Sheena's a true archery champion

May 30 2017

MEMBERS of Bristol Bowmen and Golden Phoenix Archers were recognised nationally when they attended the governing body, Archery GB’s, AGM.

MEMBERS of Bristol Bowmen and Golden Phoenix Archers were recognised nationally when they attended the governing body, Archery GB’s, AGM.

Chair of Golden Phoenix Archers, Bob Brooks from Redland, David Smith (secretary and coach) and Sheena McCullagh (web master and coach) travelled to the NEC in Birmingham to represent the clubs, which had been nominated for two awards. 

With the emphasis on inclusion, and the sport riding high after the success of the UK archers at the 2016 Paralympics, they won Club website of the year and and there was a completely unexpected presentation for Sheena for the disability-enabling work she does at a national level.

Bob Brooks said, “Archery is ideal for those of us with disability. It is great exercise and where else do we get to compete successfully with non-disabled folk, on even terms?”

“Our website is written to the highest level of accessibility for disabled people, exceeding the International Guidelines and has a growing selection of community language introductions, which aim to reflect the diverse cultures present in the greater Bristol and Bath areas.”

In 2006, when looking to set up Golden Phoenix Archers, a club specifically to encourage disabled people into the sport and showcase its inclusivity, they were offered a ground share with Bristol Bowmen who shoot outdoors at Keynsham Rugby Football Club and indoors at The Park in Knowle.

It was a meeting of minds, the president of Bristol Bowmen, Ian Lassman, said at the time: “We will do anything for a disabled person that they can't do for themselves and empower them to do the rest.” 

Although they are two separate clubs, they share a committee and a bank account, shoot together and run joint beginners’ courses.

A signed Rio 2016 Paralympic shirt was awarded to Sheena for the accessibility work she does on the Archery UK magazine: The quarterly magazine is delivered to each member, but those who are 'print disabled', eg use a screen reader, need specific colour combinations or large print, can find it difficult or impossible to read. Sheena takes all the articles and photographs and turns them into an accessible Word document to meet the needs of the UK's print disabled archers. The framed shirt, signed by the Team GB 2016 Paralympian archers, was Archery GB's 'thank you' to Sheena for that work.

Neil Armitage, Archery GB CEO, said, “Archery is the most inclusive and accessible sport in the UK and as such we aim to make our communications accessible to all. We are extremely fortunate to have volunteers like Sheena who give up many hours of their own time to support Archery GB. It was a pleasure to publicly acknowledge her support at our recent Archery GB AGM and to present her with the awards.”

Roger Rees-Evans, who has been an archer for more than 30 years, said: “After years of having bits of Archery UK read to me, I have read my first Archery UK magazine for myself and it has made my archery story complete. We can now read the articles that we want, not what other people think we want.”