand, the deterioration there in 2023 has seen me loose the ability to grip at an accelerated rate this year, and the weird spasms in my thumb are frankly bizarre/frustrating and weird. Three hospital appointments in the next few weeks will hopefully move us to some answers! 🤞🏻

Of course the good news in my archery is the gift of new cams from the manufacturer for my bow which I now have back and the timing is that I can learn my new way of shooting with my very pretty bow in my hands. Thank you to Maggie, Bowtech and Martin.

These changes meant that the classification I had worked hard at for the outdoor season from starting in 2018 to summer 2022 slipped in 2023 – and yes, I measure the new classifications but also use the old because for comparison they have meaning that the new just don’t yet. Indoors I had finished 2022/2023 on my best ever indoor classification and though this season started way below, the work I am putting in is seeing that climb back up and maybe I might 🤞🏻 end the indoors where I was last year – and it will be fun to see where I settle on the new indoor classifications.

2024? work on my hand, work on my archery, and continue to work towards access to sport for all. It’s going to be interesting to see where it goes but at least I know I will see many of you as I go through the year – and that is by far the most important part of 2024 – I wish you good health, love and laughter 🥰🥂

3 weeks since I did a mid week blog, sorry 🙃

Sorry for the gap in mid week blogs, lots of things have been going on.

So it’s been busy, busy, busy. A lot has been planned for 2024 and I am looking forward to all of it and I will share more about each session/group/collaboration as the plans become settled. Particularly after the decisions of the coming week.

I have a lot of decisions to be made on a personal level but whatever these are, the things that I have committed to will go ahead and there have been a number of conversations about how to protect Integr8Archery CIC, I am very proud of everything that I have accomplished over the years for this sport and particularly since Integr8Archery began so this will continue, sitting down and reviewing this second year and looking at numbers and achievements has helped me put everything into perspective.

As well as a number of meetings, this week has seen me attend the Ann Craft Trust training in regards to safeguarding adults, which was a great session, anyone involved in safeguarding will know there’s a lot of efforts put into training for general safeguarding or for children but sessions specifically aimed at adults are rare. It was also a great way to learn more about the Ann Craft Trust, who I have spoken to a number of times in the last few months regarding some issues that I have been dealing with for over 3 years. Many thanks to Northamptonshire Sports to for putting the session on.

A third session in the #look closer programme being put on by the Children’s Society. There is always more to learn, even in regards to subjects ŵe may know about and I do find these are well put together sessions.

I was blown away to receive an email asking me to consider some volunteer posts that are hugely important in regards to disability sports and access, both would be a privilege but I need to consider what I want to do with archery and what will fit in with my future, I think it’s likely I can consider one of the roles.

After a very busy weekend of night shifts, I have had time to celebrate the hard work that has seen me be successful in a promotion in the day job and today I got to visit the amazing young people who I love spending time with at DISC. Always inspiring and gives me lots of motivation. Then a few hours with friends at Towcester Archers catching up with some great people.

Now for an early night as I have some meetings tomorrow and lots of planning to do. Take care and have a great week, thank you to those who share their successs, progresses and joys with me, and the photos I received this weekend of bobble hats following my post last week.

Projects update – seems appropriate today

The last few weeks there have been a number of enquiries and some of those who support me, or who do work with me have also had questions asked by people about Integr8Archery both the Community Interest Company and the archery club. So I thought as we are at the next quarter and I have been doing updates at intervals then it seems timing is good to answer at least some of those questions.

Along with that pre Integr8Archery rollouts were planned from 19th June 2022 to 4th October 2023 – today! Perfect timing then.

I had worked on my projects, then grew them as an ambassador for AGB, then collaborated with Aim4sport, working on their projects, mine and creating some together, in some cases threading them together. Information was out there about some of what was going to be launched after the closure of the shop and training centre. I have explained that I have little to no knowledge to answer questions outside of my work with Integr8Archery though I have tried to help where I can.

So where are things at that I know of?

Archery In Education

This project currently sits at 18 secondary schools and 5 primary schools in Northamptonshire. Along with 2 schools in Norfolk, 1 in Lincoln, 3 in Yorkshire, 2 in Kent, 3 in the south and I am supporting coaches in a variety of areas who work in a total of 11 other educational settings. There are 5 settings I have drawn a line under who were part of my project but I cannot/will not work with the coaches in those settings.

