PAB have were approached by the Whittlesey Rifle Club to test equipment that enables blind and partially sighted people to use an air rifle – shooting at a target on equal terms with sighted people. The event took place on Thursday 10 April at the Manor Leisure Centre in Whittlesey.
Several members of PAB visited Whittlesey Rifle Shooting Club, including Yvonne Saint John who is pictured above with an instructor.
“I had a fantastic day at the rifle club and would like to go again! My guide dog ‘Quaid’ came with me and we were both looked after so well by all the staff. They were so friendly and swept the shells off the floor to make it easy for Quaid to guide me. They even cleaned his paws afterwards which I thought was really nice of them to consider him too. It does take a while to get used to it, but by the third go I was doing really well and even got a second bullseye! I would definitely recommend this to other blind people and if I can do it then anyone can!” Yvonne Saint-John
Acoustic shooting works using a beam of light. The closer to the light-coloured bullseye you aim, the higher pitch sound you hear through headphones. Volunteer guides will help with loading and the initial positioning, then by hearing the changes in pitch as you move across the target, you can position yourself for the best shot! This is a well established rifle club (formed around the time of the second world war by Inspector Edgeley) and is now a registered charity, which means that it is run on a non-profit making basis and all profits are spent on improving the equipment and facilities.
“When I told my husband I was going to try rifle shooting I could tell he was worried! To be fair, this was probably not just because my eyesight is poor, but he also knows my temper is not much better. To many people, the words ‘blind’ and ‘shooting’ are never used in the same sentence. However, PAB was asked by Whittlesey Rifle Club to try out some equipment they had borrowed, so Tim, Yvonne and I gave it a go. I hadn’t realised that blind and partially-sighted people across the UK have been taking part in modern acoustic air rifle shooting for over 15 years, and there are more than 20 locations where they can do this across the UK. This is an activity that blind, partially sighted and sighted people can take part in on a level playing field. It is something I never expected to be able to do, and I would recommend it to anyone.” Mandy Thompson
Whittlesey Rifle Club are keen to get support to buy the equipment so that they can offer this on a regular basis and PAB are looking at ways of funding this activity for members on a regular basis. More information will be posted on our site when available.