The rain poured down on Saturday 24 May, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the many teams that entered the Mercian Regiment’s Charity Shoot. The shoot was hosted by Lady’s Wood Shooting School, at Hay Lane Farm near Nailsworth in South Gloucestershire.
The shoot is organised every two years by Isobel and Nigel Howlett to raise money for the Mercian Regiment’s Benevolent Fund. The Mercian Regiment is a family regiment with a deep attachment to the counties at the very heart of England, and has for the last decade been committed to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Mercian is the most decorated Regiment from the recent conflict in Afghanistan.
In 2011 the Regiment suffered 12 soldiers killed in action and over 40 soldiers seriously wounded. The Mercian Regiment Benevolent Fund is a charitable fund which looks after all members of the Regiment and their families, but particularly those who have fallen on hard times. They are also ready to help the yet undiagnosed number of soldiers who are likely to face psychological injuries as a result of the intense combat that they experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With this worthy cause in everyone’s mind, teams arrived bright and early for a bacon roll and coffee before heading out to shoot the various flush stands. The event attracted 250 people from far and wide, all of whom had a great day’s shooting on the farm. The winning team was Russel Cleverley’s ‘Hannick Hustlers’, who shot 405ex-500. The day also featured a pool shoot, a silent and live auction (with lots generously donated by local businesses), as well as a two-course lunch prepared by the Lady’s Wood catering team.
Shoot organiser Isobel has been an honorary member of the Mercian regiment ever since the bombing at Ballykelly in 1982, which killed 11 members of the regiment; Isobel was the first nurse on the scene. She said “This is the sixth charity shoot we have run and we’re so pleased to have raised a record amount this year!” The shoot raised £22,000 – and more than a few smiles – with shooters and organisers alike pleased with the outcomes of the day.