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Thriving Ancaster gun club expands with new driving range

A thriving gun club has been given permission to expand with a new target range.

Springfield Rifle & Pistol Club in Ancaster will put up a new wooden building to be used as an indoor ten metre air weapon target range.

Club chairman Paul Hayes told the Journal he hopes work can start on the new range within the month, with completion before the winter. The new addition adds to other shooting ranges, along with a clubhouse for the members, who pay an annual membership fee.

Paul says his club in Pottergate Road has operated for 50 years and at just over a hundred, membership has never been higher.

In his application to South Kesteven District Council, he said: “Target shooting is a sport that is particularly attractive to the elderly and disabled (myself being both) because the national governing bodies have devised rules specially to allow those like myself to compete ‘on a level playing field’ with the young and abled bodied and thus, a significant percentage of our membership is elderly and disabled, this sport providing them with stimulation to work to their maximum abilities and therefore have a significant therapeutic effect.”

Paul, a former BT employee who is semi-retired, has been actively involved in the club for five years, having been involved in shooting one way or another all his life. These days he has mobility issues due to a spinal problem but finds this is no handicap in this sport.

In addition to being ideal for the disabled, shooting also benefits the young, many of whom have recently joined the club.

Paul said: “It teaches a discipline. Guns by their nature are dangerous. They have to learn the safety aspect. They have to master the ability to concentrate and hand-eye co-ordination. All these disciplines are good for youngsters to learn.”

Springfield Rifle and Pistol Club is always keen for new members who must undergo a six month probation before they can be accepted.

The club is often approached by police about the desirability of giving gun permits to people and the club has to inform police if it thinks individuals should not have one.

Paul added: “With a sport like this, we have to police ourselves very tightly. The shame is shooting has a bad name especially because of what happens in America.”

“But shooting in its various forms is now the biggest participatory sport in the country. It used to be fishing but we need to help people understand this is not cowboys. It’s people doing a serious sport.”

For more details on the club and how to join go to www.springfieldrifleandpistol


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