Thursday 22 September saw the return of the Napthens Clay Shoot, raising money for Blackburn Youth Zone. The event was held at the impressive Coniston Hotel Country Estate and Spa where the fantastic weather highlighted the stunning North Yorkshire countryside.
Teams of four were welcomed at the Estate’s Shooting Lodge for coffee and bacon rolls on arrival, before being matched with a professional instructor and sent on their way to shoot 35 clay pigeons from a series of shooting posts. These were varied to provide a range of difficulty and to replicate the behaviour of pheasant, grouse or rabbit. Whilst it is fair to say that the real thing need not have been too concerned about their safety in our presence, this wasn’t the case for some of the four-man teams. PM+M was represented by Tim Mills and your truly, with my guests for the day being Jon Palich of Handelsbanken Burnley, Graham Campbell of Moose Media and Mike Duviau of Go-Velo.
Thanks to the expert tutelage of instructor Allan we were quickly showing signs of improvement. Two of our party had shot before but two (me included) were entirely new to the experience. Of the 35 clays that were presented to each shooter we managed 16,16, 14 and 9 ‘hits’. I’d like to think that there was an eco-conscious decision being made to allow the re-use of some clays or for their breeding population to be preserved.
Upon completion of the shoot, our band of four re-joined our fellow guests at the Hotel for a fine lunch and to share stories of the clay(s) that got away. I offer the option of singular or plural for the reason that Stephen Ford of RBS managed to shoot 34 of his possible 35 to take the Sharp-Shooter award. The other award available on the day was for Best in Show (Best Dressed) and I have to confess that the suggestion in advance of the day of Jamie Allison of Napthens being convinced he had this in the bag I had to explore the dark recesses of my wardrobe to offer him some competition. The fact that he was from the organising company and that I had strategically added a Blackburn Youth Zone coloured orange tie to my outfit meant that I snatched the prize from his eager hands.
The raffle and auction that followed helped to raise over £7,000 for BYZ with some especially generous prizes on offer and some equally generous bids from the room. Co-sponsors Bowker BMW, Together Money and Wardfield Sporting Goods please take a bow.
A great day was had by all, with guests entertained and professional connections built or maintained. I look forward to defending one title and aiming (pun intended) for a second next year. I think there could be some practice planned, after all PM+M honour is at stake!
Neil Welsh – PM+M Wealth Management