Good cakes, good company and good fun; these are the reasons that four members of Danum Archers have been attended sessions for around 12 years between them.
Judith Butterfield, aged 63, has been a member of the Doncaster-based sport group for ten years, while Madison McNair, age 11, and Philip Stewart, age 36, and Benjamin Stewart, age 9, for around 10 months each.
Judith joined the group after a childhood passion was reignited a decade ago - although she admits the skill did not always come easily to her.
She said: “As a child I was rubbish at shooting a bow and arrow, not like my elder brother.
“Later in life, I tried archery on a couple of occasions during a team building event, and then again on holiday, and discovered that I could shoot a bow and enjoyed it.
“I googled archery on my return from that holiday and that’s how I came across Danum Archers. I now organise lessons for the group.”
Despite having ten year’s worth of practice, Judith still finds it takes a huge of effort and concentration to achieve that perfect shot.
She said: “For me, and probably most archers, the most challenging part of learning the skill, was - and still is - achieving consistency of shot.
“As a club we have a variety of programmes to encourage members to practice and enjoy the sport.”
Philip Stewart agreed that consistently hitting the target was the most challenging part of learning to be a successful archer.
He said: “It is a skill of repeating a procedure exactly. It is gratifying when you get it right and the arrows start hitting the same point in the target.”
One of the youngest group members, Madison, may be proving to be natural at the sport, despite only taking it up a few months ago.
“I haven’t found it very difficult to do archery, as having people like Dave and Erica as my teachers has been the best part. Its my favourite thing to do and I want to keep doing it and get better and better. I even have my own bow now.”
Madison first became interested in archery at the age of just five after becoming fascinated by the sport while watching it in the 2012 Olympics, later joining the Danum Archers as an official member in September 207 after enjoying a beginners course in August.
The club, which meet three times a week at Wheatley Hills rugby club, has 59 members to date - with ages ranging from eight to seventy.
Madison added that all the members get on well, with friendships that span generations.
“Everyone is so welcoming and caring, and it is run by lovely people. I have made lots of new friends, some are kids but lots are older than me, and no one minds what age you are.”
Judith agreed and added: “Archery is an enjoyable sport for all ages and abilities. It’s an individual sport and you can compete against fellow archers or just against yourself.”
It’s not just the joy of learning a new skill that the group enjoy when they meet - quite often somebody bakes sweet treats to keep them smiling.
Judith added: “We are a friendly bunch and Sunday afternoon sessions are sometimes more like The Great British Bake Off, with talented bakers bringing their goods to share.
“ I like the relaxed informality, although still very professional approach of the group.”
Philip and Benjamin Stewart said that they too had found everyone in the group to be welcoming.
They said: “Due to school and work we go on a Sunday and when we go down there are between 20 and 30 people shooting. We have both enjoyed the social side as well as the actual archery.”
The group meets on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday afternoons.
Judith added that members are all welcome to play as much or as little as they like to fit in with their work and home lives.
She said:“You can take the sport as far as you wish and you can get involved with the club as much or as little as you want.
“We have members who just come down once a week for a friendly shoot and those who attend every session. There’s no obligation.”
Madison encouraged anyone to give archery a go.
“It’s so much fun to do, it’s nice to be out in the fresh air and learning a new skill. Anyone can have a go at it.”
Anyone is welcome to join the group and on offer are lessons with our qualified archery Instructors. There is an annual membership fee that includes membership of Archery GB.
Visit the Danum Archers official website for further details at www.anumarchers.weebly.com. Further information about Archery GB can be found at www.archerygb.org.