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Many of you will know Tommy Hodder, not just for his excellent string making, but also for the fact that he has always been a good shot and represented GB some years ago.

In more recent years he has suffered problems with his feet, and his left foot in particular, due to diabetes, which has made life difficult for shooting and judging.

On Wednesday, 25th November, he underwent an operation at Basildon Hospital to have his left leg amputated below the knee and will remain in hospital for some weeks.  I am sure we all wish Tommy a speedy recovery and a happy return to archery when the time is right for him.  His determination to shoot again will see him through this very difficult time.

The photograph shows Tommy shooting from a stool at Pilgrim Archers Whit Shoot in 2015

I'm happy to say that RIchard Pilkington (that's me!) has recently passed his National Level Judge examinations and joins Mick and Tony at the highest level of Judging in AGB.

Judging is great fun as you get to meet all the archers without the actual need to shoot arrows and worry about your score. If you think you can eat cake, drink tea and want to help the sport then have a chat to a judge at a shoot, visit the Judges page or drop us a line at


27.03.1933 – 05.10.2015

There can be few people in any sport more dedicated and given more of themselves than Graham. Most notably Secretary to Essex County Archery Association for over 60-years, taking on the Post in 1952 to help out ‘temporarily’ until a permanent Secretary could be found. During these 60-odd years he has undertaken everything and anything that involved County work and never claimed to be too busy to help in any way he could.

In addition to the years spent as Secretary, the length of which is unheard of in the annals of the Society, Graham also spent 10-years as Chairman of GNAS Target Committee during which time he was involved in the selection of teams for both World Championships and Olympic Games.

He was one of the first archers in the County to become a Judge having been active as a Field Captain before the existence of Judges and he remained active as a Regional Judge, always preferring to remain close to the grassroots of the sport he so loved and was instrumental in introducing and supporting many archers in their efforts to progress in judging.

He was President of SCAS from 2010 to 2013, awarded every accolade that County and Region could bestow upon him. Was an AGB and SCAS Judge Emeritus, held the Hartwell Trophy, was a Life Member of Essex and SCAS. At the last ECAA AGM he was elected President of the County.

Our thoughts are with Betty, his wife of 50-years who has lost not only a devoted husband but one of the best-loved characters in archery.

Graham Sibley will be sorely missed.

Essex and the archery world will be a poorer place without him.

Thanks from Betty Sibley

BETTY SIBLEY would like to express her deep gratitude for the many kind letters and cards she received following the passing of Graham. She also gives thanks to the huge number of people who supported her by attending the funeral at the Church and Crematorium. The size of the congregation showed just how much Graham was respected and he will be sadly missed by all.The collection at the Church after Graham's funeral raised £1,036 for McMillan Cancer Support.  Betty is very appreciative of all who donated..

The First weekend in July saw Deben AC Juniors return for their second time to the Junior Nationals Outdoor Championships. Our team of Ollie Vobe, Ollie Smith, Jason Cooper and Roman Quinton travelled to the competition held at Lilleshall in Shropshire. The weather was good despite a couple of heavy showers on Sunday and wearing our new Squad shirts we managed to be successful. 

Roman Quinton won the Metric 4 and Bristol 4 Recurve section and so Under 12 Champion. His scores on Sunday along with Imogen Newby, Lauren Bann, Rhiannon Easton means they won the National County team trophy for Essex and Suffolk. Also Roman and Imogen secured a win for the Southern Counties Regional team.

Jason Cooper was up against some tough competition in the Metric 3 and Bristol 3 but still managed 8th place and 11th on the Sunday. However he did achieve PB's on both days.

Ollie Smith Won both the Gents World Archery 1440 round and the York round on Sunday. Winning the York round which is a senior round means he gets the title of Archery GB National Champion in Gents Barebow. 

Ollie Vobe came 2nd on the Gents World Archery 1440 round to a much older (who was celebrating an 18th birthday the next day) very experience International Recurve Archer but still put in a really good score. On Sunday for the York Round he won and claimed the title of Archery GB National Champion in Gents Recurve. 

If only we knew!!

Some 10 years ago this picture was taken on a day out to Bodium castle! Have a go, said this gentleman! Its only £2!!

Archery….. After £10 I was hooked, but I was just 6 years old! But I want to do archery, not football!

I was too young to be accepted by a club, although my name was down on lists! And gradually over the next 3 years I went to every fete stall and “had a go!” and Deno days during school holidays run by RTCA.

