INTRODUCING THE GIRLS…
As a volunteer with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Lynn Scholes, from the Ribble Valley, is responsible for the ever-increasing number of lady shots in the region
It is a gentle introduction to shooting. Some women are daunted by the fact that it is very much a male dominated sport, but I love the tradition of it all and you will find that the characters within the shooting community are some of the most caring, genuine people,” says Lynn Scholes, who has, over the last 18 months, put her heart and soul into creating a hugely successful women’s section of BASC North West – the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.
Country-girl Lynn, who lives and works in the Ribble Valley as an area business manager for a pharmaceutical company, learnt to shoot three years ago when her all-female work team requested a Christmas clay shooting experience in Yorkshire.
“It was the first time I had picked up a gun and my competitive spirit kicked in,” recalled Lynn, who went on to take lessons in clay shooting and was introduced to game shooting the following winter.
Today Lynn heads up BASC North West Ladies Shooting Group, she is part of the Gunpowder Girls a roaming shooting syndicate affiliated to BASC, and has gained her Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1 – no mean feat for someone who only took up the sport three years ago!
“The Gunpowder Girls are supported by BASC and our first season last year was amazing,” said Lynn.
Lynn’s association with BASC, which represents the shooting interests of around 135,000 members throughout the UK, began when the organisation’s NW Regional Officer Duncan Thomas was introduced to her 18 months ago.
Duncan recalled: “By chance I was at the house of a good friend of mine, who is a BASC mentor, and Lynn called to pick up a Spaniel pup. I introduced myself and Lynn gave me some pretty forthright feedback saying that BASC could do so much more to promote ladies shooting in the North West.
“Lynn was already an expert shot so I immediately signed her up as a volunteer with BASC!”
Having formed BASC North West Ladies’ Shooting, Lynn and a wide cross section of lady shots, are now instrumental in organising ‘safety and skills’ days, demonstrations, clay and game shooting and social events.
Duncan added: “We should have had something for lady shots at BASC years ago so we are playing catch-up, but our current contingent of lady shots really complements the organisation.
“Ladies have been under-represented in the shooting community both in clay and game shooting. To address this, Lynn with the Gunpowder Girls and the Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club (a national ladies’ shooting organisation) are providing an amazing service and social scene. I am very proud to have Lynn as part of the BASC team.
“To have the lady shots makes us a more rounded organisation and we are now recruiting more female members than ever. Groups like BASC and the Gunpowder Girls are giving female shots the opportunity to shoot and socialise in an unpressurised environment.
“It is statistically proven that ladies make better shots, learn faster and retain information more effectively.”Being part of a ladies’ roaming syndicate and a member of BASC means that Lynn and fellow lady shots enjoyed a series of clay and game shoots throughout the North West in their first season, including a BASC Ladies’ Novice Day.
“We are introducing more ladies’ training days for those who want to enter the sport. We accept it is a male dominated sport and as such there is always plenty of banter. But for ladies who aren’t particularly confident, the ladies’ events provide a gentle introduction to the sport giving them more confidence – there is no reason at all why men and women can’t shoot together as shooting is not a matter of strength it’s purely based on skill.”
Duncan agreed, adding: “Sporting shooting is stereotypically male but we have some great lady shots – for example Amber Hill in the Olympics and at BASC North West we have Lucy Marsden, one of our Young Shot Ambassadors who has been selected for Target Tokyo.”
Duncan’s recently appointed equivalent at BASC North East is regional officer Geri Buckley, a British Commonwealth pistol competitor: “Here in the North East we are hoping to emulate what Lynn is doing in the North West by encouraging more ladies to join BASC,” explained Geri, who represented England and Great Britain in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“I have a lifelong passion for field sports,” she said. “It is my background. We should be making it easier for more women to get involved then they can spread the word. Shotgun, pistol and rifle shooting can be enjoyed by ladies of all ages and abilities. It is a very inclusive sport.”firstname.lastname@example.org www.basc.org.uk