Disability and Health

I thoroughly enjoy spending time with the DISC group hosted by Northamptonshire Carers and have a great time. The group being set up for existing archers with disabilities had some delays but is getting back on track and will be getting together soon. I have had a great time over the summer being invited to a number of groups who support people with disabilities showing just how adaptive archery is and I am excited about plans for some long term work on access around the areas of learning disabilities, wheelchair and mobility issues, physical disabilities and also visually impaired individuals.

Incusive and supportive

Integr8Archery has hosted another 3 groups of ladies who have found themselves in refuge and making amazing progress on changing their lives and regaining control and confidence. As with any individual or group I try to pair projects with the right coaches, we don’t all have the same strengths and that’s what make us great together. This is definitely a group that selection of coaches is key and I thank those who have been involved. It’s been an amazing experience to be allowed to work with these ladies.

I have worked with several groups around accessibility and inclusion of those with different cultural backgrounds and I am excited to see a couple of these grow into amazing ideas for sustainability.

I continue to work with 3 support groups for LQBTQIA+ young people. The idea I had developed around inclusive competition that became entwined with a bigger idea and I took to a working party and the NGB is something that I stepped away from after being attacked via social media that the idea I had joined with didn’t belong exclusively to the person who shared it with me. So I went back to my original smaller idea and we have had a few small local competitions based on inclusion and I have also worked with 3 senior archers looking at competitions and supporting them in their respective journeys.

There have been another 2 groups of foster children who have taken part in a number of sessions and have had a great time and I am currently working with a couple of different agencies and creating opportunities for children in care to be involved with our sport.


My most important role I think, those that know me well know this. I constantly work to improve my learning and knowledge in an area that has impacted my paid employment for 30 years and my years of volunteering. Safeguarding is something I have done for years in my sport and I see well-being an important part of this role too.

A large portion of my time here is taken up with something that sees me having been dealing with 14 years worth of information from 42 archers and coaches and sees me continuing to support 9 people and their families on an ongoing basis but also new people come to me at intervals. Some days this fight can be overwhelming but though I have occasionally considered walking away from it, I can’t, changes need to be made so on we fight. I do need to thank Mario, Lynn, Ted and Martin though because I couldn’t fight if I didn’t have a support network for my own wellbeing.

A network in safeguarding is especially important and supporting other officers has always been an important part of what I do.

Charity and franchise

Having spent over two years working hard on contracts and legislation and seeing it all fall into place was amazing, we had it sorted. Creating the charity was something to be hugely proud of and I had a number of people who were ready to invest and donate when we were to launch in June 2022. Linking these two things with the education project was a fantastic project and had amazing potential so pulling it apart was upsetting. Keeping my education project and growing it has made me proud. Being allowed to help look at where those donations could go instead was a privilege and combined it was a huge amount of money, though some offered it to me for Integr8Archery I refused all offers out of this pot as it simply wouldn’t have sat well with me to take it. I do thank those who have sent me updates on the impact that money has had, it’s great to see young people enjoying opportunities that have been given.

That positive energy and news has helped balance the ultimate decision I had to make to pass on some of the abuse I received to the police and that 2 of those people had charges made against them. What was to be an amazing project certainly beat me emotionally and mentally in the end. The decision to pull the education project out of it was the only thing I could do, the other elements were not mine to push forward without the collaboration.


The app and the coaching elements that I had worked on here were not mine to continue. However I was blown away to be asked to continue to consult with what had been my elements and I do enjoy the process of developing the community sports projects across the Atlantic, even if that means I am usually shattered and ready for bed when they are excited 😆 again it’s great to get updates and even a couple of little videos from some of the children who have been involved in the three cities involved. It’s not the right time at the moment for me to go over but it’s lovely to have the open invitation to visit when I am ready. I have however had a couple of visits to Camden to chat with my friend who’s business opened those doors when I contacted him and been rewarded with a couple of my favourite sandwiches as thanks for what I am doing – I’ll take that as reward for giving my time.


