An archery club in Gloucestershire – Deer Park Archers – which has trebled in size in four years has been named the 2011 Sports Club of the Year.
The club, which is backed by Sport England funding through Archery GB, beat Ashbourne Golf Club, City of Sheffield Basketball Club, Knebworth Sports Club, New Earswick and District Indoor Bowls Club and University of Birmingham Volleyball Club to win the prestigious award.
Former England cricketer and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ winner Mark Ramprakash presented the award to the club at an event organised by the Sport and Recreation Alliance.
“This is wonderful news, and obviously we’re all absolutely delighted,” said Deer Park’s Head Coach, Roger Crang. “It’s a tribute to all the people who work so hard for the club”.
“All we’ve done is to apply the principles that Archery GB’s Development Team encourage through their ‘ontarget’ scheme – ensuring that we keep a balanced focus on competition, family, social, support for all abilities, community, business, volunteering and most of all have fun! We do put a lot of effort, in but that is more than compensated with what we get out,” said Roger.
“Are we the finished article? Definitely not, as we solve one challenge we replace it with others, a bit like our sport really. One of our key principles is to work with the local community and the Society.”
Deer Park Archers are members of Gloucestershire Archery Society, based on the outskirts of Cheltenham, and draw members from Cheltenham, Gloucester and a 20 mile radius across the Cotswolds. The Club has grown from 30 to over 200 members, with around 60 per cent of them being juniors.
It runs after-school clubs every day of the week, and on some days two on the same day, with over 170 pupils currently attending. Together with regular beginners courses, these after-school clubs form the major part of their member recruitment process, as well as a rich source of potential coaches and volunteers.
Deer Park Archers are active members of the Sport England-supported ontarget programme. It was recently awarded £1,500 to lead an eight day Junior Archer development programme which is open to the top junior archers across the County.
“Deer Park Archers stand for everything that’s good about an archery club, and everyone at Archery GB is very proud of them,” said Archery GB’s National Club Development Co-ordinator, Arran Coggan. “We put three clubs forward, including Bowmen of Pendle & Samlesbury, and Rochdale Company of Archers. All of them are equally worthy, but in the end, the judges were so fulsome in their praise of the work that goes on at Deer Park, telling us they stood head and shoulders above all the rival nominations from all sports.”
For more, contact Roger Crang (Deer Park Archers), on 01242 870046, or Peter Jones (Media, Archery GB) on 07841 997408.
Photo shows representatives of Deer Park Archers, with Archery GB chairman David Harrison (far left) and Archery GB National Club Development Co-ordinator Arran Coggan (far right).