One Sunday evening we were having dinner, all sitting around the dinner table chatting about all sorts of things. Adam, Zoe’s older brother, was getting fed up with football and looking at alternative sports, so, we went through the usual list of fishing tennis, etc. All were declined however, being a keen archer myself I suggested archery, also declined, then a wee voice from the corner announced “ I would like to try archery”, it was Zoe, Adam’s 8year old younger sister. So with this I agreed to take her to McGavin park in Kilwinning. Being a member of ‘The ancient society of Kilwinning archers’ I was permitted to set up a target for her at one of our outdoor club shoots, I borrowed a very basic lightweight fibreglass bow and some arrows from one of the other members. As soon as she picked up that bow and nocked the first arrow it all seemed so natural to her, she instinctively knew how to hold the bow, how to nock the arrows, even using what is known as ‘the Mediterranean’ grip without being shown. Zoe’s first arrow was well off the mark, she adjusted and tried again, this time there was no miss and she proceeded to shoot arrow after arrow into the target face. A few more visits followed and she just getting more accurate, we moved the target further away each visit but still she would have arrow after arrow on target. She was accepted as a club member when she was 9 years old and would shoot with her ‘Papa’ on Thursday evenings at Greenwood academy, her shooting ability improving with each passing week, watching other archers shoot and taking different styles from them and trying them for herself. Then came her first opportunity to compete, it was only a fun halloween shoot but it was her chance to test her ability against other juniors, the targets were varied in size and given points values depending on how difficult they were to hit, Zoe grabbed the chance to show how well she could shoot and proceeded to return the highest score, the prize of chocolate was a great encouragement. From there she progressed to shooting our club competitions, always picking up medals and trophies. The next step was her shooting in the Ayrshire league, a series of six competitions bringing together six clubs from in and around Ayrshire and shot around a month apart. We had agreed she would have to have achieved a set score before I would let her enter the competition, she made that score just one week before the first leg. We travelled to Greenock for the first leg, she wasn’t the least bit phased with the number of archers attending, she scored 100 points more than the original target score I had set her, and took her first gold medal outside club shoots, rapidly followed by a further five god medals from the next five legs. Then came her first major open tournament at Ayr, a Scottish ranking shoot where archers must shoot at least four tournaments to achieve their position in Scottish archery, she took gold and achieved a score that matched that required for ‘Junior Master Bowman’, an Archery GB award but she needed the same score or higher at the next three UK ranking shoots, her following scores were well in excess of that required and beating them by almost 100 points, so, Zoe is now the youngest Junior Master Bowman in Scotland and all achieved at the ripe old age of just 10 years old..
Thank you to Zoe’s Papa David for supplying us with this wonderful story, we cannot wait to see what the future holds for this talented local girl.