The very many hours that I give to Integr8Archery all given as a volunteer.
I also love giving my time to the other sports that I join occasionally, especially within the running community who are always a great crowd. I love the time I spend with the competitions team at Archery GB for national and international competitions and have been a little disappointed this year with how few I have managed to attend, Grand Prix, JNOC and I will be at the indoors in December but I think the changes we have agreed at work will help me balance paid employment, family commitments following the loss of dad and my own archery and let me attend more AGB volunteering next year.

I have also submitted an application to volunteer in something entirely different, I will keep you updated if this happens and I think it may surprise you to hear what it is!

Employment and my own learning

I love my job, 6 months in I can say it’s fantastic and gives me a level of satisfaction and motivation that I haven’t properly had in paid work for many years. Exhausting, mentally and emotionally draining at times, of course, but I really do feel it’s the right job for me. I don’t complain about my work, I may complain about frustrations that all of us who do the work have, it that’s very different. I am about to embark on a level 3 diploma for that job, along with restarting some courses I had paused due to my mental health and devoting time to dad so the next 12 months will be busy.


I spend a lot of time in webinars, meetings, conferences with a number of groups, organisations and agencies looking at lots of areas that impact sports and how we can all work together towards common goals.

I am also enjoying working together with other Community Interest Companies and charities to bring access to sport to such a variety of groups and individuals – it’s a privilege to be part of these.

CIC and Club

Simply, we will continue to enable people to try our sport, access it in whatever way they wish, stay in it if the feel change may prevent this. When the recent kit damage is repaired our little club will pick up and carry on with its plans too. If you wish to belong to our supportive community please contact us. You don’t have to leave your club to be part of us, everyone is welcome and it’s lovely to get updates on how everyone is doing.

I am sat here feeling like I have forgotten something 🫣 no doubt someone will point it out to me 😂

So whilst I wait for that I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way or who has trusted me to help them. Never do I take any of this for granted and you, the people are always the priority 🥰🏹

Wow what a weekend that was ❤️🏹

In March I sat down and set my goals for the outdoor season.

Taking into account that 2018, 2019, 2020 I got a second class, 2021 finally my first and after an awful, torrid 2022 ground out another first. Knowing that where I had been in 2021 was gone for me, but the terror of 2022 was being dealt with and that mentally I had safe spaces I set those goals and looked forward to the summer.

One that would see me enjoy the whole week at Dunster and volunteer for AGB along with starting a new, amazing job.

Knowing that I hadn’t barely had an indoor season as I devoted my time to family and particularly dad’s last weeks but had, in those few occasions I had picked up my bow achieved a C class – my best ever indoor classification. I signed up to AGB’s #great arrow count and set off to see what summer would bring.

Well initially I achieved 4 personal bests in different rounds and 2 x bowman 3rd class scores – decent start I felt.

Then my shoulder started to grumble and over the next few weeks that grumbling got louder. The issue with my hands but especially my right hand, that I had been having for 6/7 years and had been gradually deteriorating suddenly, rapidly becoming a huge issue. So my shooting fell apart, no matter as I set about asking questions and looking for answers whilst carrying on, scores didn’t matter at all, smiling with a bow in my hand certainly did! Then of course we have those vocal folks who believe their opinion matters! That my scores are so appalling I have no right to be on the shooting line! Well huge raspberries to you and your opinions because your knowledge of me is zilch so you don’t have an opinion that I need!

So the great arrow count is done – 26 weeks and I have shot 15,669 arrows. Not as many as I planned. But 60% of my aim back in March. A combination of 19 scored rounds or competitions in target archery, approximately 2/3 of what I had intended. None of the 3 flight completions I had intended to attend. A combination of the new job, shifts, health and family commitments and the responsibilities I now have with dad gone impacting these aims.

Plans made with work and family to help me resolve the time issues and of course huge plans to work my backside off over indoors with bow, new release aid and pretty much a new way of shooting for me to continue to be on the shooting line and get ready for outdoors 2024.

Desperately disappointed in my classification but also happy to still be shooting at all. There has been a constant theme since I signed up to my beginners course in 2018 that I should not bother and I should quit. Thankfully I am possibly one of the most stubborn and bloody minded folks or I would certainly have quit on many occasions!