Finally at the age of 9 I was in a club!

This was the start of my archery……….

Going from local competitions, to a little further out! I started winning competitions, collecting county records, even the only junior in Essex to have a 6 gold end in Clout! I was called for County!  Then in 2011 I won the Indoor under 14 Nationals!

Someone made a comment, after this event!  Where did he come from!

I started coaching with Mike Peart, and it was Mike who suggested I applied for the “new” academies which archery GB were starting….. 18 months of hard training, weekly logs and lots of arrow repairs I was offered a place on the Southern academy, once a month I travel to Gloucester for a weekend of training, coaching and shooting.

My Coach became Tony Ferguson.  During the outdoor season last year I carried on shooting in competitions and realised almost at the end I had qualification scores!!! But I was 1 short to be able to submit them!

Team “me” came to the rescue and at 4am one morning we were on our way to the “last chance competition”! In Leicester…  I did it…. I had my last qualification score needed!

Winter season I hardly entered competitions, Academy was still every month, this was the time when I was “worked on!” changing technics, trying new things and lots of frustration!

 Fast forward………………………………

April this year was one very busy April, managing to get away on holiday to New York for the only 5 days we all had together! The hotel had a gym….training never stops

 Followed by a weekend to Kirby Muxloe, then to Gloucester academy, and then the GB selection shoot. (Dad tells me some 1600 miles travelled by car!)  I slept for most of those!!

If I’m honest top 10 was my goal, this was some BIG competition almost like the nationals…but everyone wanting the all important place…and the GB shirt! The atmosphere was so different to any competition I had shot in before. 

I qualified 5th for GB and although just outside the all-important top 3 and reserve, I was please.

Then on the Monday we received and email!

Congratulations on qualifying for the second part of the English Archery Federation selection process for the Junior Commonwealth Games, Samoa 2015.

Back to Lilleshall the following Monday!  I was lying in 2nd place.  A full day of head to heads, between the top 4.

After the day had finished and all the head to heads were done, I held onto my second place, I had made it I was reserve for Samoa! (Yep I googled it to see where it was too!)

As it stands at present I’m classed as Non travelling (due to funding!) but I can be called upon up to 24 hours before. It’s so frustrating knowing all the flight numbers and the itinery, taking part in webinars and even submitting the size for my England kit!! Knowing I probably won’t be going, but I am proud I achieved it!

Qualifying for this gave me automatic selection for the Home nations at the junior outdoor nationals on the 4th July at Lillieshall, I would be representing England!!

Again having just moved into the under 18s section (by 2 weeks – blame my parents!) I could only do my best!  Not only was I shooting for myself I had the shirt! I was shooting for the England team! No pressure!

Again top 10 personally was my goal, I had tough competition from top junior archers who were just about to become seniors and very experienced!

I am pleased, very pleased England won!   And I finished 5th on the Saturday, Sunday I finished 3rd and came home with a bronze medal and a new personal Best by over 20 points! 

Already this season I have 13 JMB’s! And new county records, new PB’s and a “spare bow”! This is serious now!! 

If only this man knew some 10 years ago that it hasn’t turned out to be “just £2 to have a go”! But what a journey I have has so far…….and it’s just beginning……………………

Alex Body

This weekend saw our very own Imogen Newby participate in the Junior National Outdoor Championships 2015 held at Lilleshall National Sports Centre near Newport in Shropshire. The rounds here are as follows

Metric V – 144 arrows, 3 dozen over 30m, 20m on 122cm face with 6 arrows per end to be shot in 4 minutes, 15m and 10m 80cm face shot 3 arrows over 2 minutes. Scoring 1-10 points.

Bristol V – 144 arrows, 6 dozen at 30 yards, 4 dozen at 20 yards, then 2 dozen at 10 yards all on a 122cm face. Scoring 1,3,5,7 and 9.

The weekend was already going to be a huge event for Imogen as this is to be her last attempt to win the National titles for Metric V and Bristol V before she moves up to the U14’s next year….or is it?

I was later advised that as Imogen will be still 11 yrs old on 1st January 2016, she may still be eligible to compete for the U12’s even though her birthday is just 6 days before the event is held. This however, still needs to be 100% confirmed. She will definitely have to complete in the U14’s for the Bristol IV next year.

Friday we travelled up to Lilleshall after a brief visit to see Leon Stephens of Sudbury Physio and Sudbury Archery Club to review a pseudo winging scapula. We arrived to be greeted by a friendly face, Lauren Turner’s Dad, Nigel, of Wye Archery Club and discussions were had over the two girls and their progress over the sesason.

