A PAIR of Paralympians helped open a new state-of-the-art indoor archery range in Wythall Park to inspire the next generation.
Mel Clarke, world number one and who won medals at the Beijing and London Paralympics, showcased her skills as part of the £200,000 centre’s unveiling on Saturday (January 31) along with world championship medallist and fellow London 2012 competitor Richard Hennahane.
The building will serve as the base of Redhill Archers providing all-weather, year-round, training facilities for local and regional archers from beginner to international level and is one of only three such centres in the region.
Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid, who is also Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, performed the official opening duties while the honour of shooting the first arrows went to Mr Hennahane followed by the club’s oldest shooting member Ken Knowles, 76 and youngest member Charlie Medhurst, 10.
The project has been backed by a £50,000 Inspired Facility grant to Wythall Community Association as part of the 2012 Olympics Legacy programme. Further funding was provided by Severn Waste Environmental’s Welcome to Our Future Fund with additional money donated by local businesses, organisations and individuals. Club members also invested more than 2,000 hours of their own labour.
David Harrison, chairman of Archery GB and who was also attended the opening, said: “It is only with facilities like this, available for coaching and individual development, that British sport and archery can compete on the world stage.
“Furthermore, in addition to developing the current elite, this type of facility is key to being able to attract and nurture juniors and grass roots archers who we will rely on to be the Olympians and world-class athletes of the future.”
More than 100 people attended the opening and took the chance to have a go at archery as well as talk to Ms Clarke about her training regime and see her Paralympic medals.
Mr Javid added: “It is a great testament to the spirit of the club that its members have put in over 2,000 hours of voluntary work in order to finish the project with painting and plumbing.
“I hope this new facility will go on to inspire future generations of archers.”
Those interested in taking up archery should visit www.redhill-archers.org.uk for more information.
Celebrating the range – Oldest member Ken Knowles with Paralympian Mel Clarke and youngest member Charlie Medhurst, ten. 0615009ABR3
A targeted opening – David Harris, chairman of Redhill Archers, watches on as MP Sajid Javid unveils the plaque. 0615009ABR1