Louth Disabled Archery Club pair set sights on European adventure

Louth and District Disabled Club chairman Rick Smith with Stuart Rodgers and Carol Davies Picture: Archery GB EMN-160128-173943002
Louth and District Disabled Club chairman Rick Smith with Stuart Rodgers and Carol Davies Picture: Archery GB EMN-160128-173943002

A pair of vision-impaired archers are in intensive training for two big international dates after a successful 12 months.

Carol Davies and Stuart Rodgers, from the Louth and District Disabled Archery Club (LADDAC), will travel to France later this month after being invited to shoot as individuals at an international classification shoot.

But perhaps the most important event of their season comes two months later in April when they shoot for Great Britain at the European Championships for VI Archers, also in France.

Recently they attended a ground-breaking performance-based coaching session at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, in Buckinghamshire.

Blind archer Stuart and Carol, a partially-sighted competitor, were accompanied by LADDAC chairman and coach Rick Smith, from Louth, who is also Stuart’s sighted spotter.

It was the first session for visually impaired archers, jointly run by British Wheelchair Archery and the British Blind Sports Associations, and supported by Wheel Power.

The scheme allows the BWAA to provide extra facilities at their training weekends to create a central base for coaching. If successful, the BBSA hopes to launch a permanent programme later this year.

Stuart, from Sutton-on-Sea, took up archery just 16 months ago and only made his competitive debut in January 2015.

Last April he finished second at the British Blind Sports Indoor Archery Championships, at Lilleshall, where they met Skegness archer Carol who agreed to join the Louth club.

Carol, a Women’s Royal Army Corps veteran, was registered with severely impaired vision in the 1980s and became hooked on archery two-and-a-half years ago.

The pair represented Louth at the BBSA Outdoor Championships last September and finished second and third respectively in their classifications.

The results earned them an invite to join the British team for the European Championships.

LADDAC was established about 19 years ago at Manby Airfield and is now run, under the auspices of Archery GB, at Saltfleetby football fields and at the Grimoldby and Manby Gym.

With a membership of about 50 archers, the club is open to all abilities, both disabled and able-bodied, for anyone over the age of seven.

They also welcome anyone involved in the deafblind charity Sense to go along and try the sport.

The club holds indoor training sessions at Grimoldby and Manby Gym, behind Tedder Hall, Manby Park, on Tuesdays between 6pm and 8pm, and Saturdays from 12.30pm to 4pm.

They also run a lunchtime club for King Edward VI Grammar School pupils on Wednesdays.

But like so many sports clubs, it is run by the commitment and dedication of volunteers, and reliant on sponsorship and donations for its survival.

Rick said: “All we have done has been self-financed. Even our GB team shirts will have to be bought so any sponsorship would be most appreciated.

“We are a registered charity and could do so much more if funds were made available to us.”