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Longbows - by Tom Major

Some of you might know that Tom has not been well recently and during this enforced rest his mind has wandered to the subject of Longbows.

The article attached is Tom's experience over many years and covers such topics as purchasing your first longbow, what arrows you need for your longbow and how to shoot it.

I would have been glad of this advice when I bought mine last year.


Download the article 


Roy Collins

16th October 1939 – 14th June 2014

Roy joined Holdens Archers and very quickly established himself as a valued member of the club and took up the position of Records Officer for many years and a spell of 4 years as Chairman, which had to be relinquished through ill health.

As a qualified Archery Leader, he was involved not only with training new members with the club, but also took on the responsibility of training archery to those interested in taking up archery at Brentwood School, assisted by other qualified leaders from Holdens Archers and took training very seriously but with good humour, always organising a fun shoot at the end of term. He was also present at Open Days.

When Roy moved to Colchester, he would travel to Brentwood, sometimes 3 times a week to fulfil his commitments to the club. With a round trip of 60 miles, such was his dedication. He was made Honorary Member of Holdens and presented with a trophy shield as a mark of the high regard in which he was held by his fellow archers.

His interest in archery was proven when he wrote a tale for the now defunct “Essex Bowman”. Fourteen episodes were penned under the pen name Hob, only revealing himself at the last episode. The story involved the adventures of the fictitious Club named “Little Frumpington Archers” with headquarters in the local pub the Pig & Whistle. As a knowledgeable man, he was also devised and acted as Quizmaster at a number of quiz nights to raise revenue for the club.

Other interests were many & varied; he was a member of the “Guild of Essex Craftsman”, specialising in making miniature models. Also interested in ancient castles, he visited numerous throughout England. He was also a volunteer driver, taking disabled persons to their medical appointments

             He finally had to give up archery as he was no longer able to drive and his health deteriorated. He was admitted to Tendring Nursing Home, where he was taken good care until he finally succumbed to his illness, which he bore with great fortitude and with his usual good humour.

             Roy will be sadly missed by all who knew him at Holdens and all the archers in the clubs in Essex who knew him through tournaments and his writing in the “Essex Bowmen”.

Louis Gladwell (Club President)
& Alan Goodsman (Club Secretary)
Holdens Archers

On the 1st September Tom reached his 80th Birthday and I would like Essex to join me in celebrating this with him.

 I have known Tom for over 20 years and during that long relationship he has taught me a great deal. From the start of my archery career he has passed on a wealth of knowledge which he has offered freely.  He is a very approachable gentleman and is happy to talk to anyone and offer a helping hand.

 He has been a member of Essex archery for 53 years and he and Iris in 51 years are the longest serving members of the Essex Coaching Guild.  They have also both been members of Pilgrim Archers for 53 years.  Tom has held the office of President of the ECAA and, as you will see from the photo on the left, he is a holder of the prestigious red tassel. Whilst Iris has been my personal coach for the past 20 years, I have always regarded Tom as my personal technical support, and this is a partnership which works well together.

When it came to equipment tuning in the early stages of my archery, Tom was the first person I would turn to and, even now, we frequently talk about different ideas, new bow designs, limbs etc. I learnt how to make my first string through Tom’s tuition which I later went on to adapt in my own way.

After many years shooting his recurve right handed, Tom had to change to the left hand due to a hand injury.  There is a full page  photograph of Tom shooting recurve on page 16 of John Holden’s book ”Shooting Straight”.  He also enjoys shooting his longbow, and I understand he has written an article about the Longbow in the hope that it will guide any newcomers to this discipline.  He hopes this will be posted on the ECAA website shortly.

As I mentioned, Tom has a wealth of knowledge and has a record of information dating back over the 53 years he has been in archery. From the first string he ever made and competition results dating back just as far.  Tom made his own finger tab release aid for his compound which he used for the first time at a Colchester FITA Star Competition. He said it took 5 judges to decide whether it was legal – and it was.  The design was intended to “open” the fingers for the release aid to work so that there would be no confusion when shooting recurve.

When it comes to scoring he would never claim line cutters.  The arrow must clearly be in the scoring zone for him to feel that he had earned the point!  I am sure some of his scores would have been notably higher had he not been so particular about this. 

I am truly indebted to Tom for all his help and guidance and have enjoyed the numerous conversations we have had over the years and feel sure he has too.  I look forward to many more in the future.                                        

   Tom in his mid-seventies - just as happy up a tree although Iris wasn’t!!

Happy Birthday, Tom

Love Matt, Denise and Ethan

Grays archers are an old established club in Essex that was formed in 1952 and has been promoting archery in its local area ever since.  The club was originally a tennis club and its members wanted something to do in the winter months, the members tried archery and Grays Archery Club was formed.

In 1977 Bernard Day joined Grays Archers and became an active member for almost 13yrs.

