A SHORT HISTORY OF
Lancashire and Cheshire Archery Association. In March 1954, Cheshire having suggested the possibility of a split, forty-four archers from twelve Lancashire clubs attended a meeting at Samlesbury Hall and it was agreed that if Cheshire still wanted to break away the Lancashire Archery Association should be formed. By the end of 1954 the number of clubs in the county had risen to 45. Eccles Archery Club hosted the 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2004. Wendy Hodkinson was Lady Paramount for the Championships, an appropriate honour for the daughter of Frank Miles, who chaired the original meeting when it was agreed to form the Lancashire Archery Association.
The first LAA Championships were held in 1955 in Blackpool.
Early Junior Championships were held in conjunction with senior ones but as the rounds did not parallel York and Hereford rounds it was decided to hold separate Championships for Juniors. Mike Stanley, Frank Lockwood, Wendy Hodkinson and Geoff Beattie have all been Junior Organisers and Helen Woodcock of Rochdale now holds the position. Juniors are increasingly taking part in competitions and hold the key to the future success of archery in the County.
Lancashire archers have represented Great Britain. Some of them from the early days were June Heywood from Overdale (1959 and 1961), Ron Bishop (1961, 1969, 1971 and 1972), Sheila D Kemp (1963), Sheila Tunnicliffe (1969), More recently Richard and Vlada Priestman and Emma Parker have represented Great Britain, Richard being a bronze medal winner in the 1992 Olympics. Barry Marsden and Peter Livesey have shot for England. Tracy Lamb and Brenda Saxon are noted disabled archers, Tracy having shot in the European Championships and Brenda winning a gold medal in the Disabled World Games in New Zealand in 1998.
Longbow archery, the oldest discipline in the sport, is live and well. Wendy Rath has held many records and Pendle & Samlesbury archers, Gordon Aldred, Roy King and John Geldard, are well-known and successful longbowmen.
In addition to Target Archery, Field and Clout Archery has been part of the Lancashire scene for many years. Archers such as Barbara Fielding, Monica Taylor, Dave Townley, Noreen and Peter Price, and Paul and Helen Kelly have all brought success to the County. Christine O'Mara, Phoenix Bowmen, was National Compound Clout Champion in 2005 and Andrew Cave, also from Phoenix Bowmen is the 2006 Northern Counties Compound Clout Champion.
The continuing success of archery in Lancashire rests on its Clubs, most of which are thriving, and on the willingness of members to support the County in tournaments, local, national and international, and on a mixture of high flying competitive archers and those providing the wider base of sporting activity, administration and practical help which gives a strong foundation for the future. The future, of course, belongs to the juniors, some of whom are showing promising signs of being both high-fliers and foundation builders, encouraged by their coaches and organisers.