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Ken Gray Memorial Tournament

The annual Ken Gray Memorial shoot took place at Mayflower Archers on 7th February. The shoot is intended for new junior archers in their first years of shooting to give experience of competition archery in a friendly environment.

This year saw another full entry for the Portsmouth round with representatives from around the county. Winning this year’s shoot was the junior team from West Essex Bowmen, with Rayleigh Town Juniors in second place and Mayflower Juniors in third place. Our congratulations to the West Essex Junior team.

The shoot concluded with its ever popular balloon popping session.

Our thanks to Neal and Lesley Howell who took over the organisation of this shoot for the first time as tournament stalwart Alex Purser stepped down.

Paul Clarke (seen here talking to Mick Pearce) completed  the final section of his Regional Judging assessment by actually turning up at the SCAS Judges Conference in Stevenage.

He had already passed the field and written assessments earlier in the year and just needed this to be promoted to Regional judge which means Paul can take charge of UK record Status shoots.

This means Essex now have two National judges, two Regional judges, three County judges and three Candidates - all of whom can be contacted through the Judges page.

Well done Paul. 

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