So I have one more outdoor competition in a few weeks and then indoors it will be to learn my new way forward! Planning ahead for what the possible surgeries might mean and two further steps in case the issues with my hand/arm/elbow deteriorate further and further again. Like me the county captain is a planner! 🙃

I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend – scored round stood up on Saturday and shooting the county champs Sunday morning followed by agenting Sunday afternoon, all done with amazing company 🥰

Thank you as ever to those who support me in continuing to hold my bow – forever grateful 🤗

Blown away by the words of friendship from three different people in 3 different places this weekend – always strange to hear positive thoughts about me and how I am perceived by people who have opinions I value and they had made those thoughts public!

A photo sent to me Sunday evening that, for me, truly showed me how far I have come from 16th May 2022 – wow 🤩

Lots coming this weekend and I will explain as we go through the week, for now, I am off to bed 😴🫣

Week 62 #sitting down does not mean sitting out

This week I had to choose between national flight championships and an invitation to shoot for the county.

Having shot flight nationals in 2021 and 2022 and making great friends there as well as bringing home medals has been amazing and flight is my favourite type of archery. So much so that I include it in the list of things I deliver and share.

The county squad have been with me almost since the beginning – I hadn’t been shooting long when I received my first invitation to wear the county shirt. They have stood by me through every challenge, never judge me but always support me and in return I do what I can to support each and every one of them, always. They are my family.

So I guess the decision was easy even if I was going to miss something I love, this was about my people. The county struggle to field a squad for the Thorsby shoot every year so even injured and trying to regain form I was in.

As I sat on the line waiting for arrows to be collected I saw that there were 4 of us sat on the line, 3 out of the 5 counties had seated archers on their squad. This is hugely important for me as I am privileged to be allowed to help archers who need to make changes to stay shooting and also to introduce new people who have thought they have a disability that excludes them from sport. #sitting down does not mean sitting out. Ours is the most inclusive and adaptive sport I know.

The other noteworthy thing of this week was the completion of the NSPCC welfare officer training: time to talk delivered by UK Coaching. 3 hours very well spent and as always I do find multi sport environments incredibly rewarding as we share good practices.

Lots to do this week for work, for me and for Integr8Archery so I hope you all have a great week ❤️🏹

Lots of data gathering this week for me ❤️🏹 – Thank you Dunster for everything so far ….

When I started shooting I believed that I had 2 years before this broken body would crumble and stop. With the help and support of a number of people I have reached 5 and a half years. It’s been a rollercoaster, the physical pain, moving to seated, the emotional trauma. Shooting for the county is a privilege and no, I am never aiming to “just make up the numbers” as has been suggested by one coach.

The last 18 months have been about fighting to remain on the range mentally and emotionally, people literally holding me together as I breakdown and cry on ranges, spiralling to darker and darker places. In my very darkest place friends decided I needed to see the sport differently, they knew a massive amount of the damage to my relationship with the range was created by a coach and the NGB amongst others.

I was taken to a field course and welcomed with incredible warmth and a huge discussion about why many found themselves there and what a different type of archery and a different governing body had given them and what they might offer me.

However I cannot shoot field, there is a risk with the shoulder spasms that a loose arrow may hit an archer by the nature of the lay out, it’s simply not a risk in target. Plus there is my love of flight archery.

I was also taken to longbow day at Dunster on the 15th June. I had barely survived the 16th May and so was vulnerable on that range but I was met with warmth and laughter and the feeling that I would be welcome here. So Clair and I decided to come this year and spend 10 days taking part in the whole thing, from the county championships, the week’s festival and ending on the regional championships.

I had 13 months to get myself in shape mentally and physically to be here and have fun, something that had been taken away from me.

A week later we had the devastating news about dad and the training on the shooting side took a step back, the focus was on him, rightly so and never regretted.

I did ground out that second seasons first classification, hard work pulled it off and as I had spent a huge amount of time with unclassified or 3rd class scores I was again proud to achieve it. It was evidence that I was pulling it back together. Also some shiny bling again from my second year at the national flight championships and my new found love of the footbow. What is not to love about a bow that sees every single arrow shot make me laugh like a drain! My first raptor badge, Merlin earned too.

