Scottish War Blinded members aim high for archery success

Posted: 29/01/2016 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded members Robert Harvey and Derek McDonald are fine-tuning their archery skills, at Archers’ Hall in Edinburgh, in preparation for an archery competition in Brighton next month.

Our members have been kindly invited by Lothian Disability Sport to participate in extra sessions at Archers’ Hall to prepare for the trip where they will compete against fellow visually impaired veterans from across the UK.

Derek and Robert attend the weekly session held at Archers’ Hall on a Wednesday afternoon as well as their monthly sessions with Scottish War Blinded. They are benefiting from expert tuition from coaches Nick Murrell, George Steele and Richard Vallis as well as working alongside veterans who are preparing from the British team trials for the Invictus Games which will take place in Orlando later this year.

The group works closely with a number of veterans charities and brings active service personnel and ex-servicemen of all ages together, many of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whilst some prepare for trials and competitions, others use archery as part of their recovery plans back into active service.

Archery Coordinator for Lothian Disability Sport said:

“We are delighted to welcome Robert and Derek to our Wednesday archery group and provide additional coaching for their forthcoming trip to Blind Veterans Brighton. Both Derek and Robert have some peripheral vision and we coach them to maximise using their remaining vision to the best of their abilities.”

Both Robert and Derek are National Service veterans who joined Scottish War Blinded after losing their sight in subsequent later life. Our members discovered their talents for archery after attending a taster session organised by the charity.

Robert, a former professional footballer and qualified sports coach, embraces the opportunity to re-engage with competitive sport.

Robert said:

“We were delighted to be offered the opportunity of shooting at Archers’ Hall with veterans from the Personal Recovery Unit based at Craighall Headquarters, The British Legion and Help for Heroes. The additional practice will help greatly in our preparations for our trip next month. I am very optimistic of achieving a great result.”

Derek enjoys many sporting activities organised by the charity including bowling, acoustic shooting and is a regular in the Linburn Centre Gym.

Derek said:

“Archery is a sport suitable for all ages and all abilities. I'm delighted that I can still compete in a competitive sport and am looking forward to making the trip to Brighton next month.”

Scottish War Blinded provides free support to veterans of the armed forces who have a visual impairment sustained either in conflict or subsequently to their service. We support ex-service men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, including Reserves, Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps and National Service.

If you or someone you know could benefit from Scottish War Blinded’s activities, call us free today on 0800 035 6409 or visit