Last week we surprised Jim Coates by presenting him with an honorary membership to the club. He has kindly taking the time to reflect back on his 30 years at the club…
I would like to thank the committee for the honour that has been bestowed on me. It was a bit of a shock when big Al presented it as I never expected anything like this, and I feel very privileged to receive it.
When I joined the club in 1990 as a fit young man, it was as a parent helper to support my two children who attended. However, I quickly became hooked on the sport myself. Back then we had a membership of only 15. Originally, we shot outdoors at St Joseph’s college until a member’s arrow missed the boss. As we searched the area, a voice called, ‘Are you looking for this arrow?’ As the person returned it he asked us not shoot at him or any other motorcyclist travelling along Craigs Road (thankfully, no motorcycles were damaged!). The search was then on to find a safe outdoor venue. One of our members offered us the use of one of his fields (cow pats included) and we shot there until 1996, when we were again moved onto yet another field. Since 1999 we have been fortunate enough to be based at the Crichton in such a lovely grounds…phew!!! And long may our presence there continue.
As well as the weekly sessions with the club I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in many a competition. We are lucky that our sport gives us an opportunity to meet with so many different people and it has been great to see a shared enthusiasm on the shooting line. Even the rain won’t deter us and I have many happy memories of a great day of shooting in my waterproofs!
Over the years I have seen many changes with rules and regulations, which have been hard to keep track of at times (or maybe it’s an age thing?) My first competition bow in 1993 cost around £160.00 and my last one bought in 2010 cost well over £1000.00…but we won’t tell Shirley (the love of my life as she keeps telling me!) However, one thing that has remained the same throughout my long association with the club is the banter and friendships that sums up Loreburn Archers. I think this plays a big part as to why we now have a membership of over fifty and a waiting list ready to add to our growing numbers. It’s a great testament to the committee that the club is in such a strong position. We have had a number of young talent go through the club and over the years it has been a real joy and privilege to see so many progress – some have even represented our country at national and international level, which always makes us auld yins feel very proud. However, after 30 years a member, 11 years as club secretary and a brief stint as Chairman, I am now more than happy to remain in the background.
I would like to thank you all for all for the kind messages. They are very much appreciated and hopefully when things return to some sense of normality we’ll be able to catch up.