Hawkhead Centre veterans with sight loss take on Renfrewshire Community Police in archery competition

Posted: 10/05/2019 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded veterans representing the Hawkhead Centre emerged victorious in their very first archery competition against officers from Renfrewshire Community Police.

Long-running banter between Hawkhead attendees and local community police officers finally materialised into a hotly contested competition at the Hawkhead Centre on Thursday, May 9.

The group of veterans, who all have sight loss and regularly take part in archery sessions at the centre, threw down the gauntlet to the cops to take them on in the sport, which is a huge hit with many Hawkhead attendees.

After the seven officers got to grips with the bow and arrow under the guidance of trained archery instructors and centre officers, Jason Duncan and Jodie Burnett, the tension cranked up for the competitive shots.

With the team members stepping up to shoot six arrows each, the competitors held their nerve to produce some cracking shots on target.

And much to the veterans’ delight, Hawkhead claimed victory, snatching glory by 250 points to the cops’ 220.

The winning team consisted of Crawford Hogarth, Jimmy Johnson, Toby Falconer, Stewart Campbell, Peter Ramsey, Tam McDowall, Jim Stevenson and Paddy O’Neil.

Toby Falconer, who has split vision and hit the highest individual score among the Hawkhead veterans, with 46/60, said: “What a lovely occasion this was.

“It was lovely of the police to come along. The comradeship was absolutely fantastic.

“I’ve been taking part in archery for a year. It’s been a lovely experience to meet the guys.”

In the afternoon Jodie and Jason oversaw a much more light-hearted shooting session of archery games, including ‘balloon target practice’.

And the officers also had the opportunity to attempt firing while wearing simulation spectacles, which simulate various eye conditions that the Scottish War Blinded veterans are living with.

“The fact that the veterans have sight loss and can do what they do is incredible, said Sergeant Stevie Airlie, who found the simulation glasses experience to be very valuable.

“The whole social aspect of the day has been great too. They love a good laugh,” he added.

Highest individual scorer for the cops, with 33/60, Police Constable Andy Stewart, who also helped make arrangements for the competition to take place, commented: “Hats off to the members for how good they are. 

“The Hawkhead Centre are always really good at inviting us along, it’s a very welcoming place.  

“They had mentioned the archery to us and there’d been some jokes from some of the members about arranging a tournament.

“We came up for a practice last week, and today everyone’s competitive nature came out. It was a bit of a running joke and it was a fantastic day. The banter at the centre is fantastic.”  

Sergeant Stevie Airlie added: “We have so much respect for the military community, it’s great to see there are facilities like this looking after them.

And the community police and Hawkhead veterans are already looking forward to taking each other on again soon - with bowls as the next sport of choice.

 

For more information about the activities and support offered to veterans at the Hawkhead Centre and to refer a veteran to the charity, call 0800 035 6409.