Registered with ArcheryGB as an archery club, and affiliated under their national Insurance policy.
The archery club at Alderley Park (home to the Zeneca and then AstraZeneca [ClubAZ] Social Club facilities) was formed in 1993 as the Zeneca Company of Archers by a Paula Blakemore, Andrew Smith and Hilda Gibson with Steph Alsop as the Coach who all worked at the site. In those early days the social club hall was too small to accommodate indoor shooting during the winter months so the members managed to gain given permission to use the large on-site restaurant one evening a week. This did entail a lot of moving of furniture and putting up a safety net to protect the windows! Needless to say, there was a good “work out” before the archery began! and of course at the end of the session when everything had to be put back in place; no mean feat if there were only 2 or 3 archers present that evening. In the outdoor season (May to September) they were allowed to shoot outdoor targets on the leisure clubs football pitch allowing the archers to shoot distances of up to 70 metres.
The company leisure club was a corporate entity and therefore only open to company employees and their immediate family, but it was allowed to enrol a qualified archery coach who proved invaluable in running the first beginners’courses. From then on, the archery club's main objective has been to promote the sport of archery by providing facilities, equipment and tuition for its members and give those interested in the sport a chance to have a go – which in most cases led them straight on to the beginners’ course and joining the club to gain more experience and helpful advice from its members and coaches. It was the regular beginners courses and coaching sessions plus the Have-a-go taster sessions for different departments and management groups within the company helped to swell the number of members
In 1996, as ClubAZ Archers, the addition of a new large sports hall adjacent to the original facilities gave the archery club an indoor venue for 2 evenings a week with a shooting distance of up to 30 metres, and a shared outdoor venue on the adjacent cricket pitch (a huge walled in area that had once been the Alderley Park Hall's original kitchen garden). This was later to be followed by being given access to a secluded section of woodland on the Park where a 12 target Field Course was set up. This gave the members a completely different challenge; shooting between trees, across ponds and up and down slopes all at varying distances up to 60 metres.
The membership has grown steadily over the years reaching a peak of 41 in 2012 (35 adults and 6 juniors). Though it seems that the membership numbers are low compared to many other sports it does not mask the fact that there have been a few members whose aptitude for the sport has taken them beyond the club level. Just to mention a few;
2000: Hilda Gibson shot at the Cheshire Field championships at Mouldsworth and broke 3 records. She is a foundermember who has since held positions within Archery GB, managed the Paralympic archery team in the Beijing Olympics and is currently involved with team looking at archery venues for next Commonwealth Games. When her busy schedule allows she still shoots occasionally at the club.
2005: Bobby Dann entered into Gents under 18 Recurve Class and Danny Shaw into the Gents under 16 Class at the Junior National Indoor Championships at the National Sports Centre in Shropshire.
2009: Thomas Nairn completed a beginner’scourse and became a junior member and now shoots for the ArcheryGB junior squad competing internationally.
Linda Townsend completed a beginner’s course and in 2008 came second in Northern Counties Indoors Championships. After upgrading her compound bow kit, she won her next competition in 2009. Since then her record has been going from strength to strength amassing accolades year on year, here are just a few:
Shot for Cheshire from 2009-2017.
Won the northern counties outdoor championships twice and English championships once
Outdoor county champion 7 times.
Indoor county champion 6 times
19 county records.
Grand Master Bowman for the first time in 2010
Won 63 tournaments
Highest GB ranking was 8th
Shot for England 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. Won 13 Golds in Euronations and Home Nations Championships.
2011 came 9th in international back to back indoor competition
GB squad 2013-2014.
GB shoot was World Cup, Shanghai, 2014. Came 17th individual and 6th with GB ladies compound team.
Since 2018 is Joint England team manager.
Valerie Dann (our current Club Secretary) a recurve and barebow archer, also has an extremely impressive array of archery awards and titles here are just a few:
Holds 51 club records
Holds the County Record for a Windsor round: 2015 at Wirral Archers 48thAnnual Shoot with a score of 810, the record still stands today.
Winner of “Jack and Jill” Portsmouth round (with husband Steve) at Caldy Indoor Shoot in 2015, and Cheshire Indoor Championships in 2013 (and 3rdin the individual event)
Archery GB Rose 900 at the Cheshire Championships in 2015 she came 3rdshooting a Hereford round.
Cheshire Indoor Championships in 2014 and 2015 she came 2ndon both occasions.
Should also be noted that whilst doing all these competitions she also successfully completed the Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge in 2016.
The Alderley Archers compete not only in club matches but also external postal summer and winter leagues and have been successful in winning their Leagues on quite a few occasions in the Compound, Recurve and Longbow disciplines. A number of our members regularly attend external annual competitions in the Cheshire region both in the recurve and longbow. The club has also been involved with the local community working with schools, local fetes, corporate events etc with “Have A Go” events on a regular basis.
We have seen a variety of bows being used at our club nights including a Mongolian style horse bow and an American Indian bow. Currently our disciplines are the recurve bow, compound bow, longbow, barebow and crossbow. We meet twice weekly on a Tuesday and Thursday evenings
As far as tuition is concerned we have 3 coaches – Two Level 2 and one Level 1 coach with up to date DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) clearance. Our Records Officer has an extensive electronic record keeping system on archers scores; invaluable when trying to improve your techniques and scores.
In 2019 the facilities we had as our club home closed their doors for the last time, but such is the strength of the joy in shooting and the friendly atmosphere in the club that the members wished to carry the club on and it has been re-named Alderley Archers. We arestill based at Alderley Park where we have access to outdoor shooting and are committed to an indoor facility currently being built at a different location on the Park.
The club prides itself in being a warm friendly inclusive club and making everyone interested in archery welcome. The advent of a new era in the club and the opportunity to expand the membership to the wider community will be a real bonus, not only to access to the sport but to the continued existence and expansion of the club. This Clubs committee and officers are committed to the ethos of enjoying the sport of archery and the continuation of a happy, friendly club and in the personal success of every member whatever stage they are at.
Written by Martin Williams 2019