Archery club practiced near Queensway

Arrows were fired along hospital wards and down the aisle of a local cinema in days gone by, something, which would be unthinkable today. On one occasion as part of a public display a member of the town’s archery club held a balloon to his head while another fired at it.

From back left: Jack Gillott, Harold Clayton, Ron Willman, Ernest Gillot, Clem Harsley. Front: R. Richardson, Dave Richardson, Unknown, Renie Clayton Alice Willman,  Joy Harsley, & Mavis Gillott.

Pictured just off The Queensway. From back left: Jack Gillott, Harold Clayton, Ron Willman, Ernest Gillot, Clem Harsley. Front: R. Richardson, Dave Richardson, Unknown, Renie Clayton Alice Willman, Joy Harsley, & Mavis Gillott.

It was in 1948 that a small group met to practice archery on a field just off the Queensway on Sunday afternoons. People would gather to watch the archers practise their art of toxophily sitting on the fence that ran alongside the trunk road.

Mavis Gillot, Ernest Gillot, Harold Clayton & Ron Willman

Mavis Gillot, Ernest Gillot, Harold Clayton & Ron Willman

The group was called The Scunthorpe and District Archery Society and ran for many years in which they won numerous tournaments and teams and individuals including the Lincolnshire Championships, the East Midlands Championships, the Rowntrees Championships and the Grimsby Polio Archers Championships.

Around 1953 club members had shot a volley of arrows down the aisles in the Majestic Cinema on Oswald Road, it’s not recalled precisely which film the stunt was performed to advertise but it is thought to be either The Black Arrow or The Black Rose.

The also played a similar stunt at the Isolation Ward at Brumby Hospital on East Common Lane, they were invited to shoot arrows along the ward to help break the boredom of the long term patients who were in there mainly for tuberculosis.

Archery club members

Archery club members

It was at one of the local carnivals where club member Dave Richardson held a balloon above his head whilst Harold Clayton was attempting to fire, but he thought the distance was too great and too dangerous in the event of a string breaking and the arrow flying elsewhere so reduced the distance down to 15 yards.

In the 1960s member took part in archery bowling where they fire arrows at a target in a bowling alley but calculated scores similar to that of tenpin bowling. There were also competitions between archers and darts teams and archery-bowls displays for various fetes and fancy dress pageants.

Ernest Gillot in 1954 win a trophy for the Golden Arrow in Nottingham

Ernest Gillot in 1954 won a trophy for the Golden Arrow in Nottingham

Over the years the club had helped paraplegics take up the sports and Miss Jan Laughton had gone to the Paraplegic Olympics.

For an event organised by the Grimsby Polio Archers the Scunthorpe Club members had dressed up as Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Little John and Friar Tuck, this event brought to public notice how able and disabled bodies can work together in the sport of archery to provide entertainment and interest for all age groups. Whole families were brought together at tournaments to provide high teas for which Scunthorpe and District Archers were quite famous for.

 

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