Patiently waiting for the Target List to be brought out than a mad dash for the shooting line so tents could be popped up ready for the following day. Tent up, a little shopping then off to the hotel for a high protein, high carb dinner and an early night.

Saturday was the Metric V. The mist over Lilleshall was not a welcome sight as the night before had rained heavily. The wind was ever present and due to reach a max of 16 mph around 2pm, Imogen was prepared for war!

This year’s objective was to win! Imogen wanted that gold medal. Tough competition was to had as Caitlin Aiken of Buchan Archery Club, who was 2nd last year, was the only name we recognised that we knew would prove difficult to beat. The weather was dry, warm and windy, not great, but Imogen had no choice so knuckled down to hitting the gold spot. First 3 dozen were a little shaky as Imogen settled into the round dropping 4 7’s and 8’s, hitting 54, 53, 52, but recovered to 55, 54, 54 finishing on 322. This was going to set the end result as a new contender showed herself to the other Juniors. Charlotte Hempstall of Bowmen of Pendle and Samlesbury proved to be a formidable opponent and the 1st distance was very close. Caitlin was 14 points up on Imogen and Charlotte close behind.

Imogen had a quick visit from Lloyd Brown the Olympic Coach while the bosses were being moved discussing her progress and how she was shooting…eyes were on Imogen here clearly. A happy Lloyd moved on to the see other athletes and the 20m began.

Imogen knows she’s got to nail this and nail it she did! Setting up a National Record Claim for this distance beating Caitlin by 1 point! 22 X + 10’s (10 X’s)! What a show! With my heart pounding and the wind blowing a hoolie, we moved to 15 meters.

Leaving the last distance at an impressive 667, moving onto the smaller face could change the fortunes for the 3 archers. They were all banging that gold ring, with arrows scraping and fletching’s flying! Imogen finished on 335 so 1002 in total so far, but 6 8’s could prove to be a thorn in her side then on that last shot she hit a 7! Time for breathing exercises and a stern talk from her coach Tony Ferguson! However, the distance finished as 52, 54, 58, 59, 58, 54…if could do that I’d be delighted but not Imogen!

10m and we can all go home! Imogen finished the round with 349/360 giving her 1351 equalling the National Record held by her friend Louisa Piper of Woking Archery Club. Caitlin shot an impressive 1377, so just 26 points in it and Imogen claimed her 1st Nation Junior Silver Medal.

(Imogen Newby, Caitlin Aiken and Charlotte Hempstall)

Delighted and tired, Imogen was to collect her medal the following day due to so many bouncers and the dreaded equipment failures!

Sunday was forecast thunder and lightning! Great! Just what we needed! The wind was to drop to a around 13 mph, but what can you do?

So the Bristol V. This has going to be a nail bitter if the previous days scoring was anything to go by. The 3 girls battled the sun, wind, rain, thunder, lightning and anything else nature could throw at the athletes over the next 144 arrows. Imogen completed 30 yards with an impressive 620/648 and was only 12 points behind Caitlin we think with Charlotte just 8 points behind Imogen at this point.

The awards were called out during lunch after 30 yards was complete for the previous day. Imogen received her silver medal and while waiting for the other presentations, Imogen was called out as part of the SCAS Team, who won the Regional Team section. This was a massive surprise as Imogen had no idea!

(In order Lauren Bann, Imogen Newby, Louisa Piper and Natasha)

England also won the Country Trophy over Scotland in 2nd and Wales into 3rd.

Now Imogen decided to get “really” serious….20 yards…nail it or bust! 426/432….BOOM! Imogen only dropped 3 7’s in the 20 yards section. I ran to check the scores on the live board and Caitlyn is 14 points ahead of Imogen so now there’s virtually no way to claw this back after dropping 2 more points.

Imogen finished on a perfect 216/216 as did Caitlin and Charlotte. Imogen shot a superb 1262 out of 1296, winning the individual silver medal.

During the closing ceremony the heavens opened and after receiving her medal we dashed off to the scoring hut to make her National Record Claim for the U12 Ladies 20m 122cm from the previous day. While there, we missed the call for the County Team results and so dashed off home to get a head start! Imogen’s score was a gold medal winning score as the Essex and Suffolk Team won the Counties and the SCAS team also won the regionals.

All in all, a great weekend for Imogen. Well done! You put up a good fight kid!