A talented 16-year-old from Lytham is the current top junior female archer in Great Britain and she is aiming to compete in the 2024 European Indoor Archery Championships in Croatia
Sixteen-year-old schoolgirl Evie Finnegan, who first tried her hand at archery at the age of 10, during a holiday camp, is now at the top of the sport, regularly representing Lancashire at both senior and junior levels, as well as for England juniors.
Evie recalls: “Back in 2017 I successfully completed an archery GB beginners course and joined a club in Manchester, Assheton Bowmen. Today I’m a member of the Bowmen of Pendle & Samlesbury archery club near Preston, where I train and receive coaching.
“To date I have achieved 24 national, 90 regional and 159 county records in the sport.”
Evie, who is the current County, Regional and National Junior Ladies’ Individual Champion both for both indoor and outdoor archery, had been searching for funding and sponsorship opportunities to help with the costs towards competing in the sport at such a high level, when she came across Dan’s Trust on Facebook.
The rest, as they say is history. As the country’s current top Under 18’s Ladies Target Archer, Evie is the latest teen to have been awarded funding from the Lancashire-based charity.
And now with a £1,000 Dan’s Trust Make A Difference donation to help fund her sporting progress, Evie is looking ahead to an even more successful year.
She said: “I was so excited and grateful to find out that I’d been chosen as a Make A Difference Award Winner. It’s come at such an opportune time as I need to buy a new bow, arrows and further equipment, which is really important as I move up to the under 18’s category.
“The money will help me to achieve my dream of competing in the European Indoor Archery Championships in Croatia next year, where I hope to represent Team GB.”
For the forthcoming 2023 season Evie, whose current archery equipment is second hand, has moved up to the Under 18’s age group, which means that she will be competing at longer distances.
Evie continued: “If I’m to reach my goal and achieve qualifying GB scores during 2023, my current bow and arrows desperately need replacing with a more powerful carbon-alloy bow and matched carbon arrows.
“So, the funding will go a long way to purchasing this new equipment – putting me on an ‘equipment-par’ with my fellow competitors as I move further into the more senior groups.”
Ian Bagshaw, co-founder and trustee of Dan’s Trust, commented: “Over the last 10 years we have funded teens participating in a diverse range of sports, dance and theatrical endeavours, but a female archer is definitely a first for us!
“We’re so excited to be able to help Evie on her journey towards the European Indoor Archery Championships and we’re hopeful that her enthusiasm for the sport will encourage other local youngsters to try their hand at archery too.”
Alongside Evie, Dan’s Trust, which was founded in 2012 following the sudden death of local sporting enthusiast Daniel Bagshaw, will also be funding another 10 teens across Lancashire throughout March and April, taking their 2023 donations so far, to £20,000.
Dan’s Trust was founded by Peter and Shelagh Bagshaw of Clitheroe, together with their sons Ian and Gary after the death of their son and brother, Dan, who was just 27 when he died on the finish line of an ITU Olympic distance triathlon in Hong Kong after suffering from a sudden and unexplained arrhythmia. Dan was a cycling enthusiast and extremely talented and athletic young lawyer.
As well as its successful awards programme, Dan’s Trust promotes and funds research into the early diagnosis of cardiac risk in the young, as well as the improvement of treatment methods for sudden cardiac arrest at Sheffield University and Imperial College London.