It is with an extremely heavy heart that I pass on the sad news that our longtime club-member and friend Carmel Bassett has passed away.
Most of you will have known Carmel as our highly dedicated (and accomplished) Visually-Impaired archer who, together with husband Bob, were a constant presence at our practice sessions and shoots throughout the year, and often travelled widely to enjoy their passion for archery.
We nominated Carmel for the ECAA Thelma Davison Award last year, which she was thrilled to receive, with the following citation:
"Partially-sighted since birth, Carmel has been a VI archer for many years: initially shooting the early competition rounds using a recurve bow equipped with a magnified sight but due to rule changes to the B2/B3 class, was obliged to switch to the tactile sight to maintain her position on the GB Paralympic team.
With her eyesight in continuous decline, and with her competitors opting to shoot with compound bows, she switched from recurve to compound herself: no easy task given how shooting relies so much on feel.
In mid-2018 Carmel contracted cancer and underwent rigorous and debilitating chemotherapy. Despite struggling with fitness and consistency, Carmel's enthusiasm for the sport has not waned and, as her recovery continues, she regularly attends competitions both at home and abroad, including the Andorra Open VI and Berlin Open Indoor tournaments.
Despite the negative effects of her medication and increasing reliance on guide dogs (and, of course, her loyal 'dogsbody' Bob!), Carmel is a staunch supporter of the club - ready and willing to help with any task, and of course shoots as often as her energy permits - always positive and cheerful, with her sights firmly set on participating in the Vegas Shoot and rejoining the National squad."
Prior to the COVID outbreak, Carmel was attending our indoor sessions at Sweyne and was as upbeat and positive as ever, always seeking to improve her shot and offering kind words of wisdom and encouragement to everyone she talked to. Her passing comes as a huge shock and I'm sure all who knew her will join me in sending our deepest condolences to Bob whilst remembering Carmel for her humour, energy and spirit.
RAYLEIGH TOWN ARCHERY CLUB