As he became more experienced he took on the role of instructing the beginners and novices, he could often be seen around the club coaching and offering help to anyone who wanted it.

He liked to encourage both the young and more mature archer and tried to help them improve and to enjoy their archery.

When he died suddenly his Wife Doris donated the Bernard Day Memorial Trophy in his memory, the trophy is awarded for the most improved handicap of a novice at the club championships.  The trophy was presented by Doris for the first time in 1991 at the club championships.

Now move on to present day, a young novice archer called Samuel White aged 10 years and 8 months has been shooting since March 2014.  He has been improving every time he picks up a bow.  Samuel has now been awarded his third class classification badge and won his class at the club championships.

During the presentation the trophies were all awarded by the chairman of the club Malcolm Vaux. 

The Bernard Day memorial trophy was awarded to Samuel White.  When the trophy was presented there was the usual cheer and clapping from the crowd. Then there was a very loud cheer from Samuel's Gran (Sandra Pilgrim).  After a few tears and a few hugs and a few more tears and a few more hugs poor Samuel who was all squeezed out at this point and along with everyone else was very confused as to what all the fuss was about. 

Samuel's Gran explained to the crowd that the Bernard Day was her father and therefore was Samuel's Great Granddad.  She said he would have been very happy that his great grandson has taken up a sport that he had loved so much.  The legacy that Bernard has given has crossed the generations and the archery gene has been passed on.  One happy boy, mum and gran.

Steve Fortt (Grays Archers)

National Series Stage 3 & 4 - Another great weekend for Essex and Suffolk

Essex/Suffolk had a strong presence at the ArcheryGB National Series Stages 3&4, hosted on 12/13 July at Clophill, with county archers and judges taking position on - and supervising - the shooting line. The judging team included Richard Pilkington, Paul Clark and (making his national tournament debut) Paul Body - all helping to keep the nearly 200-odd competitors in order and the two-day shoot running smoothly.These stages of the National Series comprised a 70m/50m 720 ranking round followed by head-to-heads on both days. For those taking part in the National Series, vital points were up for grabs so most of the ArcheryGB senior team were in attendance, including Nicky Hunt (Deben Archers), West Essex’s own Simon Powell shooting in the Para squad uniform and Mayflower's ArcheryGB representative Michael Judd. Joining them were Stephen Morris, Anna and James King from Colchester shooting barebow and compound, Oakfield’s Jaspreet Sagoo, Braintree's Paul Ramos and myself.

Saturday’s qualification started under leaden skies but rising temperatures. After 72 arrows, Michael was seeded 10th, Simon 21st, Stephen 70th (with a new PB), Jaspreet 20th and I placed 28th. Despite some disappointment in the main round, the set system H2Hs provide an opportunity to regroup and improve standings - and so it transpired: although Jaspreet and Stephen were unfortunately dropped early, Simon and I were pitched against each other in the 1/8ths but I eventually emerged victorious and continued on (incredulously) into the quarter-, then semi-finals, then into the final against Essex team-mate Michael! After a 5-set battle, the match was tied and decided by a single arrow shoot-off. We both shot into the gold, hitting the 9 ring - Michael’s arrow an inch closer to the centre putting him on the top step of the podium for Stage 3 and making it an Essex one-two.

Nicky fought through to the semi-finals in the women’s recurve competition but was stopped in fourth place by fellow GB squad member Jeanetta Braun (the competition was eventually won by Amy Oliver).The shoot reconvened on Sunday ready to start over for Stage 4. All of the Essex contingent (joined today by Paul Ramos of Braintree and Deben’s Jack Nobbs, Ollie Voss and Stuart Ross) improved their qualification scores (except Stephen who was only 5 points off his previous day’s PB) just before the rain arrived during the break. After a few ends of practice, the H2Hs began in earnest. Stuart from Deben was dropped in the 1/32s while team mates Ollie and Jack, and I, made it as far as the 1/16ths. Jaspreet made it through to the 1/8ths and Nicky went all the way to the final, eventually losing out to Amy who made it a clean sweep for the weekend.Simon and Michael pressed on in Gents recurve, both eventually losing out in the 1/8ths after some very strong shooting.All in all a fantastic weekend - the competition was brilliantly organised by the Clophill crew and the atmosphere amongst the field team, judges, competitors and supporters made it a really enjoyable shoot, all the more memorable after such fine performances from the entire Essex/Suffolk contingent. Well done everyone!  

 Cheers Tim Davies

It is with regret I must report the passing of Claire Stanford on Saturday evening. (5th July 2014)

As many of you will be aware, Claire had been a true stalwart of the association for many years, serving the county in various capacities over many years.

In light of this, she had been Vice President and was awarded the Red Tassel for services to the County.

Claire was heavily involved with the Coaching Guild serving as Treasurer for a number of years up until the Guild’s recent AGM in December. 

Alex Purser

County Chairman

An obituary for Claire has also been written by Iris Major which is available here.