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