177 BLACKPOOL AIRORT AND 341 CITY OF PRESTON SQUADRONS CLAY TARGET SHOOTING
At the start of 2017, the opportunity for 5 members of the 177 Squadron staff came about to attend the CPSA Safety Officers course, as the squadron had a basic core of enthusiastic clay target shooters a plan was formed to introduce clay target shooting as a new activity on the squadron.
With the squadron committee support, buying four small traps and guns provided by the licensed staff members, shooting commenced in the May of 2017, initially just providing the activity to 177 cadets, then to our friends at 341(City of Preston) Squadron.
The cadets really enjoyed the activity and it was decided to make an open invitation to the whole of the Cumbria and Lancashire Wing to attend the shoots. Initially the average attendance was 20 or so cadets on the one day shoots, but during 2018 interest across the wing began to rise so it was decided increase the available places by running a two day shoot once a month. The attendance numbers have now risen to 60 cadets attending each weekend at the present time.
During the spring of 2018, the Wing committee provided funds for shotguns to be purchased to save usage on the privately owned guns of the Adult Staff. More recently following a successful LIBOR funding bid 177 and 341 Squadrons upgraded and increased the number of traps available to four Promatic Kestrel and two Merlin Traps.
Over the last 18 months the team increased from 5 to 8 CPSA Safety Officers, with plans for a further 4 to join the team during 2019.
We even have the local CCF and ACF attending our shoots
Since November 2017, the team have shot over 13,000 clays and cartridges and have provided over 500 places to cadets to have an introduction to clay target shooting.
Some of the cadets who regularly attend are now achieving very reasonable scores and enjoy their experience not matter what the weather.
None of this would have been possible without the initial training provided by Sqn Ldr Allan White and his team of instructors and the continual support of the Commandant at Altcar for his facilities and enthusiasm for the sport and the financial support from the Squadron and Wing civilian committees.
It helps to have instructors who are enthusiastic and enjoy the sport but the commitment of one weekend every month on top of normal squadron activities is a big ask for anyone.
This activity just keeps on growing, the cadets enjoy it and are getting better all the time