Winter shooting was cancelled for me as it simply wasn’t to be a priority but with the small amount of shooting I managed around the important time spent with dad and the few shoots I managed after he left us and the time spent with mum, I managed to end the season with a C classification, I had only ever achieved a D previously.

The work I was doing on my mental health was hard, very hard but it was gaining ground.

Outdoor 23 has been a very mixed bag, hard work and some PB’s but also some terrible days and terrible scores. My body is again breaking down.

July arrives and it’s Dunster time, here I am a week in, my scores are horrible but I am having an amazing time. The plan had been shooting 7 of the 8 days, target on the field day and volunteer on the clout day. I would be standing on the longbow day as the practicalities of the stool on a 2 way shoot were likely to create me more issues than resolve.

I wanted to shoot longbow day as a nod to last year, my first visit that gave me purpose in my sport when I had lost all hope in believing I had a place on the range.

My little longbow has never been shot at a target as she is for flight and I have her as I love watching the arrows float, you don’t get to see the arrows with compound! She brought me home a bronze medal at flight last year but I didn’t expect much of her at Dunster as it was unlikely the arrows would even reach the boss! But she made me proud as the arrows constantly fell around the feet of the boss, they were making the distance! I learned what petticoats are – we don’t get those in compound and I hit a 3! Shortly after starting the second distance it was clear I had to make a decision about the pain and I withdrew, it was a fantastic day regardless and well worth the effort.

Friday saw equipment failure and make up arrows, another new experience at Dunster 😂😂

More importantly, I have constantly had issues this week with my shoulder and back, as expected, I had a little cry on Tuesday as I pondered if this was nearing the end of my shooting but I was sensible and contacted Ben and Martin to arrange some time when I get home to look at what is happening, what we might do and what the future might hold. This equipment failure suggested it may not all be about me as there could have been this piece failing over the course of the week!

So here I am, heading into a double Hereford to end the week, I am going to enjoy it with no expectations and just see what happens. Scores are irrelevant this week. Dunster has been about something so very much more than where my arrows land. It’s been a celebration that I made it, that last May didn’t take me and that my sport may still have space for me for just a little longer. I do still have 2 important goals for 2025! For now Dunster 2024 is on my calendar to return and celebrate me, my shooting and it’s 150th meeting! 🥳

Week 54 – events, delivery, prep and my archery!

Another busy week in the bag.

Some exciting new projects being discussed and planned and some great collaborations with other local Community Interest Companies too.

I never like having to refuse things and this week saw me have to turn down a couple of things but all with very good reason and luckily there are possible ways to supply different things at a later date for these groups.

As always I love going into the schools and it was great to go into Wrenn and catch up with some of the children who had been doing the curriculum sessions, and a privilege to go in to help them provide sessions for the children who have to attend on strike days.

Today I have been in to Sapcote Primary to help deliver the latest taster for one of the Leicestershire schools. It’s great to see this all coming together after the months of work we have been putting in. The children were enthusiastic and staff are very keen to learn and get this going as an after school event. They took care of us in the fire alarm test too.

Weather saw us have to postpone the latest session for Wellingborough Muslim Community group but we will sort this out soon. All archers know there is very little weather we don’t shoot in but thunderstorms are a hard no.

We are Undefeatable and also the Belong networks both had their latest meetings always great to share and learn from each other. Safeguarding and some great proactive discussions rather than just the often proactive actions. Looking forward to developing the ideas from these meetings and seeing what we can achieve.

My last competition before my trip to Dunster saw a great day with a double Windsor at Long Buckby Archery Club. A great day of testing the techniques I have been working on to enable me to get through the long days of shooting, definitely going to be important next week. I have no expectations on scores and the phrase “here to make up the numbers” intrigues me. No I am here to have fun, enjoy my sport and do what I want for me! Along the way I am lucky enough to have met amazing people who chat and allow me to help them. I started shooting thinking I might have 2 years but with the help of a friend who is an archer and a physio we are dragging this wreck through and I have surpassed 5 years! Making up the numbers? Shove off am I! My goals may not be your goals but I wish you well with yours whilst I get on with mine.

Friday 14/7 to Monday 24/7 will see me away and focusing on me, something that I just never do so be patient with me it’s a new experience for me too, not putting everyone else first 🙃

Take care and stay well 🥰🏹